8 Ways to Save Your Heart

heart healthAs dads, we have a lot to live for. We have a family that’s depending on us. And we have a lot to look forward to. We want to be there for graduations and plays and first dates and driving lessons and marriage and seeing the bright smiles of our grandchildren. We want to think about on all the great moments we wouldn’t swap for any amount of money in the world.

We love being dads. We want to be dads for as long as our health lets us. As long as we can draw breathe. This is of course going to require taking care of ourselves. There isn’t much we can do about the unexpected. We’d love to show you how to dodge a bullet. We can tell you how to avoid getting hit by a bus. (Look before you cross, man.) But you can increase the chances you’ll live a long, healthy life if you take care of yourself, starting with the heart.

Here are eight ways to keep your heart safe, promoting the possibility of being there when your grandchildren walk down the aisle.

Sex, Sex and More Sex
Now the little woman has to be more accommodating. Studies released by the Journal of Cardiology show men that have sex at least three times a week are 45 percent less likely to develop heart disease than men having it once a month or less.

Dirty Air is Bad for You (Big Surprise!)
The minute particles in pollution thicken the carotid artery wall. Inhale enough of it and open up the chance of heart attacks. Now it would be ridiculous to tell you don’t go outside (though you’d probably like that). We can tell you to save runs and other activities for the afternoon when particle levels are at their lowest.

Beans: Not Just For Gas Anymore
Dads who consume a daily cup of fiber rich beans, lentils or chickpeas reduce the blood pressure’s systolic system by 4 mm Hg after 12 weeks. Put beans in your salad and soups. If you’re a fan of curry, throw some lentils into it. As long as you pass on the rice, chili lovers can go for another cup.

Handy Blood Pressure Exercise 
Handgrips generate what’s called shear stress, a measure of friction force from fluid acting on a body in that fluid’s path. Research shows that four weeks of four two handgrips with each hand can lower one’s blood pressure by 10 percent.

This Yolks for You
Contrary to previous reports, a recent Brazilian study reveals a link between productive coronary arteries and eggs. According to this study, eggs aren’t raising bad cholesterol levels, instead its E and B12 vitamins may be helping to clean out the system.

Monitor the BPM
It’s a good idea to check your pulse every morning. For dads on the healthy side, the average rate is 70 or below. If your rate is higher than that for longer than seven days, you should make an appointment with your doctor.

Get in the Exercise
Work related stress is the greatest cause of heart disease. Don’t let your job burn you out and interfere with the better aspects of your life. If you feel you are burning out, do cardio up to three times a week. Studies show it can reduce heart risk through job stress by almost 60 percent.

Walnuts
Omega-3 fats fight inflammation. Alpha nuts like walnuts contain alpha-linolenic acids, an essential omega-3 component. Consuming half a cop of walnut halves daily will do wonders for the function of the blood vessel.

Remember, we want you around for a long time, Dad. So put a little more energy (and the tips above) into safeguarding your heart and we’ll see you at your grandchild’s big day!

Are Night Owls Unhealthy?

Photo by DevonTT

Photo by DevonTT

Most people fall into one of two categories; a night owl or a morning person. There are pros and cons to each one, but what most night owl men don’t realize is that their lifestyle is unhealthy. While there certainly isn’t anything wrong with staying up late from time to time, it’s generally an unhealthy habit that can affect your productivity, your stress levels, and even your mood.

The Importance of Sleep

A grown man requires a minimum of eight hours of good, solid sleep each night to restore his body. If you’re getting less sleep than this, you’re not doing yourself any favors. Not getting enough sleep causes a myriad of health issues from poor memory function to a poor attention span to tension. If you’re a night owl and you have to get up early each day to get to work or get the kids to school, you’re probably not getting the adequate amount of sleep required to function at your fullest. The only time it’s not unhealthy to be a night owl is if you have nowhere to go in the mornings and you can sleep in as long as you’d like to ensure you get your solid eight hours. Of course, this situation means you probably have other things to worry about on top of your health.

The First Negative Signs of Being a Night Owl

If you’re not getting the recommended amount of sleep each night, you’re going to notice a few immediate signs. You’re going to become irritable, moody, and incapable of focusing on tasks that require your attention. Being a night owl might give you the time to catch up on all your favorite sports programs and television shows, but it’s not worth taking out your moodiness and irritability on your wife the following morning.

Memory Loss

You might not remember much of what you learned when you were younger, but allowing yourself to become a night owl who lacks sleep can cause you to have trouble remembering things as recent as what you learned today. Letting your inner night owl take over your life could cause your performance at work to suffer from your lack of ability to remember what you need to do, what you learn on a regular basis, what clients say, and what your boss has to say.

Focus

Another negative side effect of being a night owl includes the inability to focus. Not getting enough sleep often enough can actually cause you to lose focus in the same manner as having too much to drink. Of course, having too much to drink sounds like a much better time than not getting enough sleep, but the negative effects are very much the same. Your ability to focus is directly affected by the number of hours you sleep each night. Waking up feeling as if you’re in a fog is a common sign that you need to tame your inner night owl and get to bed at a decent hour.

Getting Enough Sleep

Fortunately, being a night owl is something you can change. The easiest way to change your sleep habits is to change them a little at a time. For example, if you typically stay up until one or two in the morning, start going to bed a half hour earlier each night until you’re in bed by 10 or 11. You can help yourself accomplish this by turning off your electronics at least an hour before bed time, by exercising earlier in the day rather than late at night, and by avoiding snacks and alcoholic beverages after dinner. Little changes to your sleep habits can make a big difference in your overall health.

Enlarged Prostate – Thermobalancing Therapy For Your Enlarged Prostate

An enlarged prostate or benign prostatic hyperplasic (BPH) is a likely health scenario in many men’s lives as they progress past middle age. Although rarely present in men younger than the mid 40s, by age 55 about 25% of men will begin experiencing some of the signs and symptoms of BPH. Eventually, by age 75, half of men will be affected by the condition.

The prostate gland secretes the whitish fluid in the semen and surrounds the urinary tube for emptying the bladder. It is normally the size of a walnut. However, the increase in size in BPH causes it to tighten around the urinary tube. restrict urinary flow and produce the common symptoms of BPH.

Symptomatic problems in urination include:

  • Frequent and urgent need to urinate
  • Difficulty in starting
  • Weak urine stream
  • Straining during urination
  • Excessive dribbling
  • Increased frequency of nocturnal urination
  • Urine retention

Untreated BPH can lead to complications requiring their own treatment, including surgery.

  • Acute and chronic urine retention
  • Urinary tract infections (UTIs)
  • Bladder stones
  • Bladder damage
  • Kidney damage

For some men symptoms stabilize and may eventually improve over time with minor treatment and lifestyle changes. Moreover, only half the men with BPH experience symptoms bothersome enough to seek or warrant medical treatment. However, a physician should evaluate symptoms to rule out other causes such as prostate cancer, bladder stones, diabetes or prostate inflammation.

Treatments for an enlarged prostate include supplements, dietary changes, medications and minimally invasive or open surgery. The exact cause of BPH is not fully understood. Some scientific evidence suggests that BPH is caused by abnormally high levels of dihydrotestosterone (DHT). For relief of mild symptoms doctors recommend:

  • Limiting the intake of caffeine and alcohol
  • Limiting the use of antihistamines or decongestants
  • Keeping active and warm
  • Double voiding: urinating once and again after a few moments

Herbal treatments include extracts of saw palmetto, ryegrass pollen, and stinging nettle roots. Pygeum oil from an African prune tree bark and beta-sitosterol from various sources are also claimed to relieve symptoms.

Thermobalancing therapy for treatment of an enlarged prostate is based on new research indicating that chronic diseases, such as BPH, start at the capillary level. Capillaries respond to certain stimuli by constricting their size and reducing blood flow. This restricted flow lowers the temperature of the affected area. When this constriction occurs in the area of the prostate, the lowered temperature stimulates the glands growth.

Thermobalancing therapy is employed to increase the blood flow around the prostate to return the prostate’s temperature to normal and stop prostate growth. Thermobalancing therapy has shown some clinical success with men in relieving symptoms and stopping the growth of an enlarged prostate. In some cases, treatment has shrunk the prostate back to its normal size.

Thermobalancing therapy involves a device that consists of a neoprene belt containing natural thermo-element(s) that is worn near the prostate to increase blood flow. No battery is needed and the thermo-element(s) will last for up to 2 years of treatment. To treat minor symptoms or as a preventative measure it can be worn only at night. However, for aggressive treatment, the device should be worn day and night for 3 months or longer – even after symptoms and any pain have disappeared.

Medications for BCH

  • Alpha-blockers: Relax bladder and prostate muscles to facilitate urination.
  • 5-alpha-reductase inhibitors: Believed to control DHT levels – side effects can include impotence and retrograde ejaculation.
  • Tadalafil (Cialis): A Phosphodiesterase inhibitor also used to treat erectile dysfunction.

Surgical Treatments

  • Transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP): A lighted scope (resectoscope) is placed into the urethra, and the surgeon uses small cutting tools to remove prostate tissue.
  • Transurethral incision of the prostate (TUIP or TIP): Similar to TURP but the surgeon uses small cuts to open a channel in the prostate.
  • Prostatectomy: Open surgery only used for a very large prostate.

Ablative surgical procedures that “burn away” prostate tissue with focused heating sources.

  • Laser surgery
  • Transurethral microwave thermotherapy (TUMT)
  • Transurethral needle ablation (TUNA)

Hopefully, use of thermobalancing therapy at an early stage of prostate growth will prevent the need for medications or surgical intervention.

New Rules for Men’s Heart Health

New Rules for Men's Heart HealthAre you worried about heart disease? You are not alone. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in men. In fact, the latest statistics show that over half of all deaths from heart disease are men. Each year, over one-half million people suffer their first coronary attack. Fortunately, new research can help men improve their chances of avoiding this life-threatening condition.

The Rules Are Changing
Approximately sixty percent of young men who follow the basic rules for heart health enter middle age with a low risk of coronary heart disease. The basics – eating a good diet, exercise, maintain a healthy BMI or body mass index, not smoking, and keeping their alcohol consumption to a minimum – are the best starting points for anyone hoping to avoid heart disease. In fact, doctors now advise patients that lifestyle and environment play a bigger factor in your risk of heart disease than genetics.
With the massive amount of research into men’s heart health new rules are emerging. Men are advised to follow the basics and make a few other changes as well.
Know Your Risk for Heart Disease
The Framingham Heart Model is an algorithm that is used to estimate a person’s risk of heart disease. The algorithm allows a person to input information on age, cholesterol level, blood pressure in addition to other key risk factors.
Recently, the Framingham Heart Model has come under fire because of perceived inaccuracies in the prediction model. The model does not factor in family history of heart disease or lifestyle choices. However, many doctors consider the algorithm an excellent place to start.
You can complete the algorithm online and share your results with your doctor. The Framingham Heart Model is a great place to start as you begin your journey to a healthier heart. Once you have completed the algorithm you can work with your doctor to determine your comprehensive risk by discussing your family history and lifestyle factors.
Exercise
Cardio has long been the mantra of heart health for men. Whether you swim, run, or ride a bicycle you are on your way to a healthier heart. New studies show that adding interval training and weights to your workout will vastly improve your chances of avoiding coronary heart disease.
Interval training forces you to attain up to ninety percent or more of your maximum heart rate. You can easily add interval training to cardio workouts. Added benefits come when you include weights. Resistance training improves blood flow throughout your body which allows the heart to work more efficiently. Experts suggest circuit training to get the most benefit for your heart.
Diet
Reducing cholesterol is key to maintaining heart health. You can drastically cut your cholesterol with a few changes in your diet. Barley and oatmeal are two of the most powerful heart healthy foods. They contain soluble fibers called betaglucans which aid in lowering the bad cholesterol, the LDL cholesterol. Psyllium is another heart healthy grain that contains high levels of fiber that cut down LDL cholesterol.
Adding soluble fiber to your diet is only one way you can decrease your chances of a heart attack. Tomatoes are now being touted as a super-food for heart health. Tomatoes contain lycopene, a nutrient known for lowering bad cholesterol. In one study people who added up to two glasses of tomato juice or two tablespoons of ketchup to their current diet saw an eight percent drop in LDL cholesterol in just three weeks.
A simple blood test will help you monitor your cholesterol. Men with extremely high cholesterol levels are often prescribed statins. Statins have been proven to lower cholesterol and lower a man’s risk of heart disease by up to thirty percent.
Stress
It is well documented that stress can lead to heart disease. The stress hormone cortisol is seen in higher levels in men who suffer heart attacks than men who are hospitalized because of other conditions. A sixty-five hour work week could land you in the hospital. The best prescription for alleviating stress is exercise. When you feel yourself becoming stressed take a break and go for a walk or work-out.
Stress is a known reason many men suffer from coronary heart disease. What you may not know is that depression can also lead to heart problems. The latest research shows that men who suffer from depression are in a higher risk category than men who have genetic predispositions or poor lifestyle habits. If you suffer from depression it is important to seek help. SSRIs, a type of antidepressants, improve the blood flow in your body.
Follow the new rules by making heart healthy changes today. Simple changes to your diet, adding exercise to your daily routine, and discussing your heart disease risk with your doctor can put you on the road to better health.

The Gleason Scale – How Prostate Cancer Is Graded

Once prostate cancer has been diagnosed, it’s important for the doctor to be able to judge how widespread the cancer is and how aggressively it might grow. With this information, the doctor will be able to decide what the prognosis for the disease is, and what sort of treatment is necessary. To do this, physicians use a tool called the Gleason scale to classify the state of the disease.

The Gleason scale is named after pathologist Donald Gleason, who invented it in the 1960s. To use it, the doctor takes a biopsy of the affected part of the prostate, and a pathologist will examine it under the microscope. The Gleason scale runs from 1 to 5, with 1 being almost normal and 5 being severe. Type 3 is the most common form of prostate cancer.

The pathologist who examines the biopsy will assign two Gleason grades, one for the larger part of the sample and one for the smaller part. The numbers together provide a Gleason score from 2 to 10, which provides a rating of how aggressive the prostate cancer is expected to be.

The Gleason grades represent the following arrangements of normal and cancer cells:

1: “Well-differentiated.” The cancerous glands are small and uniform, and don’t look very different from normal prostate glands.
2: Similar to 1, but the glands are larger, more irregularly shaped, and farther apart.
3: The glands have turned a darker color, and in some cases, the cancer cells have left the glands and begun to spread to surrounding tissue.
4: “Poorly differentiated.” The prostate glands have mostly disappeared, replaced by lumps of cancerous cells that are spreading throughout the tissue.
5: No glands are visible, only cancer cells that are usually spreading aggressively, forming sheets throughout the prostate tissue.

Gleason scores are usually given as two numbers, such as 3+2. Remember, the first number represents the larger part of the sample, so a score of 4+1 represents a case of prostate cancer that’s more aggressive than 1+4. So it’s always best to ask your doctor for both gradess that make up your Gleason score so you have the clearest possible picture of your prostate cancer.

A Gleason score of 6 or below is usually considered to be low-grade cancer, while a score in the 8-10 range is a severe, high-grade cancer.

If you decide to have your prostate removed, the pathologist will be able to examine the entire gland after the surgery and gain a more complete overview of the state of your cancer. This may lead to your receiving a different Gleason score from the one calculated on the basis of the biopsy.