Any quick Internet search on men’s health will lead one to believe that prostate health and libido are the top health concerns out there for men. The actual short list is much different — consisting of heart disease, cancer and unintentional injury. That list is not too sexy and won’t sell many magazines.
Yet, those are the key elements we know affect men’s health most directly. So, in honor of supporting men’s health as we move into the holiday months, I will attempt to cover a man’s approach to healthy aging — which includes the sexy (and the not-so-sexy). Here is my general approach & some of my favorite tips.
Starting with unintentional injury, the risks associated with physical labor, chores, driving and casual sex come to mind. I encourage you guys to use your seat belts, drive within the limits, (never mind how tempting it is to drive like an Indy racecar driver) follow safety precautions while doing maintenance around the house and practice safe sex. Seems pretty straighforward, right?
On to cardiovascular disease, in which the mainstream media has us convinced that cholesterol levels are the key to good outcomes. My typical recommendations start with changes to your diet and exercise to bring down cholesterol levels but I recommend the focus to be on simple carbohydrates rather than cholesterol intake. While it is important to look at the quality of fat in your diet, rarely does lowering your fat intake have any appreciable effect on cholesterol levels. We will always look to the amount of triglycerides in your blood work (carbohydrates break down into fatty acids, which then become triglycerides) as these are what become your cholesterol of tomorrow.
Now another not-so-sexy one — diet. It plays such a crucial role in your health, that at Nature Cures Clinic we address all patients’ nutritional intake and make specific recommendations from this evaluation.
One huge area that goes often overlooked for men is hormone balance. It is very evident that women go through menopause as they age; but we men also go through a similar change called andropause. Testosterone therapy has become more in vogue as the baby boomers participate in more health care and are looking to increase their quality of life as they age. Testosterone is well known for its effect on libido. It is also very beneficial in preventing cardiovascular disease, improving muscle mass and strength, maintaining stronger bones, and improving mood, memory and cognitive function. Not only that, it has also been shown to improve prostate function. So no male workup (over 40 years old) is complete without an evaluation of hormone balance. It really is necessary to test hormone levels before embarking on any treatment regime with bio-identical hormones.
This leads us into prostate health. Most men will develop prostate issues over their lifetimes. On autopsy of men over 80 years old, there was a high presence of prostate cancer — though the cancer was not the cause of most mens’ deaths.
Vitamin D is a great marker of prognosis of prostate health. In research, men with adequate levels of vitamin D had better outcomes than men who did not have adequate amounts of vitamin D in their system. At Nature Cures Clinic, we do run a prostate specific antigen (PSA) test — a general test to screen for prostate cancer. This test is fraught with issues and it’s not definitive — think of it more as just a screening test, albeit the best we have at the moment. If you have a high PSA, this leads to more blood work. What happens to most men with a high PSA is the recommendation of a biopsy of the prostate to see if there is cancer there. This is not always to the best way to go. If you or a loved one find yourself in this situation please call us and get some information. Know you have some options.
Lastly — drum roll — libido. When all of the above aspects are addressed you have a higher likelihood of a healthy libido. Still, an often-overlooked aspect of a healthy sex life is intimacy. Yes, intimacy. It puts you in a vulnerable and open space with your loved one. This has the aspect of enhancing your sex life as a way to share more of your true self with your partner. This can be a very powerful way to enhance your sex and love life. I invite you to step out of the confining box of malehood and explore this aspect of closeness with those that matter most in your lives.
Men’s health is health. The physiology and biochemistry of the body responds well to correct diet, exercise, and specific nutrients and botanicals. We strive to individualize our treatments to each person.
With cardiovascular disease, cancer and unintentional injuries being the top three issues for men, popular media and most men focused on libido and prostate health, this leaves us with a beginning place to enrich our lives and optimize our health. To the journey!