The essentials to keep a man's heart healthy

Many things contribute to a man’s risk of cardiovascular disease (heart attacks and strokes). The key factors to address are body weight, diet, exercise, stress control, cholesterol, and blood pressure.  These account for most of a man’s cardiac risk. For those who meet certain criteria, a cholesterol-lowering statin drug or a daily low-dose aspirin can also reduce risk, particularly in a man who has already experienced a heart attack or stroke. (Locked) More »

Ask the doctor: Ringing in the ears

There is no simple cure for most types of tinnitus, or ringing in the ears. Some options are available that make the condition less noticeable or easier to tolerate. (Locked) More »

Ask the doctor: The coconut craze

The evidence is still preliminary for health benefits of coconut oil. Coconut water is rich in potassium but drinking plain water and eating healthy foods could provide the same benefit. (Locked) More »

Dietary supplement safety

Americans spend billions on dietary supplements, despite the lack of clear proof that these products improve health. Supplements that have side effects or could interact harmfully with prescription drugs include vitamin E and A, St. John’s Wort, ginkgo biloba, and many others. The FDA does not require dietary supplements to be tested before they reach the market to prove they are safe and that they work, as is the case with prescription drugs. As a result, products may contain unlisted ingredients and contaminants; some are found to contain prescription drugs. Men should tell their doctors what they are taking, especially if they are already taking multiple prescription drugs. Supplements tested by the United States Pharmacopeia or NSF International are more trustworthy. A well-balanced diet that emphasizes fruits, vegetables, and other healthy foods will usually supply all the needed amounts of vitamins and minerals a person requires.  More »

Shingles vaccination pros and cons

Experts recommend that everyone 60 and older get the vaccine for shingles, a painful rash caused by reactivation of the chickenpox virus. The vaccine is safe, but can be costly if not covered by insurance. The chief benefit of the vaccine is that it helps prevent an uncommon but serious complication of shingles: persistent nerve pain after the rash clears up, known as post-herpetic neuralgia (PHN). PHN can be very painful as well as hard to treat. Vaccination is not as effective in older people because their immune systems tend to weaken over time. Over all, in those 60 and older the vaccine cuts the risk of shingles by 50%. (Locked) More »

How to soothe a sore neck

Most men develop neck pain for the same reasons they suffer low back pain, often strained or sprained muscles, ligaments, and tendons. First-line therapy is rest, ice, heat, pain relievers, and possibly limited use of a neck collar. Exercises to stretch and strengthen the neck, shoulder, and upper back muscles can speed recovery from a painful neck condition and possibly reduce flare-ups. Therapy will likely combine isometric and range-of-motion exercises. In isometric exercise, you tighten the neck muscles against an opposing force. If neck pain is severe, lasts for weeks or months, drastically limits your ability to move your head, radiates into the shoulders, or feels worse in the morning, more extensive therapy and possibly surgery may be indicated. More »

Which drug for erectile dysfunction?

For men with erectile problems, taking one of the four medications available can produce an erection 70% of the time. The drugs vary in how quickly they take effect, how long they act, and their safety issues. The limit on which pill men use is often the cost. Insurance plans may also limit a man to four doses per month. Erectile difficulties often are a warning of underlying artery disease. More »

Eat fruits and veggies for a long life

A survey-based study found that people who ate seven or more servings a day of fruits and vegetables were at a sharply lower risk of death compared with people who ate very little of these healthy foods. (Locked) More »

Blood pressure therapy fails test

A promising experimental surgery to combat high blood pressured failed an important test. The treatment, called renal denervation, is for people with high blood pressure that does not respond adequately to medication. (Locked) More »