Men's Health Archive

Articles

New dietary guidelines offer little new guidance

The latest iteration of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans focuses on weight and lowers the recommended salt intake for African Americans, people with diabetes, and others. Beyond that, the guidelines don’t offer much that is new. And what’s in there is often spoiled by vague language.

Testosterone replacement: A cautionary tale

Every man desires to live long," wrote Jonathan Swift, "but no man would be old." Much has changed over the centuries, but the desire to retain youthful vigor during the golden years has endured. Fortunately, modern medicine has developed a plan for successful aging. It includes getting regular physical activity and mental stimulation; eating right; controlling blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar levels; staying lean; building strong interpersonal relationships; and avoiding tobacco and other risky exposures and activities.

A wise lifestyle can help extend life and slow the aging process — but it takes effort and discipline, especially for gents who have started down the wrong path. So it's no surprise that men continue to look for a medicinal shortcut. One of the most tempting is testosterone.

AAA screening

Q. I am a 72-year-old male in excellent health. I have been diagnosed with a 3.7-centimeter aortic aneurysm. My doctor recommends an ultrasound every six months. Are six-month checks adequate? And when should surgery be considered?

A. I assume this is an abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) and that it was detected by a screening exam, not because you had a symptom such as back pain. Indeed, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends screening all men who have ever smoked and are between 65 and 75. The test is a simple, entirely safe abdominal ultrasound, and it need not be repeated if it's normal.

Penile rehabilitation after prostate cancer surgery

Think rehab, and you may conjure up the image of an athlete working his way back from a torn ligament or an older guy getting back on his feet after a total hip replacement. Penile rehabilitation is harder to picture. Indeed, it may sound more like a creative pick-up line than serious therapy, but it's a real, if unproven, program advanced by many urologists.

The problem

Before you decide that penile rehabilitation sounds like fun, remember that it's triggered by a diagnosis of prostate cancer. About 218,000 American men will receive that diagnosis this year, and all will face the difficult decision of what to do next. Some men will choose to defer treatment ("watchful waiting" and active surveillance programs). Others will decide to have radiation therapy (external beam radiation or brachytherapy with implanted seeds). And many men will opt to "get it all out" by undergoing the radical prostatectomy operation; it's a particularly good choice for younger men with life expectancies of over 10 years and aggressive-looking cancers still confined to the prostate itself.

Why we do what we do: good health information can save lives

My colleagues at Harvard Health Publishing and I have a mission: to provide accurate, reliable information that will help readers live healthier lives. We work hard to fulfill that mission, and the feedback we get from folks who read our newsletters, Special Health Reports, books, and online health information indicates we are on the right […]

More on Brain Injury in the NFL

If you watch football on Thanksgiving, keep the players’ brain health in mind. Alan Schwarz of the NY Times has been a dogged defensive end, in hot pursuit of this story. Read his latest contribution here. He points out that the National Football League (NFL) has been slow to assess penalties on players who take violent […]

Might a PSA test at age 60 simplify decision-making about screening?

A Swedish study suggests that a single PSA measurement at age 60 can predict the likelihood that a man will die of prostate cancer by age 85, and that at least half of men no longer need to be screened after age 60. But the study has significant limitations, leaving many experts skeptical.

Americans lag on exercise

Only one in six Americans meet recommended targets for physical activity. If you aren’t one of them, identifying your barriers to exercise can help.

Eating for prostate health

Patients frequently ask for a list of foods they can eat to help shield them from prostate cancer. Although some foods have been linked with reduced risk of prostate cancer, the proof of their effectiveness is lacking.

Stress and prostatitis

High levels of stress, poor emotional health, and a lack of social support seem to be linked to a history of prostatitis. Stress also seems to heighten pain associated with the condition.

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