11/4/13 November is Movember, when you may notice some of the men in your life sprouting mustaches to draw awareness to men's health issues. While the growing of facial hair may seem silly as an awareness movement, men's health issues remain quite serious. Despite that medical science has long had a bias towards how problems affect men, men still have a lower life expectancy than women. Simply put, we need to start taking better care of ourselves. While the official Movember charity focuses on prostate and testicular cancer, I plan to highlight issues that are relevant to my own practice.
11/5/13 Hand-washing! 'Tis the season for common colds, stomach bugs, and the flu. The best preventive measure a guy can take is regular hand-washing Studies have shown that proper hand-washing (with regular soap) reduced respiratory illnesses by 21% and GI illnesses by 31%. Unfortunately, other studies show that guys are much worse than the ladies when it comes to hand-washing Grab the soap, men, and wash those hands!
11/6/13 Zinc. There is often a lot of talk about zinc around this time of year, as it is often used as a treatment to shorten the common cold. Zinc is often touted in supplements as a prostate panacea. While there is some evidence that zinc can support prostate health, too much zinc has been associated with prostate cancer. Most men get adequate amounts of zinc from their diet and should only supplement it if they are known to be deficient.
11/7/13 Ankylosing Spondylitis. Everyone should take care of their back. However, proper specific diagnosis of back pain is critical to order to guide specific treatments and obtain good results. This is particularly true for young men. Ankylosing spondylitis is a form of arthritis which predominantly affects the low back. Men are 2-3 times more likely than women to have this disease, which commonly manifests from the late teens to early 30's. Stiffness is a major symptom, often even more so than pain. While it is important to address the pain, it is critical to recognize and treat ankylosing spondylitis early in its course to prevent deformity and other complications.
11/8/13 Osteoporosis. Age related osteoporosis tends to occur later in men than women; with increasing life expectancy, we are seeing more and more osteoporosis in men. Osteoporosis can occur in younger men as well, often due to medical problems or medications. Men are more likely to die in year following an osteoporotic hip fracture than women. The best "treatment" is prevention: adequate amounts of calcium and vitamin D and regular exercise.