• 6 Things That Determine How Long You’ll Live

    Sleeping and sitting may be more influential than previously realized

    A bit morbid perhaps, but lifestyle behaviors are responsible for a wide-range of preventable diseases from cancer to heart disease. Now, Australian researchers argue growing evidence suggests some other previously unconsidered risk factors like sitting for a long periods of time should be included when estimating a person’s mortality risk. By pulling six risk factors together into one index, the researchers argue they provide clinically relevant information about a person’s health, and what combination of red flags are especially concerning.

    In the new study published in the journal PLOS Medicine , researchers looked a group of231,048 Australian adults age 45 and up who were followed for six years.

    The researchers then scored the participants on six behavior measures: smoking, alcohol use, dietary behavior, physical inactivity, sedentary behavior, and sleep.

    When added together, they found that the people who had higher scores in these combined measures had a higher risk of death.

    The researchers used the measurement “person-years lost,” which is the number of years lost due to a person in the study dying before the study ended. Based on their findings, the researchers calculated that if none of the men and women had any of the risk factors, a third of the person-years lost from death would have been avoided.

    Interestingly, short sleep duration had less of an effect on mortality risk than sleeping for a long time. Why that’s the case remains unknown, but the study authors write that it’s possible that long sleep duration indicates underlying disease, fatigue or depression. On its own, sitting for a long time had a small effect on all-cause mortality, but the researchers found that the combination of long bouts of sitting and a lack of exercise had a stronger effect. “This might indicate that prolonged sitting tends to be particularly harmful among those who are physically inactive,” the authors write.

    “To me, both [sedentary behavior and sleep] are very important,” says study author Ding Ding, a senior research fellow at The University of Sydney. “Both are closely linked to our overall lifestyle, are likely to interact with other lifestyle behaviors, and together they represent the majority of our daily life.”

    The good news is that by understanding how these different behaviors impact our ability to have a long life, we can make modifications for better health.

    Source: http://time.com/4140559/6-things-that-determine-how-long-youll-live/

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  • Phthalates In Household Products Such As Shampoos, Soaps, And Hair Sprays, Cause Decline In Testosterone Levels

    Personal care products sitting right in your bathroom and kitchen cabinets could be lowering your testosterone levels, and a new study has found how exposure is affecting our organs and tissues. Researchers from the University of Michigan School of Public Health published their findings in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

    In the last 50 years, there’s been a decline in men’s testosterone levels and a rise in health conditions that relate to low levels, including reduced semen quality, and genital malformations in newborn boys. “We found evidence reduced levels of circulating testosterone were associated with increased phthalate exposure in several key populations, including boys ages 6 to 12, and men and women ages 40 to 60,” the study’s co-author, John D. Meeker, of the University of Michigan School of Public Health, said in a press release. “This may have important public health implications, since low testosterone levels in young boys can negatively impact reproductive development, and in middle age can impair sexual function, libido, energy, cognitive function, and bone health in men and women.”

    Phthalates are a type of chemical that make plastics more flexible but durable, and are found in detergents, vinyl flooring, adhesives, lubricating oils, raincoats, and various soaps, shampoos, hair sprays, and nail polishes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The constant exposure to the chemical has been known to lower testosterone levels, which are responsible for physical growth and strength, brain function, bone density, and cardiovascular health.

    More than 90 percent of men with low testosterone levels do not seek treatment, and among them, 70 percent will have trouble maintaining erections, and 63 percent will have a low sex drive, according to EverydayHealth. While the physical impacts of a low sex drive can cause emotional fluctuations, such as feelings or sadness, depression, and low self-confidence, the inability to reproduce can alter the course a man and his partner’s life who must find alternative routes to achieve a successful and healthy birth.

    After analyzing testosterone levels and their relationship to phthalates in 2,208 participants from the U.S. National health and Nutrition Examination Survey between 2011 to 2012, they found 13 different substances in their urine. When they looked at each of their blood samples, those participants also had a 24 to 34.1 percent drop in testosterone levels. In the past, CDC researchers have found phthalates in the urine of 2,636 participates who were 6 years or older between 1999 and 2002, and found enough to conclude there was a widespread exposure in the U.S. population.

    “While the study’s cross-sectional design limit the conclusions we can draw, our results support the hypothesis that environmental exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals such as phthalates could be contributing to the trend of declining testosterone and related disorders,” Meeker said. “With mounting evidence for adverse health effects, individuals and policymakers alike may want to take steps to limit human exposure to the degree possible.”

    Source: Meeker JD and Ferguson KK. Urinary Phthalate Metabolites are Associated with Decreased Serum Testosterone in Men, Women and Children from NHANES 2011-2012. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism ( JCEM ). 2014.

    Source: http://www.medicaldaily.com/phthalates-household-products-such-shampoos-soaps-and-hair-sprays-cause-decline-298118

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  • Why Donating Blood Is Good For Your Health

    It’s time to roll up your sleeve and save a life — including yours.

    Every two seconds, someone in the United States needs blood, with a total of 44,000 blood donations needed every day, reports the American Red Cross. One whole blood donation, which takes approximately 45 minutes to an hour, can come to the rescue of as many as three patients.

    Harold Mendenhall, an 84-year-old lifetime blood donor from South Florida, donated his 100th gallon of blood, The Palm Beach Post reported. He started giving blood on July 7, 1977 when his wife, Frankie, was diagnosed with breast cancer. After she died, going to the blood bank was a way Mendenhall could deal with the grief of losing his wife and later his two sons. At least, he could save those who needed a blood transfusion.

    Mendenhall, strong and healthy, donates 6 gallons of blood a year by platelets. In a platelet donation, a machine withdrawals the blood, filters out the platelets, and returns the rest of the blood to the donor, according to the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. This donation procedure takes 70 to 90 minutes and can be done once every seven days, allowing for the donor to give blood every few weeks instead of the eight weeks of waiting required for a non-platelet donation. Whole blood donors can also donate platelets 72 hours after a whole blood donation, and vice versa.

    Blood donors must be 17 years old in most states, with some states lowering the limit to 16 years old with parental consent. Donors ages 16 to 18 are also subject to additional height and weight restrictions, says the New York Blood Center. A single individual who donates whole blood starting at 17 years old every 56 days until they reach 76 will have donated 48 gallons of blood, potentially saving more than 1,000 lives, says the American Red Cross.

    While the health benefits of recipients who receive blood transfusions are clear, altruistic blood donors too, can reap the benefits.

    Preserves Cardiovascular Health

    Blood viscosity is known to be a unifying factor for the risk of cardiovascular disease, says the Harvard Medical School Family Health Guide. How thick and sticky your blood is and how much friction your blood creates through the blood vessels can determine how much damage is done to the cells lining your arteries. You can reduce your blood viscosity by donating blood on a regular basis, which eliminates the iron that may possibly oxidize in your blood. An increase in oxidative stress can be damaging to your cardiovascular system.

    Blood donation reduces the risk of heart attacks and strokes, too. In a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), researchers found that participants ages 43 to 61 had fewer heart attacks and strokes when they donated blood every six months. In a study published by the American Journal of Epidemiology , researchers found in a sample size of 2,682 men in Finland, those who donated blood a minimum of once a year had an 88 percent lower risk of heart attacks than those who did not donate.

    The removal of oxidative iron from the body through blood donations means less iron oxidation and reduced cardiovascular diseases.

    Reduces The Risk of Cancer

    The reduction of iron stores and iron in the body while giving blood can reduce the risk of cancer. Iron has been thought of to increase free-radical damage in the body and has been linked to an increased risk of cancer and aging, says a study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute . Researchers followed 1,200 people split into groups of two over the course of 4 ½ years. One group reduced their iron stores by blood donations twice a year, whereas the other group did not make any changes. The results of the study showed that the group of blood donors had lower iron levels, and a lower risk of cancer and mortality.

    The Miller-Keystone Blood Center says that the consistency of blood donations is associated with lower risks of cancers including liver, lung, colon, and throat cancers due to the reduction in oxidative stress when iron is released from the bloodstream.

    Burns Calories

    People burn approximately 650 calories per donation of one pint of blood, according to theUniversity of California, San Diego. A donor who regularly donates blood can lose a significant amount of weight, but it should not be thought of as a weight loss plan by any means. To donate blood the American Red Cross requires donors to weigh at least 110 pounds and maintain healthy iron levels in the body.

    Provides A Free Blood Analysis

    Upon donation, donors are tested for syphilis, HIV, hepatitis, and other diseases. Testing indicates whether or not you are eligible to donate based on what is found in your bloodstream, says the American Red Cross. The organization also notes that a sample of your blood may be used now or in the future for additional tests and other medical research with your consent.

    Source: http://www.medicaldaily.com/why-donating-blood-good-your-health-246379

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  • Is Male Menopause Real?

    If you have any of these symptoms or know anyone who does, please check out our website and give us a call to find out what you can do.

    Is Male Menopause Real?

    By Daniel D. Federman, M.D., and Geoffrey A. Walford, M.D.

    Newsweek Jan. 15, 2007 issue – You’re a guy in your late 50s. You’ve just awakened and are looking at yourself in the bathroom mirror—as you do every morning. Only today you notice for the first time what must have been there for a while: the love handles, the once bulging pecs that now sort of sag. It gets you thinking. You realize that for some time you haven’t had as much energy as you used to, you don’t have as much interest in sex, there are times when you feel down and discouraged, and your friends tell you that you’re more irritable than you used to be. Is this just aging? Is it simply the inevitable price of your nutritionally rich and exercise-poor lifestyle? Or is it a medical condition—one for which there might be a treatment?

    Are you entering “male menopause”? You’ve heard the phrase, but is there really such a thing?

    Like women, men experience a drop in the levels of sex hormones as they age. But in men, the pace of these changes is quite different. In women, levels of the main female sex hormone, estrogen, remain high for most of their adult lives, and then, around the age of 50, plunge over the course of five years. The lower levels of estrogen cause the physical and psychological changes of menopause, including the most obvious one: the cessation of menstrual periods. When a woman has entered menopause, it’s not hard for her to tell.

    With men, it’s much more gradual. Levels of a man’s main sex hormone, testosterone, begin to drop as early as the age of 30. Instead of plunging over a few years, the testosterone levels drop very slightly (about 1 percent) each year—for the rest of his life. This change is so gradual that many men may not notice any effects until several decades have gone by. Yet, by 50, 10 percent of all U.S. men have low levels of testosterone. By 70, more than half are testosterone deficient.

    Do the progressively lower levels of testosterone cause symptoms in a man, the way lower levels of estrogen do in a woman? There is no doubt that they can, but it can be very hard to tell. Men with certain rare conditions that cause extremely low levels of testosterone develop a loss of muscle mass and bone strength, increased body fat, decreased energy, less interest in sex, erectile dysfunction, irritability and depression. In men with these rare conditions, testosterone-replacement therapy can improve their symptoms.

    In the average man, however, linking testosterone levels to symptoms and predicting which men with low levels will benefit from treatment is tricky, for several reasons. First, there are many conditions that can cause the symptoms associated with testosterone deficiency. Alcohol abuse, thyroid and other hormonal disorders, liver and kidney disease, heart failure and chronic lung disease can all cause similar symptoms. Depression can cause many of these symptoms in men with perfectly normal levels of testosterone.

    Second, some testosterone in the blood is “active” and other testosterone is inactive. It is low levels of active testosterone that cause symptoms of testosterone deficiency, yet doctors typically test just for “total” testosterone. Third, testosterone levels vary widely among men of the same age, including the majority of men without symptoms of testosterone deficiency. Fourth, testosterone levels fluctuate over the course of the day and vary widely among healthy men. For all those reasons, it’s difficult to determine what a “normal” level of testosterone is.

    Perhaps most perplexing, men experience symptoms of testosterone deficiency at very different levels: some men with what appear to be low levels of active testosterone have no symptoms, and some men with what appear to be “normal” levels of active testosterone have symptoms that improve with testosterone therapy.

    Despite these complexities, symptoms due to testosterone deficiency in men older than 50 definitely occur and can be diagnosed and treated. As many as 10 million U.S. men may be affected. As the baby-boomer generation ages over the next 25 years, this number is expected to rise significantly.

    So what should you do if you have symptoms that could reflect a testosterone deficiency? If you are older than 50 and have symptoms, see your doctor. The doctor should first determine whether the symptoms may be caused by other conditions. If not, the doctor should measure blood levels of total testosterone. The tests should be done in the morning, when testosterone levels are the highest, and repeated at least once to ensure accuracy.

    If your levels are greater than 400 nanograms per deciliter, you are not testosterone deficient, and the symptoms must have some other cause. If your total testosterone level is less than 200ng/dl, you are clearly deficient. If your levels are borderline—between 200ng/dl and 400ng/dl—you may be deficient; to be sure, you should have your active testosterone measured.

    When can you benefit from testosterone therapy? If you have symptoms and extremely low levels of total or active testosterone, you will likely benefit. If you have borderline levels, however, the evidence is less clear: some studies show a benefit, others do not.

    Is there a risk to testosterone treatments? In some patients, testosterone-replacement therapy (TRT) can cause or worsen sleep apnea. High levels of testosterone can raise the number of blood cells, increasing the risk of blood clots, heart attacks and stroke. The most significant concerns regarding TRT are potential effects on the prostate. Prostate growth and cancer are both testosterone-dependent. Increasing testosterone levels could theoretically lead to a greater incidence of enlarged prostates, also known as BPH, and to progression of prostate cancer. Although no short-term studies have shown an increased frequency of prostate cancer in men taking TRT, the long-term effects on the prostate are still unknown.

    So, for many men with borderline levels of testosterone, the benefits and the risks of testosterone therapy are uncertain. Despite this, for the past 20 years many men have begun using testosterone supplements. In 2005, more than 2.3 million testosterone prescriptions were written—most of them for men between the ages of 50 and 65. Yet men older than 65 have a much greater likelihood of having significant testosterone deficiency. So it may be that testosterone supplements are being overused by men below 65 and underused by those over 65.

    Many formulations of testosterone supplements are available today. In the United States, the most commonly used preparations are patches, gels and intramuscular injections. Patches and gels are easy to use and provide a constant, steady release of testosterone through the skin and into the blood. However, patches can cause skin irritation, and gels are slow to be absorbed and can leave a musty smell. Intramuscular injections have to be given in a health-care setting every two to four weeks, inconvenient for many men. Additionally, intramuscular preparations produce unnaturally high blood levels right after the injection, which over several weeks fall to unnaturally low levels. Indeed, some men experience a return of their symptoms before the next injection.

    Testosterone pills were popular 20 years ago, and prompted the widespread use of testosterone supplements. However, they were found to cause liver damage and liver tumors, and were removed from the market. Since then, newer and safer testosterone pills have been developed and are available in Europe. Once appropriate safety tests have been done, it is likely that they will also become available in the United States. In addition, new hormones called selective androgen receptor modulators (SARMs), which resemble testosterone but do not affect the prostate, are under development. Theoretically, these SARMs could offer the benefits of conventional testosterone therapy and significantly decrease the potential harmful side effects of the therapy.

    If your doctor has prescribed testosterone treatment, the dose should be determined by symptom relief. In addition, your doctor should regularly measure your testosterone levels—to ensure that they do not become too high, increasing the risk of dangerous side effects. Finally, you should have regular physical examinations and blood tests to monitor for potential damage to the liver, blood and prostate. Additionally, you and your partner should watch for symptoms of sleep apnea: unusual snoring and daytime sleepiness, and periods of 10 seconds or longer during sleep when you do not take a breath. Sleep apnea is a potentially life-threatening side effect of TRT.

    Whether you call it “male menopause” or not, some men do develop serious and bothersome symptoms from testosterone deficiency. Unfortunately, medical science knows much less about male menopause than about female menopause. With the growing interest in this problem, and the likelihood that testosterone pills will re-appear in the United States, that knowledge gap is likely to shrink. Now, if only our prostates would do the same.

    Federman and Walford are members of the faculty of Harvard Medical School. For more information on male menopause and men’s health, go to health.harvard.edu/NEWSWEEK .

    For more information on our unique Men’s Testosterone and Wellness therapies visit us at http://www.BostonTestosterone.com or http://www.Facebook.com/BostonTestosterone .

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