Health Issues of Men and Women
Younger and Healthier
MEN’S MAJOR HEALTH ISSUES
Bladder tumors, which develop inside the lining of the bladder, occur more often in men than in women.
Colorectal cancer is the growth of abnormal cells in the large intestine.
According to the American Cancer Society, colorectal cancer is the third leading cause of death from cancer in men.
Colorectal cancer is highly treatable if detected early. However, early detection may be difficult to the lack of symptoms until the advanced stage.
The high risk factors include the following:
A family history of colorectal cancer
A high-fat, low-fiber diet
Development of non-cancerous polyps in the colon
Excessive alcohol consumption
Inflammatory bowel disease, such as Crohn’s disease (inflammation of the digestive tract) and ulcerative colitis (ulcers in the lining of the rectum and colon)
Lack of exercise
Early symptoms, which may not be apparent, include the following:
Bloating after a bowel movement
Bloody or black stools
Cramping and gas pains
Loss of appetite
Loss of weight
Lower abdomen pain
According to studies, your diet may prevent colorectal cancer. Some of the findings of these studies include the following:
A high-fat, low-fiber diet increases colorectal cancer risk by 50 percent.
Daily consumption of cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower) may reduce colorectal cancer risk significantly.
Foods rich in calcium and vitamin D reduce colorectal cancer risk by as much as 30 percent.
Eat oats everyday. Oats prevent colon cancer by binding toxic minerals and acid, as well as by increasing the production of natural “killer cells” in your immune system.
About six percent of the U.S. population is diabetic, and 45 percent of them are men.
Diabetes is your body’s inability to metabolize sugar due to inadequate insulin.
Diabetes is not curable but controllable through diet and exercise.
The symptoms are as follows:
Hunger and thirst
Poor circulation (numbness and tingling)
Slow healing of wounds
Sudden weight loss
You can reduce your risk of type-II diabetes by the following:
Maintain an optimum bodyweight.
Eat a low-fat, high-fiber diet. Oat bran can balance the body’s blood sugar levels by slowing the absorption of carbohydrates.
Exercise regularly to control a healthy weight and help your muscles utilize insulin.
Control diabetes without drugs or insulin.
Men are vulnerable to heart disease.
Men are three times more likely to have kidney stones than women are.
Uric acid kidney stones are more common in men-formed by too much uric acid in the urine, combining with calcium and oxalate to form stones. This condition is often a result of a diet high in animal protein.
Lung cancer is the leading cause of death in men.
About 90 percent of lung cancers among men are caused by cigarette smoke. The longer you smoke, the more likely you are to die of lung cancer; the choice is all yours.
Frequent exposure to industrial chemicals and irradiative substances may also be a contributing factor to lung cancer.
Early symptoms of lung cancers may include the following:
Aches and pains, especially ongoing chest pain
Coughing, shortness of breath, wheezing
Repeated bouts of pneumonia
Advanced symptoms of lung cancer may include the following:
Difficulty in swallowing
Drooping of upper eyelids
Pain on arms, shoulders, or in the back
Take preventive measures against lung cancer:
Do not smoke. Quit smoking at all cost.
Avoid secondhand smoke.
Avoid industrial chemicals, especially your work environment.
Stay away from pollution. Experts say that pollution levels are at their worst in the late afternoon.
Check your home for radon (a radioactive gas level.
Eat watercress. Studies showed that watercress contains a compound that can prevent lung cancer. The National Cancer Institute is still conducting studies on this.
Men are as susceptible to osteoporosis as women.
About 40 percent of men over 70 have decreased levels of testosterone, making them more vulnerable to bone fractures.
Alcohol can weaken your bones.
Steroid medications, such as prednisone, tend to deplete your body of calcium, making your bones more prone to fractures.
Avoid animal protein, excessive salt and caffeine intake, and tobacco.
Take vitamin D supplements (200 IU daily) to slow down the loss of calcium.
Cancer of the penis, which may affect the glands or the foreskin, is a rare type of cancer.
Symptoms may include the following:
Abnormal discharge from the penis
A lump in the groin
A sore on the penis
Bleeding or pain during erection
About 50 percent of men between the ages of 40 and 60 have enlarged prostate, known as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). Enlarged prostate may be due to excessive testosterone in the prostate.
BPH can lead to bladder problems, including urinary tract infections, and urinary retention (a condition in which a man is unable to urinate).
Symptoms may include the following:
Increased frequency of urination
Reduced force of urination
Waking frequently at night to empty the bladder
Studies at Metropolitan Hospital in New York showed that men with enlarged prostate have 80 percent more cholesterol in their blood than those without enlarged prostate.
A low-fat and high-fiber diet with the mineral zinc may prevent BPH.
Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in men.
Symptoms may include the following:
Difficulty in starting urination
Increased frequency of urination.
Weak stream during urination
Prostate cancer is less common in vegetarians than meat-eaters for the following reasons.
A vegetarian diet is low in fat, thus reducing testosterone levels.
The fiber in plant-based diets helps removal of excess testosterone from the body.
Plant foods produce a protein molecule that keeps the testosterone inactive until needed.
A prostate cancer patient is often given female hormones to reduce testosterone’s effects.
A prostate-cancer diet is based on the following principles:
Avoiding animal products with vegetable oils to a minimum to reduce testosterone levels
Consuming foods rich in fiber (beans, grains, lentils, peas, and vegetables) to promote the removal of testosterone
Consuming foods rich in vitamin B12.
Even if you do not have any prostate problem, a prostate-cancer diet may help prevent prostate problems down the road.
Cancer of the testicles may affect men, especially between the ages of 15 and 35.
This type of cancer responds well to chemotherapy, if detected early.
Perform a regular testicular self-examination after a hot shower:
Stand in front of a mirror, and observe if there is any swelling on the surface of your scrotum.
Use the index and middle fingers of both hands to examine each testicle by rolling it between the thumbs and fingers.
Feel for any abnormal lump on front or sides of the testicles.
See the doctor if you find a lump.
Copyright© by Stephen Lau
WOMEN'S MAJOR HEALTH ISSUES
During the lifespan of a woman, there are many health issues.
Healthier and younger for longer
Moderate drinking (a drink a day for women) may have some health benefits. However, too much drinking may have the following adverse effects, simply because you are a woman:
Alcohol can disrupt your menstrual cycles.
Alcohol can cause early onset of menopause.
Alcohol can suppress orgasm and lower your sex drive.
Alcohol may remain a higher concentration in your blood because you not only weigh less but also have less of an enzyme to metabolize alcohol than a man has.
Women who have developed alcoholic liver disease (ALD) may progress more rapidly than men do, because their bodies are more sensitive to the harmful effects of alcohol than men’s.
Women are genetically more susceptible to alcoholic liver disease (ALD) than men are. You are more at risk.
So drink less, not more, to keep yourself younger and healthier for longer.
Today, according to statistics, there are as many women smokers as there are men who smoke.
A study at the Center for Tobacco Research and Intervention at the University of Wisconsin Medical School in Madison indicated that it is a lot harder for women than men to quit smoking-women’s successful rate is only half of that of men-due to women’s physical and psychological makeup, such as their propensity to depression on quitting and their desire to use smoking to control their weight (which is only a myth).
Cigarette smoke contains about 4,000 chemicals, which damage cells and tissues, especially if you take oral contraceptives.
Quit smoking at any cost to keep yourself younger and healthier for longer. To quit the habit, you need grit and determination, not just nicotine patches and gum.
Sun exposure can cause cancer-even 20 years later down the road.
If you want a tan, go for self-tanning lotions, not a sunlamp or a tanning bed (generating more ultraviolet radiation than regular sun exposure).
Sun exposure damages your skin, and ages you prematurely and permanently.
Women’s health is unique, such as PMS or hot flash. Due to your uniqueness, using natural herbs as remedies to overcome some of your daily health problems is highly recommended:
They are natural plants.
They work with your body’s mechanisms, while pharmaceutical drugs may be dangerous because they are toxic chemicals with many adverse side effects.
Remember, always keep your doctors in the loop about the herbs you are taking, especially if you are taking prescription drugs as well.
(a) Between age 20 and 40
Your career and lifestyle may create health imbalances, leading to common ailments, such as PMS and cramps.
Black cohosh: easing PMS-related pain
Burdock: relieving your PMS
Evening primrose: regulating the levels of chemicals in your body
Ginger: half-inch of ginger simmered in 1 quart of boiling water for 10 minutes (adding honey and lemon to taste)
Liver tonic (Dong Quai): easing your PMS
Motherwort: treating delayed menstruation
Vitex: a traditional herb for treating PMS irregularity
Dong Quai: traditional Chinese herb to boost energy by increasing blood flow and “qi” throughout your body
Ginseng (Asian): energizing and restorative
Schizandra: a sexual tonic in Chinese medicine for stress relief
Dong Quai: also known as “female ginseng” to tone the uterus (stopping dong quai during menstruation and discontinuing when pregnant)
Nettle: nourishing the reproductive system (rich in tannins and nutrients)
Rasberry leaf: promoting fertility (rich in minerals)
Vitex: normalizing women’s hormones
(b) Between age 40 and 60, and beyond
Your menopause cycle begins, bringing about crises and changes that may affect your physical and mental health.
Hawthorn: an all-purpose heart tonic
Motherwort: supporting heart health
Black cohosh: a renowned menopause herb
Ginseng (Asian): a restorative tonic for menopause
Sage: reducing hot flashes
Wild yam: balancing female hormones
Hawthorn: an all-purpose heart tonic for mild depression
Sage: regulating mood swings during menopause
Vitex: normalizing women’s hormones to avoid mood swings
Remember, always use natural herbs to treat common daily ailments, instead of toxic pharmaceutical drugs. They keep you younger and healthier for longer.
Many women between age 30 and 50 begin to have bladder problems, which could be frustrating as well as embarrassing:
Pain in urination
Pain in urination is mainly due to urinary tract infection (UTI). The cause of this bladder problem is that a woman’s urethra is short, and therefore easily vulnerable to infections.
In general, women over age 30 have increasing susceptibility to infections that may cause bladder problems.
To alleviate or prevent the problem, do the following:
Do not wait too long to urinate (5 hours or more). Go even though you don’t have to go! Remember, urination flushes out bacteria.
Drink more water to dilute your urine. Do not drink sodas: they dehydrate, making your urine more concentrate.
According to a study by Harvard Medical School, cranberry juice is effective in preventing infections in the urethra.
Always urinate after sex to flush out bacteria.
Always shower instead of bathing in a tub to avoid infection.
Always wear cotton, not nylon, underwear: nylon restricts airflow and traps body’s moisture.
Incontinence is bladder leakage, which is inevitable as you age.
There are three types of incontinence:
Overflow incontinence occurs as soon as you feel the urge to urinate, even though you may not feel the urge for some time (often a result of holding too long).
Stress incontinence may begin to occur around age 30 to 40 (often a result of childbirth or pregnancy) when you cough, laugh, or lift a heavy object.
Overflow incontinence may occur to a diabetic individual even though there is no urge to urinate
Incontinence may be due to the following:
Drugs, especially diuretics (water pills)
Alcohol, coffee, tea, and sodas; chocolate
Smoking (weakening of pelvic floor muscles from too much coughing-typical of a chain smoker)
Prevention is always better than cure. If you are at high risk for breast cancer, consider the following:
Consume a vegetarian diet, or at least a low-fat diet.
Avoid milk, which has growth factors, more potent stimulators for cancer cell growth than estrogen. Some women have particularly low levels of enzymes to eliminate galactose, which is toxic to the ovaries. Galactose, which comes from the milk sugar, not the milk fat, and which is present in yogurt, cream, cheese, skim milk and all dairy products, may promote uterus and ovary cancers.
Avoid alcohol-according to studies, one drink a day can increase breast cancer risk by as much as 50 percent.
Have second thoughts about an estrogen replacement therapy.
Breast cancer can also be attributed to the following:
Radiation from electronic devices (e.g. cell phones) and proximity to power station
Hysterectomy is a surgery performed to remove the uterus. According to Dr. Herbert A. Goldfarb, M.D. of New York University School of Medicine in New York City, 80 percent of hysterectomies performed other than because of cancer may not be necessary.
Hysterectomies are generally performed under the following circumstances:
To remove cancerous tumors
To eliminate fibroids (estrogen-dependent growths)
To treat endometriosis (growth beyond or outside the uterus)
To correct a droopy uterus due to several pregnancies
To deal with obstetric problems and complications, such as excessive bleeding between periods
At age 35, a woman’s ovary begins to reduce its production of estrogen (female hormones) until three to five years after menopause. Estrogen softens your skin, lubricates your vagina, strengthens your bones, and protects your heart.
Avoid fat completely: animal products (fish, poultry, meats, and dairy products); added oils (salad dressings) and all cooking oils (learn to steam your food without oil); fatty foods (doughnuts, French fries, potato chips).
Eating a plant-based diet not only eliminates the elevation of estrogen levels, but also helps your body get rid of excess estrogens through the fiber in the plants.
Eat plenty of whole grains (brown rice, whole grain bread, oatmeal), vegetables (broccoli, Brussels sprouts, carrots, spinach, sweet potatoes), and legumes (beans, peas, lentils).
Maintain your calcium balance to reduce both menstrual pain and PMS. Research showed that calcium carbonate supplements (1,000 mg daily) reduce both pain and PMS symptoms. Reduce your calcium loss due to excessive animal proteins, smoking, physical inactivity, too much caffeine from coffee drinking, and absence of vitamin D (from sunlight) Calcium can enhance the production of neurotransmitters to avoid depression.
Exercise on a regular basis may help prevent PMS, because regular exercising boosts endorphins (the body’s natural painkillers) to avoid cramps and pain associated with PMS.
Use B vitamins to boost your resistance to pain and to enhance estrogen removal from the liver.
Communicate with your partner about the onset of your PMS to avert any problems that may aggravate your symptoms.
High doses of estrogen (the female sex hormone) may suppress your immune system. Menopause lowers the risk of breast, uterine, and ovarian cancers due to the reduction of estrogen level. However, it may lead to weight gain or obesity, which can convert other hormones and steroids into estrogen. Therefore, overweight women are more at risk for breast and other cancers after menopause than thinner women.
Also, before menopause, women have lower cholesterol level than men, but during and after menopause, their cholesterol level may dramatically elevate.
A woman’s estrogen level may decline by as much as 30 percent during the first ten years of menopause. Loss of estrogen increases the risk for osteoporosis in women, resulting in the characteristic stooped "widow’s hump” posture.
Virtually all women going through menopause agree that getting the right information, the right facts, uncovering the truth about menopause at the right time is invaluable.
Osteoporosis is more common in women than in men. Osteoporosis is due to the following:
Lower than normal testosterone level
Steroid medications, such as prednisone
A research report from the Harvard Nurses’ Health Study showed that women who drink more milk might have a higher risk of osteoporosis. The explanation for the contradiction is that individuals who consume dairy products may also get animal proteins, lactose sugar, and animal growth factors (helping a calf grow rapidly)-which leech the calcium from the body.
Prevent overly rapid calcium by avoiding the following:
Avoid animal protein as much as possible in your diet.
Avoid sodium, which encourages calcium to pass through the kidneys.
Avoid coffee’s caffeine diuretic effect, which increases the loss of water with calcium through the kidneys.
Avoid smoking, which induces the loss of calcium.
Avoid inactivity. Exercise helps you retain the calcium in your body.
If you are a woman after 50, your doctor may recommend estrogen supplements after menopause to slow down osteoporosis.
The Harvard Nurses’ Health Study showed that women have 30 to 80 percent more breast cancer taking estrogens than those without. Estrogen supplements have their pros and cons.
Copyright© by Stephen Lau