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#GatekeepersofMen

Episode 15

How a urologist can help men live LONGER…

Helping men live LONGER and BETTER…

A male’s life expectancy 

Every day I see men of all ages who come into our office concerned about their erections.   These range from men in their early 20s to those in their late 80s.  But what they do not know is that in many occasions, their sexual or reproductive concerns can be the effect or aftermath of something far more serious.   In our last post we discussed the relationship between erectile dysfunction and heart disease.  Today, we will dive in deeper and discuss how a we, as a men’s health specialist, can help men live longer.

Middle aged couple riding bikes

 

June is the official month for Men’s Health!

This week the European Urology Focus journal published a scientific article that immediately caught my attention.  The title was “Male Sexual and Reproductive Health – Does the urologist have a role in addressing inequality in life expectancy?”. [1]  We all know life expectancy for men is less (70.5 years) when compared with women (75.6 years).   This study aimed to evaluate the association between male sexual and reproductive health-related diseases and life expectancy.  In other words, if there is a correlation between these two, then a urologist (the physician who focuses in male sexual and reproductive health) can play a vital role to improve life expectancy for men. So… if you are wondering what research has shown are the leading causes of death in men, here you go:

Main contributors of Death in Men

  1. Cardiovascular disease (CVD)
  2. Cancer
  3. Diabetes
  4. Respiratory disease
  5. Injuries (Trauma)

Studies indicate men have higher premature death rates from CVD because they tend to have higher rates of all major risk factors.  These risk factors include high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, high cholesterol and smoking.   The number one cause of respiratory disease in men is smoking.  Research has shown that men start to smoke earlier than women and smoke more cigarettes per day than women. [2] Smoking can also lead to CVD, cancer and erectile dysfunction.

Think about it.   All these can be prevented!

If you exercise regularly, eat a healthy diet and control your blood pressure and cholesterol levels, you can prevent or at least delay heart disease and diabetes.  

How can we screen for CVD?

A urologist regularly evaluates men with erectile dysfunction and, as discussed in our previous post, erectile dysfunction can be a sign of CVD.  Simple screening tools for CVD include measuring your blood pressure and obtaining blood work. Important labs are a lipid profile to check your cholesterol and triglyceride levels,  and a hemoglobin A1c to screen for diabetes.  

Low Testosterone: Helping men live longer

There is a strong connection between testosterone deficiency and diabetes. The American Diabetes Standards of Care recommend to check testosterone levels in every man with diabetes and decreased sexual drive (libido) or erectile dysfunction. Even more, research shows that testosterone can improve overall health and hence, help men live a longer healthier life.  Testosterone, when used appropriately, can offer MAJOR health benefits for men.    Even though there is still a controversy between testosterone replacement therapy and cardiovascular safety, most research studies and experts believe that testosterone treatment is SAFE when managed adequately.

Prostate Cancer and Survivorship

The most common cancer in men (second to skin cancer) is prostate cancer.  Given African-American and Hispanic men are more likely to not only be diagnosed with prostate cancer, but die from it, we strongly encourage prostate cancer screening.  Also, even though there is no conclusive evidence that any single diet will protect men from acquiring prostate cancer, a study published in the World Journal of Urology in 2017 reported that physical activity, controlled body weight and a diet rich in vegetables can reduce the risk of prostate cancer progression.  Therefore, we encourage men diagnosed with prostate cancer to aim to improve their diet and increased their physical activity. 

We need to remember that prostate cancer therapies have increased cure rates and overall survival. When detected early, prostate cancer is CURABLE! Surgery and radiation can cure early stages of prostate cancer.   If you survived prostate cancer and now suffer from erectile dysfunction, low testosterone symptoms, urinary incontinence or changes in orgasm, an urologist specialized in sexual health is primed to help you.

In Conclusion…

Many men who come to see me haven’t even seen their primary care doctors in years.  As a urologist and Gatekeeper of Men  I pledge to help screen men to improve not only their sexual and reproductive lives but their OVERALL health. I encourage EVERYONE reading this to visit their primary care doctors and visit your local urologist. We can help and are here to serve you!

 


This article was authored by Dr. Jonathan Clavell. Dr. Clavell is an urologist who specializes in men’s sexual health including erectile dysfunction, low testosterone, Peyronie’s Disease and BPH.  

Why Gatekeepers of Men? 

1.     Tharakan T, et al. Male Sexual and Reproductive Health – Does the Urologist Have a Role in Addressing Genter Inequality in Life Expectancy? European Urology Focus 2020; 6(4): 791-800.

2.     The WHO regional Office of Europe. The heatlh and well-being of men in the WHO European region: better health through a gender approach. 2018 www.euro.who.int.

3.     Peisch SF, et al. Prostate cancer progression and mortality: a review of diet and lifestyle factors. World J Urol 2017;35: 867-74.

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