Men are often less attentive to their health than women. It is common for wives to make doctor’s appointments for their husbands. Proper care is important, however, since a lot can be done to prevent, ameliorate and reverse disease. We encourage men to pursue regular physical examination with proper laboratory testing, as indicated by lifestyle, past history and family history.
Cardiac disease occurs at an earlier age in men than in women. Good physical conditioning is protective, but does not wholly eliminate the possibility of cardiovascular disease. Especially when there is a family history of early disease, screening should include laboratory assessment of cholesterol profile, homocysteine, C-reactive protein (CRP), hemoglobin A1C. Stress testing should be performed, either a routine treadmill study, echo stress test, or cardiolite stress test. The echo stress test can reveal evidence of regional wall disease, or weakness in a particular area of the heart. The cardiolite study reveals regions of the heart where circulation is impaired.
We often suggest rapid C-T scanning of the heart for measurement of the coronary calcium score. Elevated calcium score is a marker for arteriosclerosis even in the absence of any symptoms, and may be the first evidence that a problems exists. It indicates a need to address risk factors and make lifestyle modifications, often years before symptomatic illness occurs. Rapid C-T scanning is also a good screening test for disease in various organs, including cancer. Several patients in our practice have been diagnosed with cancer solely on the basis of this study.
Prostate problems come to the forefront as men get older. Urinary frequency and urgency, nighttime urination, reduced stream, and urine leakage can be very bothersome. Herbal therapies may be beneficial. Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men next to skin cancer. Several tests are available to determine when prostate cancer is likely to be present. Other studies help to decide on the best therapy, and whether therapy may be deferred and the patient simply observed. Specific nutrients, such as vitamin D, lycopene, and indole-3-carbinol, may be useful both in prevention and management of prostate cancer. We can advise on the relative benefits and disadvantages of surgery versus radiation therapy versus hormone manipulation in specific cases.
Impaired erectile function and lowered libido are age, health, hormone and medication related. It is yet possible for a man to enjoy sexual functioning into his eighties and perhaps longer. Hormone replacement therapy with testosterone and DHEA are useful yet must be carefully employed because of potential side effects. Testosterone may be supplied as a transdermal cream or gel, sublingual drop, weekly injection, or as a small testosterone pellet implanted under the skin of the buttock once every 4-6 months. Many medications, especially blood pressure and anti-depressant drugs, adversely affect sexual function. We may be able to reduce the dosage, provide replacement medications, or eliminate the need for these medications.
What Else Can We Do?
Intravenous nutrient therapies, oral supplements, external counterpulsation therapy, may all be valuable approaches. We have protocols for improving strength, endurance, sense of well-being, and general health. One therapy called the P-K protocol. An infusion of phosphatidylcholine, folinic acid, and glutathione, sometimes followed by phenylbutyrate, this protocol has resulted in improvements in patients with neurologic disorders and liver disease. Major autohemotransfusion (MAH) utilizes intravenous ozone to fight infection, chronic fatigue, and inflammatory conditions.
It is often not appreciated that osteoporosis occurs in men as well as women. Testing via dexa bone density should be performed in all men over 65, and sooner in those who are physically inactive, sustain hip or spine fractures, or have been treated with steroids. Osteoporotic fractures are preventable, because osteoporosis is remediable. Supplements that raise bone density include magnesium, calcium, vitamin D, strontium, vitamin K, boron, silicon, and green tea. Exercise and dietary changes, especially exclusion of alcohol and cigarettes, support bone density. Testosterone, human growth hormone and DHEA all work to increase bone density. We are expert in employing those hormones. Dexa bone density should be repeated after one year. We may recommend prescription medication if bone density has failed to respond in that time.
Although we see patients in consultation, often for second opinions, and specialize in holistic and alternative approaches to complicated medical problems, we still offer on-going, follow-up medical care. It is our desire to follow patients over time, not to dismiss them after one or two visits, and to continue to provide guidance, especially since new therapies are constantly being developed.