All posts filed under “Men’s Health

Mosquito-borne viral disease in the U.S.
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Mosquito-borne viral disease in the U.S.

Most people are aware of the spread of the mosquito-borne viral disease, Zika, in many countries in South and Central America.  Worldwide, the most important disease transmitted by mosquitos is malaria.  Instead of being caused by a virus, however, malaria is caused by a parasite that infects the Anopheles mosquito. The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that 214 million cases of malaria occurred in 2015 with 438,000 deaths attributed to the disease.  The disease is passed on from a malaria-infected person to the next person via the mosquito bite.

The most common mosquito-borne viral disease globally is Dengue fever.  In 2015, nearly 2.4 million cases of this viral illness were reported by the WHO.  Both of these infections occur more commonly in tropical regions of the world. In the U.S., we are fortunate that local exposure to malaria has essentially been eliminated, and with the exception of a few cases affecting U.S. citizens living in topical settings such as Hawaii and Puerto Rico, nearly all dengue cases reported in the U.S. are acquired elsewhere by travelers or immigrants.

As of July 13th of this year, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that there have been no locally acquired cases of Zika virus disease in the U.S. There have been, however, 1,305 travel-associated cases of this disease reported by the CDC in the U.S. since January 1, 2015. Infection with the Zika virus is usually quite mild.  A serious concern, however, is the link between a Zika virus infection in a pregnant woman and the development of microcephaly in newborns, a congenital defect of cranium and brain size resulting in profound neurological defects.

The most prevalent mosquito-borne diseases that develop from mosquito bites occurring in the U.S. include West Nile virus disease, Eastern Equine Encephalitis, Japanese encephalitis, and St. Louis encephalitis.

West Nile Virus Disease (WNVD) is primarily spread by the bite of a mosquito that has fed on an infected bird.  Over 300 species of birds have been found to be infected with the West Nile virus including common songbirds, crows, blackbirds, blue jays, doves, and pigeons.  Once a bird becomes infected, a mosquito can then transfer the virus from the bird’s blood stream to humans, setting the stage for the infection.  In a very small number of cases, WNV also has been spread through blood transfusions, organ transplants, breastfeeding and even during pregnancy from mother to baby.  After reaching a peak at 9862 cases in 2003, the CDC reports that the number of cases appears to be decreasing.   Most people infected with West Nile virus will not have any symptoms. About 1 in 5 people who are infected will develop a fever and other symptoms. Less than 1% of those infected develop a serious, sometimes fatal, neurologic illness.

Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) Most persons infected with the eastern equine encephalitis virus have no apparent illness with an average of 8 people per year developing a severe form involving inflammation of the brain (encephalitis).  Most cases have occurred in the Atlantic and Gulf Coast states.  Symptoms of EEE begin with the sudden onset of headache, high fever, chills, and vomiting. The illness may then progress into disorientation, seizures, or coma. EEE is one of the most severe mosquito-transmitted diseases in the United States with an approximately 33% mortality rate.

La Crosse encephalitis (LACV) causes inflammation of the brain (encephaltitis) in approximately 80 to 100 people in the U.S. each year. Most LACV infections, however, are much less severe.  Most cases of this disease have been reported from upper Midwestern, mid-Atlantic and southeastern states. Like the other illnesses being discussed, the risk for developing LACV is highest for people who live, work or recreate in woodland habitats, because of greater exposure to potentially infected mosquitoes.

St. Louis encephalitis virus infection primarily affects individuals living in eastern and central U.S. As with the other viral infections discussed, most people infected with this virus have no apparent illness. Severe neurological disease (often involving encephalitis, an inflammation of the brain) occurs more commonly in older adults. In rare cases, long-term disability or death can result. There is no specific treatment for SLEV infection; care is based on symptoms.

From the descriptions of these mosquito-borne viral illnesses affecting U.S. residents, several similarities become apparent:

  • Most people have no symptoms or are only mildly symptomatic.
  • When symptoms do occur they are often similar in nature with headache, fever, chills, nausea, vomiting predominating.
  • A very small percentage of those infected will develop a more severe form of the disease, usually resulting in a brain infection (encephalitis) which is sometimes fatal.
  • There is no specific treatment available for these infections.  Severe illnesses are treated by supportive therapy which may include hospitalization, respiratory support, IV fluids, and prevention of other infections.
  • With the exception of a vaccine against the Japanese encephalitis virus (not typically given in the U.S.), immunizations are not available for these viral diseases.
  • Prevention measures for these illnesses center around avoiding mosquito bites
    • When outdoors, use an insect repellent that contains an EPA-approved active ingredient such as DEET, Picaridin, IR3535, and Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus.
    • Since mosquitoes are most active at dusk and dawn, along with using a repellent, consider wearing long sleeves and pants during these times.
    • Be sure that your window and door screens are intact.
    • Remove sources of standing water around the home that serve as mosquito breeding sites.

Sources for article:

West Nile Virus from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Eastern Equine Encephalitis from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Saint Louis Encephalitis from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

La Crosse Encephalitis from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
If you have any questions about Mosquito-borne Viral Disease , leave a comment below or log into your myModa account and send eDoc your question. We are here to help.

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Summer Jog
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Exercise triggers brain cell growth and improves memory

Recent studies by the National Institute on Aging (NIA) shed new light on a link between exercise and memory. By exercising regularly, you can increase your ability to retain learned and new information. Scientists examined the muscles during exercise to determine which proteins are released. The studies revealed that a protein called cathepsin B is released during aerobic exercise. The protein travels to the brain after being released. Cathepsin B triggers new brain cell growth, scientists believe this is key in the link between memory and exercise.

Researchers discovered an increase in the protein cathepsin B when examining mice who regularly ran on exercise wheels. The mice who exercised produced greater amounts of the protein than the mice that did not exercise. Further, mice that released cathepsin B displayed better results in memory tests than the mice that did not.

Dr. Henriette van Praag, a neuroscientist at the NIA states, “Overall, the message is that a consistently healthy lifestyle pays off.” In humans, the release of cathepsin B is also triggered by exercise. This means that simply increasing physical activity can aid in an individual’s ability to perform better on complex tasks and memory retention.

To read the full article click here

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A mother and child fast asleep.
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The connection between sleep and sickness

Sleep leading to sickness

Recent studies have confirmed what most people kind of already knew; sleep is good for you. Too little sleep can be directly related to cardiovascular, endocrine, and immune function as well as a lot of other health issues related to a lack of sleep. In a long term sleep study, over 22,000 participants reported their sleeping patterns in parallel with their health from 2005 to 2012. This study found that getting six or less hours of sleep per day had a direct correlation with experiencing sickness of flu-like symptoms and that the more sleep people got, the less they faced these negative health outcomes.

Sleep should be on the agenda

A lack of sleep isn’t just important to bodily functions, it also sets the tone for the rest of the day and many people don’t realize how much sleep may determine their plans and activities. As mentioned earlier sleep can cause a plethora of negative health issues but even more so is the lifestyle that usually comes with not sleeping enough. Turns out, short sleepers are also more likely to have negative health behaviors like not exercising and poor nutrition which in the long run can be detrimental to health. Creating good sleeping habits can translate into other positive health behaviors because of the increased energy and productivity that accompanies being well-rested.

Sleep is serious business

An interesting point Dr. Sanjay R. Patel of the Center for Sleep and Cardiovascular Outcomes at the University of Pittsburgh makes is that “society does not stigmatize the person getting in their car and driving after only four hours of sleep the way it does the person driving after drinking, even though the risk to others on the road may be the same.” Meaning that a lack of sleep can be just as detrimental to motor function and cognitive skills as drinking, but is largely overlooked and the seriousness of the matter is rarely emphasized. He goes more in depth about just how neglected the science of sleep is by mentioning how little physicians usually discuss sleep with their patients due to the lack of training and attention given to sleep in medical school.

While sleep may still be a little bit of a mystery it is clear that adequate sleep is closely related to good health. Not getting enough sleep is not only bad for the body, but also makes it harder to create and sustain other healthy habits, so get those Z’s!

For the full article, click here.

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Sprinkler
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Fun in the sun

Windows down and music up, there is nothing like cruising around on a sunny day. Unfortunately, there is also nothing like the feeling of the summers first sunburn. As the sun starts to shine through don’t forget to take proper care of your skin. A sunburn is more than just a change in skin color. When viewed under a microscope, visible damage to the cells and blood vessels can be seen.  This is true whether the burn turns in to a tan or you peel.

Today, skin cancer is the most common of all cancers. Constant sun exposure without proper protection greatly increases your chances of developing skin cancer over time.

What benefits does the sun have?

Exposure to sunlight increases the body’s vitamin D production. This is important because vitamin D is not found naturally in most foods.  However, as food production methods have changed, vitamin D found in the foods you eat has increased. Many foods are now fortified with enough vitamin D to help you sustain proper levels. That being said, barbecuing with family, playing a sport or hiking in the sun, is still better for you than watching television inside. Don’t forget that you can still protect your skin while enjoying your time in the sun.

How to limit the harmful effects of sunlight

Of course, staying out of the sun is the best way to stay protected, but who doesn’t want to enjoy the sun when it makes an appearance? Try to take the following steps when exposed to sunlight to keep your skin healthy and looking its best:

  • Don’t leave the house without wearing sunscreen. Apply it every day and make sure it’s a habit, just like brushing your teeth!
  • Between the hours of 10am and 3pm be extra cautious; avoid the sun when you can, and apply sunscreen every two hours or after swimming, getting wet or sweating. (Ultraviolet rays are strongest between 10am and 3pm).
  • Long sleeves and slacks help protect from the sun, especially when in the sun for long periods of time.
  • Don’t forget your shades! Wear sunglasses that can filter UV light.

Three little letters; SPF

Everyone has seen them, but what does it really mean? SPF stands for sun protection factor. The greater the SPF number, the greater protection one will get from UVB rays (the burning rays). Choose an SPF that is 30 or higher no matter your complexion. If you have had skin cancer or precancer, it is recommended to increase the SPF to 45 or higher.

Sunscreen is important for everyone, regardless of age, sex, complexion or profession. Protection from the sun and the damage harmful rays can do to your skin makes applying sunscreen very important; whether or not you burn. Remember to check the label in order to determine the proper amount to apply.

See the full article here

 

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diabetes
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Type 1 and type 2 diabetes – what’s the difference?

Diabetes occurs in two forms: type 1 and type 2. Type 1 usually develops at a young age. It’s caused by a damaged pancreas that produces very little or no insulin – the hormone your body needs to carry glucose to your cells. Only about 5 percent of people with diabetes have type 1.

Type 2 diabetes is often diagnosed later in life. With this type, it becomes harder and harder for your body to use the insulin it produces. Type 2 is much more common than type 1 – at least 90 percent of people with diabetes have this form.

Prevention and treatment

Type 1 diabetes can’t be prevented or cured. Genetics most likely play a role – its onset has nothing to do with diet or lifestyle. People with type 1 diabetes need to take insulin and follow other measures to manager their blood sugar.

On the other hand, type 2 diabetes can sometimes be prevented or delayed through a healthy diet, regular exercise and maintaining a healthy weight. For some people with type 2, these practices may be enough to keep their blood sugar under control. Others may need to take medication or insulin.

Sources: American Diabetes Association

 

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Healthy Snack
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Five myths about colorectal cancer

March is colorectal cancer awareness month. It’s easy to forget which cause is associated with each color awareness ribbon . In fact, you may have never seen the blue awareness ribbon at all. The blue ribbon raises awareness and supports individuals with colorectal cancer.

blueribbon

Colorectal cancer is one of the most common cancers in men and women in the United States. Colorectal cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer related death in the United States. Even with thousands diagnosed, there are still a number of myths surrounding colorectal cancer. Test your knowledge with the 5 myths below.

Myth: Colorectal cancer is a man’s disease.

Truth: Women are almost as likely to be diagnosed with colorectal cancer as men. Each year approximately 71,000 men and 64,000 women are diagnosed.

 

Myth: Colorectal cancer cannot be prevented.

Truth: Colorectal cancer almost always begins with a small growth called a polyp. Early polyp detection and removal can help prevent colorectal cancer. Common detection tests include: colonoscopy, Flexible sigmoidoscopy, double-contrast barium enema, or CT colonography.

Other ways to lower your chances of getting colorectal cancer include:

  • Healthy weight can lower chances of colorectal cancer.
  • Engage in physical activities; Walk, hike, sports swim, etc.
  • Eat at least 2½ cups of vegetables and fruits each day.
  • Avoid refined grains. Choose grains that are whole wheat.
  • Limit your red meat and processed meat intake.
  • If you drink alcohol, limit the amount to 1 drink per day for women, 2 per day for men.
  • Avoid Tobacco use.

Myth: African Americans are not at risk for colorectal cancer.

Truth: In the US more African American men and women are diagnosed with colorectal cancer each year. At this time the cause is unknown.

 

Myth: Age doesn’t matter when it comes to getting colorectal cancer.

Truth: Colorectal cancer is more prominent in individuals over 50.

 

Myth: It’s better not to get tested for colorectal cancer because it’s deadly anyway.

Truth: Colorectal cancer is often treatable. However, only 4 in 10 people are diagnosed at an early stage when treatment is most effective.

So, remember the blue. To find out if you’re at an increased risk for colorectal cancer and what you can do to help decrease your chances of getting this disease, please read Colorectal Cancer Early Detection.

For the full article Visit: Five Myths About Colorectal Cancer

 

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Blazers Win!
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NBA Players Putting Their Hearts Into Medical Research

Despite the excellent shape of most NBA superstars, professional basketball players have the highest rate of sports related sudden cardiac death (SCD) in the United States. In fact, NBA players are close to 30 times more likely to die from SCD. Unfortunately, there is limited information on the structure and function of professional athlete’s hearts.  As a result Doctors and researchers have been unable to conclude why NBA players have greater risk. A new study from Columbia University Medical Center and lead researcher Dr. David Engel has examined over 500 current NBA players. This baseline data is just the start of research that will track the player’s heart structure and function through retirement.

The tallest current NBA player reaches a whopping 7 feet 3 inches! The league wide average is a height of 6 feet 7 inches and 222 pounds. There is no denying that these men are huge; but how do their hearts size up? The study revealed that the heart and Aorta size increase with the size of the athlete. This was expected. The researchers also found that the left ventricle, which pumps blood from the heart to the rest of the body, was larger than most adults. Further, the left ventricle was still proportional to the size of the athlete; however there were some noticeable differences.  The wall of the left ventricle was noticeably thicker among many athletes. This can be a sign of decreased heart function.

The research also established a correlation between the left ventricle thickening and ethnicity; as well as total heart mass and ethnicity. With the new data, the research team is able to consider possible treatment for some of the world’s biggest stars. However, at this time, researchers find it very challenging to link a specific physiological difference to an increased risk for SCD. Over the next few years, the research will continue, hopefully pinpointing the cause of increased SCD in NBA players.

For the full article, visit: https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/news/fullstory_157439.html

Source: Healthday. “NBA Players Putting Their Hearts Into Medical Research: MedlinePlus.” U.S National Library of Medicine. U.S. National Library of Medicine, 24 Feb. 2016. Web. 26 Feb. 2016.

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laughter
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Laughter just may be the best medicine for your heart

In recent years, studies have found a strong connection between our emotions and heart health. Research suggests that laughter can protect your heart by decreasing stress hormones, thereby reducing inflammation in your arteries. These changes appear similar to the benefits of aerobic exercise and cholesterol-lowering drugs.

In short, laughter is a powerful remedy for stress, pain and conflict. Nothing works faster than a good laugh to bring your mind and body back into balance.

Make it part of your everyday life

Make laughter one of your daily heart-healthy activities. It’s as important as being physically active and eating healthy foods. Here are some ideas:

  • Watch a funny movie or TV show.
  • Ready the funny pages.
  • Share a good joke or a funny story.
  • Play with a pet.
  • Goof around with your children.
  • Do something silly.
  • Seek out funny people.
  • Look for the humor in everyday situations.
  • Host a game night with friends.
  • Go to a comedy club.
  • Check out your bookstore’s humor section.
  • Plan fun activities, like bowling, miniature golf or karaoke.

By making humor a regular part of your life, you can have a big impact on your heart health.

Source:  U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

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heart health
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How to tell if it’s a heart attack

The most common signs of a heart attack are:

  • Pain or discomfort in the center of the chest – like pressure, squeezing, fullness, heartburn or indigestion.
  • Upper body pain or discomfort – in one or both arms, the back, shoulders, neck, jaw or upper stomach.
  • Shortness of breath – may be the only symptom.

Less typical symptoms include breaking out in a cold sweat, feeling unusually tired, nausea or vomiting, light-headedness or sudden dizziness.

Every minute counts

If you think you or another person might be having a heart attack, don’t ignore it or feel embarrassed. Call for help! Dial 9-1-1 even if you’re not sure the symptoms mean a heart attack. Here’s why:

  • Acting fast can save your or someone else’s life.
  • Ambulance personnel can start life-saving measures right away.
  • People who arrive at a hospital by ambulance often receive faster treatment.

If you can’t reach 9-1-1, have someone else drive you to the hospital right away. The sooner you get to the emergency room, the better your chance of survival. Prompt medical treatment can also reduce the damage to your heart.

Sources: Cleveland Clinic, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and National Library of Medicine  

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8750053212_ac815a0f16_k
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Things your dentist doesnt tell you

If you are an adult you don’t really want the tooth fairy to visit you. If you keep your mouth healthy today and you will be thanking yourself tomorrow. Poor oral health has been linked to chronic diseases including diabetes, stroke, and heart disease. Prevent teeth and mouth problems before they start. Below you will find information as well as tips and tricks on how to have a happy and healthy mouth.

  • Taking care of your oral health means brushing twice a day, flossing, and seeing a dentist regularly.
  • Good oral health can prevent bad breath, tooth decay and gum disease.
  • Chewing tobacco and cigarettes can cause serious mouth problems.
  • 500+ species of bacteria live in your mouth.
  • Those who have diabetes have an increased risk for gum disease.
  • Bacteria in the mouth can cause inflammation throughout the body.
  • Good oral health plays an important role in overall health.
  • Green tea has antiseptic properties that help keep gums healthier.
  • Without saliva you wouldn’t be able to taste anything.
  • Flossing is the most effective way to reduce plaque.
  • Good oral hygiene is essential during pregnancy.
  • You have taste buds on the insides of your cheeks, lips, under the tongue and roof of the mouth.
  • Tooth enamel is the hardest part of your entire body
  • You will spend 38.5 days brushing your teeth during your lifetime
  • Most common childhood disease is tooth decay.

The more you know about oral health the better you can take care of yourself.  Also if you have any health concerns regarding oral health it is best to get seen by a professional. January is a great time to start new beneficial habits, so let us know in the comments below how you plant to increase your oral health.

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