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Avoid Prostate Cancer by Preventative Measures

Men fear prostate cancer, but most don’t even know what the prostate is, what it does or know how to prevent cancer. Over 200,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer every year and over 20,000 die from it. Some men will never be diagnosed with the cancer, but maladies concerning the gland could cause problems and sometimes affect quality of life.

If you’re a man over 50 years of age, it’s important for you to know about the prostate and some of the situations that could affect your life and your health. Number one on the list of things you should know is that if you’re over 40 years of age, you should have the prostate checked on a yearly basis.

Some symptoms that indicate there might be a problem with the prostate gland include frequent urination, sexual difficulties, low sperm count or blood in the urine or ejaculate. Certain conditions, such as Prostatitis may also cause fever, chills, aching muscles or back, painful urination and extreme fatigue.

Prostatitis is the most common form of prostate problem. There are three types of prostatitis – bacterial, nonbacterial and prostatodynia, but all can usually be diagnosed quickly and treated with antibiotics and anti-inflammatory drugs. Prostatitius doesn’t mean that you’ll develop cancer, and it’s not considered to be a serious illness, but if it persists, surgery is sometimes recommended.

Some of the above symptoms for Prostatitis may also occur as symptoms for prostate cancer. It might also be accompanied by swelling in the legs, pelvic discomfort and severe bone or joint pain. Besides regular screening and immediately consulting your doctor if you have any signs that concern you, living a healthy lifestyle is crucial to preventing prostate cancer.

A diet high in fiber isn’t only healthy for your digestive system – it’s also great for the prostate. Basically, if you enjoy a healthy diet that is mostly plant-based and includes fruits, vegetables and whole grains, you may reduce the risk of any type of cancer and other diseases such as heart and colon problems.

Some medical studies have shown that certain components in plant-based foods that contain flavonoids and lycopene might help prevent cancer. Other studies show that it has no effect. But, considering the enormous benefits to eating foods such as tomatoes (high in lycopene) and fruits and vegetables high in flavonoids, it won’t hurt to include them in a cancer-preventative diet.

Obesity also increases the risk of developing prostate cancer – and many other health problems, so a healthy diet is a way to keep many problems at bay, especially for the over “50” set. Lose a few (or many) pounds by adopting a diet plan that includes fruits, vegetables and whole grains – it’s a win-win situation.

And, always drink plenty of water. Water flushes harmful toxins from your body, and everything you can do to get rid of bacteria and keep the bladder and urine clear is a positive step to keep from developing prostate cancer.

Are You a Prime Candidate for Skin Cancer?

Your skin type is the best barometer of whether or not you may be susceptible to skin cancer. People who are light-skinned are more likely to get sunburned and run the risk of developing skin cancer, specifically melanoma. But, tanning also causes skin damage and can increase your risks of the disease.

There are basically six types of skin types. You can predict how susceptible to skin cancer you are by identifying your type of skin you have:

  1. Very light-skinned – You never get a tan, but always get sunburned when you spend any amount of time in the sun. If you’re type 1, you’re at extremely high risk for melanoma (a deadly skin cancer) or other cancers such as basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas.
  2. Fair-skinned – You can manage to tan, but it’s difficult – and a sunburn is much more likely. You should wear sunscreen with a high SPF and check yourself periodically to make sure you’re not burning.
  3. Medium-skinned – You can tan or burn easily in the sun and are susceptible to skin damage and skin cancers. Wear a sunscreen when outside and get an annual physical checkup to be sure you have no worrisome growths.
  4. Darker skin — If you tan easily and not likely to burn, you’re probably a type 4 skin type. You should still wear a sunscreen and check yourself for suspicious growths.
  5. Dark skin — You tan very easily and seldom burn. A very serious form of melanoma – acral lentiginous – is common among those with darker skin and those who tan easily, so again, check yourself for growths.
  6. Very dark skin – You may not burn, but you’re still at risk for skin cancer and you should definitely wear a sunscreen. Some melanomas often appear on the lighter skinned areas of soles of feet and palms, so check those areas for growths.

Don’t forget about your eyes when you seek protection from the sun. Wear glasses that protect you from the UV rays of the sun. Keep in mind that there are also medications that can increase your risk for skin cancer. Any medicines that lower your immunity to diseases and drugs such as birth control pills, certain antibiotics, tricyclic antidepressants, diuretics, some anti-inflammatory medications and tetracycline or sulfa drugs can increase the risk.

Also, check your skin. If you have irregular or large moles – or many moles, check with your doctor to see if any are suspicious. If you were treated for skin cancer in the past, be sure and get regular checkups to see if it’s returned. Those with freckles may also be at risk.

People who live at high altitudes receive more UV radiation and may be more at risk, as do those who live or spend a great deal of time in tropical or subtropical zones. Avid gardeners and swimmers may have more sun damage –and check to see if your family has a history of cancers – especially skin cancer.

Caution is wise when dealing with skin cancer, so check out your skin type, history, medications or medical conditions to see if you’re at risk – and always wear sunscreen.

Aging Gracefully – With Exercise

There are many reasons that senior citizens should exercise on a regular basis, but the main one is that it helps to increase your overall health and ward off life-threatening diseases – especially those associated with aging. Simply put – exercising helps us age more gracefully.

Almost everyone knows the sort of problems we face when aging – slower metabolism, bone loss and stiffness in joints, muscle loss, balance problems, less endurance and heart and lung problems. We all want a quick fix to aging, such as injections and facelifts or a pill we can take to halt or reduce the aging process. But, in reality, regular exercise is the only thing we can do for ourselves that will increase our overall health and well-being.

Exercise can help us maintain the ability to do things we love and to accomplish everyday tasks that we need to do rather than depending on someone else. Even if you’re a very out of shape senior citizen, there are simple exercises you can do that will make you feel better and enjoy your life.

Stretching is simple to do (you can even stretch while sitting) and can make remarkable strides in improving your joints and muscles. You can find online stretching exercises, choose from the many television shows that promote exercising or get a book from the library or bookstore. You’ll want to be sure to choose exercises that stretch your back, arms, calves, thighs, stomach and chest – but don’t overdo it. Stretch for 5 to 20 minutes per day or whatever you feel up to.

Any activity that increases your endurance is great for senior citizens. Those exercises might include gardening, biking, swimming or simply walking the dog. Try to increase your breathing and heart rate, but don’t exercise so strenuously that you lose your ability to talk. Take it easy and you’ll benefit more than you realize.

Strength exercises are very important to engage in as you age. The more you can strengthen your muscles, the better able you’ll be to increase your metabolism (maintain a normal weight) and keep your blood sugar at normal levels. Strength exercises can be in the form of machines at a gym or fitness center – or, you can even use items around the house, such as books and cans of food.

Exercises designed to strengthen your back should be an important part of your exercise program. Back pain can be excruciating and life-changing and is common in senior citizens. Ask your doctor for a list of exercises you can do to strengthen back muscles or research on your own to find some that are right for you.

One of the worst maladies that can affect senior citizens is balance problems. Aging can cause loss of balance, but so can certain medications. There are exercises to specifically build your leg muscles and increase your perception of balance so that you’re less likely to fall. Keep in mind that in the United States, hospitals admit over 400,000 people per year for broken hips – and most are senior citizens.

Can You Reverse Hearing Loss?

Unfortunately, hearing loss can’t be reversed, but you can boost your hearing with special aids or treatments. Hearing loss due to aging is common and it’s believed that heredity and a constant dose of loud noises are also causes. Blockages, cause by earwax can cause a certain amount of hearing loss that prevents you from hearing sounds. Ear infections and bone growth or tumors that affect the middle or outer ear can also cause hearing loss.

You’re able to hear noises when the nerve cells in the inner ear part of the cochlea sends sound signals to the brain and lose the ability to hear as earwax build up or hairs and nerve cells in the cochlea are damaged. Signs of hearing loss include muted speech or sounds, constantly turning up the volume of the radio or television, not hearing conversations clearly so that you don’t join in and avoiding social activities because of hearing problems.

Your quality of life can be greatly affected by hearing loss. Anxiety and depression can occur as well as frustration over not being able to hear conversations. Senior citizens may experience problems for years before seeking treatment and those who are close to them may begin withdrawing or at the very least become frustrated by the hearing loss predicament.

When you do seek treatment for hearing loss, your primary doctor will likely send you to a hearing specialist – an audiologist. The audiologist will evaluate your hearing loss based on what you tell her, so be sure you write down symptoms that you’re experiencing and ask friends and family about changes they’ve noticed that could possibly be attributed to hearing loss.

Jot down a brief history that includes jobs you may have had that surrounded you with loud noises, family history of hearing loss and medical information that lists medications, vitamins and supplements or any diseases you may have experienced – even if you think they don’t have anything to do with the problem. Also write any questions that you have for the doctor, including which tests she recommends.

Questions that your doctor may have for you to help her better understand the cause(s) of your hearing loss include, a description of your symptoms and how rapidly they’ve come on, if there’s any ringing or similar sounds in your ears, whether or not you’re experiencing pain, your history of ear problems including infections, ear surgery or any other medical problems that may have affected your ears.

Treatments for hearing loss have improved greatly over the past few years. You may be able to wear a hearing device that is minimally noticeable and that you barely know is there. Once you seek treatment for hearing loss and regain at least a part of your hearing, your self-esteem will probably return as will your relationships with others. Your entire lifestyle will be much brighter and improved.