LINTHICUM, MD, January 1, 2009–Already having a hard time sticking to your New Year’s resolutions? The American Urological Association (AUA) can provide some much-needed motivation: many popular New Year’s resolutions can actually improve your urologic or sexual health.
Resolution #1: Lose Weight
Losing weight may help resolve erectile dysfunction in obese men, according to research presented at the 2008 Annual Scientific Meeting of the AUA. Morbid obesity—as well as other conditions such as diabetes, hypertension and smoking—can impact sexual dysfunction. In this study from researchers in Boston and Philadelphia, sexual function was restored in men who underwent gastric bypass surgery for weight loss.
“This study showed that weight loss and other risk factors for ED that are alleviated by weight loss may be keys to restoring sexual function,” said Anthony Y. Smith, MD. “These results give men another reason to improve their health by losing weight.”
Resolution #2: Quit Smoking
Smoking causes bladder cancer. But, only about 33 percent of people know that smoking is a leading risk factor for the disease, according to a study recently published in The Journal of Urology®, the official journal of the AUA.
Bladder cancer is the fourth most common type of cancer in men, and the eighth most common in women. About 53,000 men and woman are diagnosed with bladder cancer each year, and about 14,000 die annually of the disease. The American Cancer Society estimates that smokers are twice as likely to get bladder cancer as nonsmokers. Quit smoking to decrease your risk for bladder cancer.
Resolution #3: Lower Cholesterol
High cholesterol is a leading cause of heart disease – the number one killer of both men and women. For men, managing your cholesterol may also help you manage your prostate-specific antigen (PSA) level. A study of 1,214 men without prostate cancer at the Durham Veterans Affairs Medical Center in North Carolina shows that PSA levels were lower among men with lower total and LDL cholesterol levels. Moreover, among men with prostate cancer, poor cholesterol management was associated with increased risk of biochemical recurrence after prostatectomy, according to new data from the Duke Prostate Center at Duke University.
“We don’t understand exactly how cholesterol affects prostate health,” said Stephen J. Freedland, MD. “But, we are finding that that there is an important link. Thus, managing your cholesterol level may not only reduce the risk of heart disease, but improve prostate health.”
Resolution #4: Reduce Stress
Stress can contribute to erectile dysfunction (ED), the inability to achieve or maintain an erection. While an occasional problem isn’t necessarily a cause for alarm, experts caution that men should see a doctor if the problem persists. Studies show that about one half of American men over age 50 have some degree of ED.
Most cases of ED (about 75 percent) have an underlying physical cause, including serious medical conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes mellitus or high cholesterol levels. ED can be an early warning sign of one of these more serious diseases. Diagnosing and treating the condition that is causing your ED, whether it is stress or a more serious physical cause, can improve your overall well being, as well as help restore your sexual health.
It’s clear that improving your overall health will lead to improved sexual and urologic health. In fact, urologic health conditions often indicate the presence of other health problems, including cardiovascular disease and metabolic syndrome. If you are experiencing a urologic health condition, put “visiting the doctor” at the top of your list of New Year’s resolutions. Or, if you are looking for another resolution, add “getting a prostate exam” to your list.
Throughout the year, the AUA can provide information, statistics and expert commentary on subjects related to sexual and urologic health. Please contact Lacey Dean at 410-689-4054 to schedule an interview with an expert urologist.
About the American Urological Association: Founded in 1902 and headquartered near Baltimore, Maryland, the American Urological Association is the pre-eminent professional organization for urologists, with more than 16,000 members throughout the world. An educational nonprofit organization, the AUA pursues its mission of fostering the highest standards of urologic care by carrying out a wide variety of programs for members and their patients.
Lacey Dean, AUA