Category Archives: General Health and Wellness

Straight, No Chaser: Electrical Injuries and Lightning Strikes

Electricalinjurydanger

As I watch lightning lighting up the sky, it makes me wonder if anyone out there is unlucky enough to be getting struck. The annual probability of being struck by lightning is approximately 1 in 280,000, which is a lot more frequent than makes me comfortable. Today’s Straight, No Chaser addresses concerns and frequently asked questions on electrical injuries.

Why is getting shocked a big deal?

The human body conducts electricity very well, meaning when an external current is attached to us, it runs through the body with ease. This provides a lot of opportunity to cause damage. That damage in the wrong place can kill.

How does getting shocked cause damage?

There are three different paths by which electrical current (“getting shocked”) can cause damage.

electrical_burn_to_foot

  • On the way in and out, electrical current is likely to cause burns to the skin (thermal burns, aka entry and exit wounds).
  • An electrical current can cause destruction to several tissues, including muscles and nerves.
  • As electrical currents reach the heart, they can be disruptive to the heart’s electrical current, even causing it to stop.

What are some common causes of electrical injuries?

The dangers are all around you and in many instances occur because you don’t respect the power and danger of the electricity you use.

electrical injury lineman

  • If you have a job involving machinery or working with electricity, you can’t afford to get comfortable, because that’s when mistakes and injuries occur.

electricalpediatricburns_3

  • If you have electrical outlets that aren’t childproofed, then it stands to reason that eventually someone might place a metal object into that outlet, receiving a shock – or worse.

electrical-equipmentfrayed

  • If you have electrical appliances with worn, frayed and exposed wiring and you come in contact with the wire while it’s plugged in, you will be shocked.

electrical-injury-power lines

  • You live near a high-voltage power line? Beware of flashing electric arcs, which are looking for somewhere to land.

electricalgolferinjury

  • Thunder and lightning outside? Don’t be the golfer or other nature-lover wielding metal or otherwise unnecessarily exposing yourself to a rather large bolt. When you hear the thunder, the lightning is closer than you may think, relatively speaking.

What are the types of injuries I may receive?

Symptoms related to electrical injuries are numerous and varied. Here are a few examples.

electricalgolfinjury

  • Burns are common. The skin is likely to be pierced and burned on the way in and on the way out, producing “exit wounds” from the burn. Additionally, your sweat can be converted to steam and produce burns that way. Children who bite something with an active electrical current can receive a burn to the lip and experience delayed yet significant bleeding from the lip.

electrical lip-burn

  • The parts of the body that rely heavily on electric current are likely to be involved and damaged. This means you may experience the symptoms of a heart attack, an irregular heartbeat, numbness and tingling in your arms or legs from nerve damage or abnormal contractions of your muscles, which you’ll perceive as spasms and pain.
  • Similar effects on the brain may produce seizures and/or altered mental status.
  • The blast caused by an electrical injury can rupture a lung or your eardrums. Lung failure, shortness of breath and difficulty hearing may result.
  • The jolt caused by an electrical injury can sufficiently throw you such that secondary injuries can occur, including broken bones.
  • Combinations of the above mechanisms can produce additional symptoms such as headache, visual disturbances and problems swallowing.
  • Death may occur. Fortunately, even with the “ultimate” electrical injury (a lightning strike), 90% of victims still survive.

A separate Straight, No Chaser will address treatment and prevention considerations related to electrical injuries. In the meantime, look before you get shocked.

Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.

Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!

Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!

Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.

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Straight, No Chaser: Erectile Dysfunction, Part Two – Causes

In my last post on erectile dysfunction (ED), I gave a simplistic way to understand and address it.  However, the truth of the matter is the overwhelming majority of cases of ED are not related to stress or other psychological issues.  First, some sense of ‘reasonable’, expected performance should be established, especially as one ages (as discussed here).  Beyond that, you should know that approximately 90% of ED cases involve an underlying medical concern, including, but not limited to, the following:

Diabetes

High blood pressure

Changes/disease to your blood vessels

Low testosterone

Kidney disease

Smoking

Alcohol and Drug abuse

Obesity and High cholesterol

Effects of your medications

erectile-dysfunction

Therefore, today’s message is simple and brief, but I’d suggest it’s probably more important than you have previously thought. You should consult your physician if and when you or your partner’s sexual performance becomes an issue. You may actually discover something that will not only save his performance, but his life.

Finally, in the next post we will review the wide variety of treatment options for ED.

Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.

Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!

Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!

Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.

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Filed under General Health and Wellness, Genital/Urinary

Straight, No Chaser: Erectile Dysfunction, Part One

It seems appropriate to follow-up a post on age-related changes in your genitourinary system with a discussion on erectile dysfunction (ED).  The nature of the topic is such that I’m going to approach this in two different ways.  Today, I’ll give you a functional, overly simplistic view of ED and tomorrow, I’ll look at it from more of a clinical orientation, because there really are nuances involved. So keep in mind the lead picture. There are many medical and psychological issues that can lead to problems having erections.  I’ll get into that more tomorrow.

In many ways, your health is related to the quality of your blood flow, both in quantity (successful circulation to tissues) and quality (relative absence of toxins we ingest and deliver throughout). This is true for the brain (mental health, absence of strokes), the heart (stamina, absence of heart disease/attacks), and your penis (sexual function, lack of impotence), as well as every other organ.

Excluding truly medical considerations, the two surest ways I know to be a sexual stud (without implants or being of a certain age) are to have a legitimately healthy ego (psychologic health) and more importantly, to be in good physical shape and otherwise healthy. However, for now, given that an erection simply results from strong blood flow to the penis, your overall health better enables that process (the first time as well as if you want multiple contiguous encounters). Everything being equal, the best way for a guy to be able to have sex for whatever you define as a ‘sufficient’ period of time (besides being of a certain young age) is to maintain good cardiovascular health by spending that physician-recommended 20-30″ or more at a time on a treadmill, bike, running, etc.

Drugs like Viagra, Cialis, etc. are really nothing more than drugs that lower blood pressure (and resulting demands by other bodily organs on your blood), such that your penis’ call for an erection is otherwise unimpeded.  Sounds good?  The risk is varying forms of a ‘steal syndrome’, where that blood isn’t being distributed to your heart and brain, which could result in a heart attack or stroke.  That’s why you must “ask your doctor if you’re healthy enough for sex” before using…

Bottom line: practice for good sex and stamina during sex by working out.  It’s just another benefit to being healthy.

Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.

Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!

Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!

Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.

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Filed under General Health and Wellness, Genital/Urinary

Straight, No Chaser: Men’s Health Week, Fathers Day and Health

This year, Fathers’ Day falls right at the tail end of Men’s Health Week, but we don’t like that – and we’ll begin our own Men’s Health Week by starting with Fathers’ Day!

Mens-Health1-e1434342300575-604x270happy-fathers-day-ties

Take a moment to think through the variety of concerns of our fathers.

  • Many of our fathers are of advancing ages and have to address all the ramifications of that, including arthritis, coronary artery disease, peripheral vascular disease and cancer. With the likelihood of suffering from multiple diseases, it is probable that they are taking multiple medications, leaving them susceptible to medication side effects and drug interactions. Either of these concerns can result in falls, leading to trauma, fractures and head injuries. Additionally, many fathers have to deal with Alzheimer’s and/or dementia type issues.
  • Some of our fathers have been taken from us by gunshots or other forms of violence. Remember, public health concerns have caused more deaths than medical illness.
  • On a lighter note, a lot of fathers will only have to suffer the embarrassment of a minor burn over the grill this weekend.

fathers-day-health-gifts

All of this is meant to point out the need for health prevention in a group that utilizes health care much less than women and children. If you’re in the gift giving mood this Sunday, do better than that not-so-attractive tie. Think health. Get one of those health monitors that track steps, eating and sleeping habits. How about a treadmill? Try a safety helmet if he’s a motorcycle rider. Grab some manly mittens for the grill. Get him a back brace or a dolly to help with the duties he performs around the house. Make him an appointment to see his physician.

FathersDay

As a father, when I think of my health and what my loved ones can best do to contribute to it year-round, I think of happiness. Fathers are providers and protectors. If you’re lucky enough to still have your father around, take a moment, and let him know the ways he’s contributed to your happiness. That’s pretty simple and shouldn’t be that much to ask. Don’t discount the impact of happiness on health.

healthhappiness

On Straight, No Chaser, we often discuss the intersection of health and happiness, and during Men’s Health Week and on a day like Father’s Day, that discussion becomes both important and meaningful. It is quite likely that on this day, fathers everywhere are reflecting on the meaning of life and realizing that fatherhood is our ultimate legacy. So while you’re rewarding your favorite guy (with healthy food, no doubt), lay the love sauce on a little thick. It’s needed and will be appreciated. Here’s an early Happy Fathers’ Day to all those deserving men out there.

 

Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.

Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!

Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!

Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.

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Filed under General Health and Wellness, Genital/Urinary, Geriatrics/Elderly Care

Straight, No Chaser: Low Testosterone

low-testosterone-treatment

Are you someone who had never heard of Low-T until recent commercials starting telling you that you weren’t normal? Let’s review what all the fuss is about.

As most people know, testosterone is the most important male sex hormone that in many ways and for many defines “manhood,” contributing to the following:

  • Changes of puberty, including deepening of your voice
  • Production of pubic, facial and body hair
  • Production of sperm
  • Facilitation of sex drive
  • Maintenance of bone health, which assists growth

Low-T-In-Men-Tucson

In case you were wondering, this is what “male menopause” looks like.

Certain parts of the brain (hypothalamus and pituitary gland) signal how much testosterone needs to be produced. Most production occurs in the testes.

The symptoms of low testosterone are predictable. Symptoms include a reduction in sex drive, erections and sperm count. Men may also see an enlargement of their breasts. Additional symptoms (over the long-term) may include smaller testes, less energy, mood changes, loss of muscle size and strength, and weakened bones.

low-testosterone

The aging process normally reduces sex drive, sperm count and frequency of erections. Aging also reduces testosterone such that clinically low testosterone levels invariably occur by age 70. The presence of these two independent facts can make it confusing to know if these symptoms are simply part of the aging process or might be attributable to a disease in the areas that either produce or regulate testosterone. In other words, although a natural age-related reduction in testosterone level is normal, it may or may not be the cause of lower sex drive.

testostgraph_men

Low testosterone in the absence of aging really is thought to be more of a sign of disease than a disease unto itself. The primary goal is to ensure than none of the more serious causes of low testosterone are present. Some of the more serious causes and considerations leading to low testosterone include injury, infection or cancer to the testes, radiation therapy or chemotherapy, hormonal disorders such as pituitary gland tumors or diseases, liver and kidney disease, diabetes, HIV/AIDS, obesity, certain genetic disorders and use of opiates (pain-killers).

Based on the cause and your health status, you may be prescribed testosterone replacement therapy. Testosterone replacement may occur via periodic injections, skin patches/gels, skin pellets or tablets that stick to the gums.

Testosterone replacement is not like taking a pill for an erection. These are hormones and come with long-term risks, the most notable being prostate cancer. Therefore, those males with prostate or breast cancer aren’t candidates for testosterone replacement therapy. Other side effects of testosterone replacement therapy include acne, breast enlargement, fluid buildup in the legs, ankles and feet, increased red blood cell count, prostate enlargement and sleep apnea.

Here are groups with significant enough risks from testosterone replacement therapy that they require monitoring if treated this way:

  • African-American men
  • Men over 40 years of age who have close relatives with prostate cancer
  • All men over 50 years of age

So what should you do with this information?

  • Understand that certain age-related changes occur naturally and don’t represent disease.
  • Understand that the premature presence of these symptoms could represent disease and need to be evaluated.
  • Understand that a desire to avoid the symptoms associated with low testosterone is best done with routine health measures (diet and exercise) that help the body function and maintain healthy levels of testosterone naturally.
  • Understand that a decision to seek treatment for these symptoms isn’t as simple as getting a pill or a patch. Hormonal treatment has real and serious associated side effects and risks and should only be done with the consultation and consent of your physician and endocrinologist (hormone specialist).

hrt

Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.

Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!

Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!

Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.

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Filed under General Health and Wellness, Genital/Urinary, Endocrine/Metabolic

Straight, No Chaser: Male Menopause (aka Andropause)

Andropause

Manopause?  Male Menopause? Yes, andropause is a thing (at least according to many medical authorities). Most of us are roughly familiar with menopause. You may or may not be surprised to discover that men suffer through similar age-related changes called andropause.

With both sexes, changes are related to diminishing sex hormones. In the example of women, it’s estrogen and progesterone. With men, it’s testosterone. One big difference between the male and female experiences is lower testosterone levels don’t prevent men from still being able to have kids. Men can have kids into their 90s.

andropauselowt

So the logical question to ask would be is this just the same as low testosterone? Well, not exactly. It’s the confluence of several problems men face with aging, including low testosterone, obesity, diabetes and depression (in those with these conditions). In particular, obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes seem to be particular risk factors. The fortunate news is this complex doesn’t occur universally and can be delayed with certain actions.

So what are you to do? For starters, know the symptoms and know when to ask for help. Here are symptoms commonly associated with andropause.

  1. Depression
  2. Difficulty sleeping
  3. Increased body fat, particularly in the midsection
  4. Irritability
  5. Less desire for physical activity
  6. Less energy
  7. Less erections or less strong erections
  8. Less mental sharpness and quickness
  9. Loss of armpit or genital hair
  10. Loss of confidence
  11. Loss of interest in regular activities
  12. Loss of libido
  13. Night sweats
  14. Reduced muscle mass
  15. Social withdrawal
  16. Swollen breasts

homer-2011-10-22-at-12.10.22-PM3

It’s important to get evaluated for these issues because even if these aren’t attributable to andropause, other causes can be even more serious. Examples of conditions that can cause these same symptoms include depression, drug and alcohol abuse, infections, heart disease, poor nutrition, stress and thyroid disease.

When you begin to develop these symptoms, you may discover that diet, exercise and weight control are important in relieving symptoms and slowing the progression of symptoms. Your physician likely will advise the same. In many cases, treating low testosterone is another important component of management. The next few Straight, No Chaser posts will discuss these additional considerations.

andropause-affects-men-382x382

Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.

Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!

Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!

Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.

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Filed under Endocrine/Metabolic, General Health and Wellness, Genital/Urinary

Straight, No Chaser: Travelers’ Diarrhea

diarrheaemergency

This is the time of year in the U.S. when you wished you were somewhere else. (Hawaii, Africa, Australia or Mexico for a Valentine’s Day cruise, anyone?) Unfortunately, sometimes when you travel, you get more than you hoped.

“Montezuma’s Revenge” is often the punchline of a joke in the U.S., but travelers’ diarrhea (TD) is a serious concern. It is the most common illness contracted by travelers, affecting approximately 10 million people per year. Individuals visiting the U.S. can suffer from it as well. That’s a clue as to what’s actually occurring with TD.

TD is typically a response to an infection by a strain of bacteria known as E. coli, specifically, a strain that produces a toxin that affects the intestines. This is the case approximately 80% of the time. Parasites sometimes figure prominently in the illness. The risk and primary source of this infection is food or water that is contaminated with feces. Note that most any disturbance in the bacterial balance of the intestines can cause disruptions in the digestive system, leading to diarrhea.

travelers-diarrhea-risk-map

Although anyone can contract TD, destinations and personal characteristics can markedly increase that risk.

  • Higher risk destinations include developing countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East.
  • Those individuals at higher risk include the immunocompromised, diabetics, young adults, those with inflammatory bowel disease and those taking antacids or medicines known as H-2 blockers.

TD is straightforward. Symptoms include watery diarrhea and cramps. A mild fever may or may not be present.

So, what are you supposed to do to prevent TD? This stuff is miserable! Here are a few tips and pointers for you:

  • Avoid street vendors.
  • Avoid raw or undercooked foods (especially meats and seafood).
  • Avoid raw fruits and vegetables (unless you peel them).
  • Wash your hands!
  • Taking antibiotics in advance (prophylactically) is not recommended, because they can increase your susceptibility to resistant organisms and side effects.
  • Bismuth subsalicylate (two ounces or two tablespoons four times daily) reduces the incidence of TD. Speak to your physician or SMA expert consultant about the risks and indication of taking bismuth subsalicylate. By the way, you know bismuth subsalicylate as pepto-bismol or kaopectate.

And now, a few words about treatment. Here are a few considerations about which you should be aware.

  • TD is usually mild and will run its course without medication. In other words, you’re likely to be just fine.
  • The most important consideration is to ensure adequate hydration. Clear fluids are key.
  • You may need antibiotics if symptoms progress to include fever, bloody stools, nausea, vomiting and severe cramps. Drugs typically include ciprofloxacin and norfloxacin. Previously used drugs such as trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole and doxycycline aren’t recommended anymore because of the high resistance rate.
  • Bismuth subsalicylate may also be used as treatment (in addition to its role in prevention).
  • A  special word about anti-motility (anti-diarrhea) medications: There are some benefits to using these agents, but there are also significant risks. You should not take these medications without understanding the risks and how they may affect you based on your existing health profile. This topic is discussed in greater detail at http://www.sterlingmedicaladvice.com, and you certainly can discuss this further with your SMA personal healthcare consultant.

Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.

Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!

Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!

Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.

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Filed under Gastrointestinal, General Health and Wellness, Health Prevention, Infectious Disease, Public Health