Men’s Health – What You Should Know 

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital June 7, 2016

June is Men’s Health Month, a time to address important health issues that impact men’s lives. Read the stories below to learn the latest about prostate cancer, testosterone therapy, erectile dysfunction, and other factors that affect men’s physical and mental health.

Healthy-Men-1Hormone Therapy for Prostate Cancer May Increase Risk of Depression

A Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) study has found a significant association between depression and patients being treated for localized prostate cancer with androgen deprivation therapy (ADT). When compared to patients who did not receive ADT, patients who received ADT had higher incidences of depression and inpatient and outpatient psychiatric treatment.

 

Healthy-Men-2Testosterone’s Effect on the Heart and Quality of Life

Testosterone use among men doesn’t appear to increase their risk of developing atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), a critical risk factor for heart attack and stroke. However, research also shows that men using testosterone fail to realize the quality of life benefits that are often the primary goals of testosterone therapy.

 

Healthy-Men-3Treatment Options for Erectile Dysfunction

Age, high blood pressure, and cardiovascular disease contribute to a higher risk of erectile dysfunction (ED), which affects about one half of American men over age 40 at some point in their lives. Most men experiencing ED respond to nonsurgical treatments, such as oral medications or self-injection therapy. However, if these treatments don’t work, surgery may provide another option.

 

Healthy-Men-4Breakfast Makes a Man’s Heart Healthy

Research shows that men who skip breakfast have a 27 percent higher risk of suffering a heart attack or developing heart disease than those who start the day with something in their stomach. These men who forego breakfast also indulge more heavily in other unhealthy lifestyle choices, such as smoking, exercising less, and drinking alcohol regularly.

 

Healthy-Men-5Prostate Cancer Screening – Who Recommends PSA Testing?

BWH-led research finds that a patient’s likelihood of getting prostate-specific antigen (PSA) testing for the early detection of prostate cancer depends on the type of physician he sees. According to the study’s lead author, the findings highlight the need for physicians to reach a broader consensus on the risks and benefits of prostate cancer screening and the importance of patients discussing their care options with their physicians.

Every Second Counts – Diagnosing and Treating Acute Aortic Syndrome

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital November 10, 2015

Acute aortic syndrome is a serious heart condition where the aorta, the main blood vessel that supplies blood to the rest of the body.

Acute aortic syndrome is a serious heart condition that affects the aorta, the main blood vessel that supplies blood to the rest of the body.

Acute aortic syndrome is a serious heart condition where the aorta, the main blood vessel that supplies blood to the rest of the body, malfunctions due to a tear (dissection), bleeding in the wall of the aorta (a hematoma), or an ulceration. Acute aortic syndromes are life-threatening and require immediate medical care. Statistics suggest that the risk of mortality increases quickly after the onset of an acute aortic dissection, so rapid diagnosis and treatment is critical.

Acute aortic syndromes occur in two groups of people. Most tend to be older people (65 years+) who have conditions such as high blood pressure or atherosclerosis. Another group is younger patients who may have a genetic predisposition, such as a connective tissue disorder like Marfan syndrome, or have experienced trauma. In cases where a patient has a genetic predisposition, physicians may recommend that family members also undergo screening and genetic testing to assess their risk of developing an acute aortic syndrome.

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Testosterone Therapy’s Effect on the Heart and Quality of Life

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital November 3, 2015

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Taking testosterone may not improve men’s sexual function or quality of life.

Recent Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) research has found that testosterone use among men doesn’t appear to increase their risk of developing atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), a condition that can lead to severe cardiovascular diseases. The same study, however, also found that these same men failed to realize the quality of life benefits that are often the primary goals of testosterone therapy.

Testosterone, a hormone primarily secreted by the testicles, plays a key role not only in male reproductive tissues, but also in muscle growth, bone mass, and metabolism. As men get older, their testosterone levels naturally decline – an average of one percent a year after age 40. In an attempt to counter this natural decline, an increasing number of men over the past decade have turned to testosterone therapy.

Although previous studies aimed at examining rates of adverse cardiovascular events in men taking testosterone have produced conflicting results, concerns remain that testosterone therapy might increase a person’s risk of a heart attack or stroke. BWH investigators developed the Testosterone’s Effects on Atherosclerosis Progression in Aging Men (TEAAM) trial to explore whether there is link between testosterone use and atherosclerosis, a critical risk factor for heart attack and stroke. The three-year study found that administering testosterone to older men (over 60) with low to low normal testosterone levels had no effect on the progression of hardening of the arteries, but also did not significantly improve sexual function or health-related quality of life.

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Inflammation and Heart Disease: Understanding the Link

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital October 15, 2015

Middle-aged men with higher blood levels of C-reactive protein (pictured), a measure of inflammation, are at increased risk of having a heart attack or stroke in the future.

You already know that high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol, and certain lifestyle factors, such as poor diet, lack of exercise, and smoking, are major risk factors for heart disease. But science shows there’s another factor that could impact your heart health.

Research conducted at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) over the past 20 years suggests that inflammation also may contribute to heart disease risk.

Inflammation can occur as a part of the immune response, our bodies’ attempt to fight off and attack foreign substances, such as infectious diseases. Inflammation also may occur in response to the buildup of fatty deposits (atherosclerosis) inside the walls of arteries, potentially leading to the formation of harmful blood clots.

In 1997, researchers led by Dr. Paul Ridker, Director of the BWH Center for Cardiovascular Disease Prevention, discovered that middle-aged men with higher blood levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), a measure of inflammation, were at increased risk of having a heart attack or stroke in the future.

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Nanomedicine May Help to Prevent Heart Attacks

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital May 12, 2015

The nanoparticle's special surface is designed to stick to fatty deposits.

Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) and Columbia University researchers have developed a microscopic medicine that could be used to help prevent heart attacks caused by atherosclerosis.

Atherosclerosis is a buildup of plaque (mainly cholesterol deposits) within the arteries. This thickening of the artery walls decreases the flow of blood and oxygen to vital body organs and extremities, which can lead to severe cardiovascular diseases, such as coronary heart disease (CHD), carotid artery disease, and peripheral artery disease (PAD). Atherosclerosis of the coronary arteries continues to be the number one killer of both men and women in the U.S., and about one half of all strokes in this country are caused by atherosclerosis.

Through preclinical testing, the BWH and Columbia University researchers aimed to demonstrate that medical treatment of atherosclerosis can be significantly improved by significantly improving the precision of treatment. They designed nanometer-sized, biodegradable “drones” that are programmed to travel to the exact area of the artery where treatment is required, and, once there, deliver a precise dose of a special anti-inflammatory medication that promotes healing. The size of the nanomedicine particles – 1,000 times smaller than the tip of a single human-hair strand – helps them to maneuver to the inside of the plaque. The particles’ special surface, designed to stick to fatty deposits, helps to keep them there.

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Stroke: Five Things You Need to Know

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital October 23, 2014

Call 911 immediately if someone is having difficulty smiling completely, lifting both arms, and repeating a simple phrase.

Do you know who is at risk of having a stroke?

Do you know the signs of a stroke?

Do you know what to do if someone is having a stroke?

The American Stroke Association estimates that a stroke occurs every 40 seconds. It is the fourth leading cause of death in the United States. Here is some valuable information from our multidisciplinary stroke team that can help save lives.

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Cancer Treatment’s Impact on the Heart

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital November 27, 2012

Cancer treatments can cause serious short- and long-term effects on the heart.

More than 12 million Americans today are cancer survivors or are actively undergoing cancer treatment. Cancer therapies are saving and extending lives. With earlier detection and advances in treatment, survival rates for cancer continue to climb. But, cancer therapies also can carry side effects.

“Some of the most effective medical and radiation cancer treatments can cause serious short- and long-term effects on the heart,” says Dr. Anju Nohria, Co-Director of the Cardio-Oncology Program, a joint collaboration between Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. “The good news is that we can manage these side effects.”

Targeted therapies designed to inhibit a cancer’s ability to grow, for example, can bring on sudden spikes in blood pressure and related kidney issues, heart arrhythmias, or a rapid decline in heart function, causing interruptions in critical cancer treatments. Other cancer therapies can accelerate atherosclerosis, a buildup of plaque in the arteries, and lead to the development of heart disease at a much younger age, particularly for people treated for cancer in childhood, adolescence, or early adulthood.

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Choose a Wealthy State for a Healthy Heart

Posted by Blog Administrator April 4, 2012

map wealthy state for a healthy heart

The wealth of your state can affect the state of your health.

It looks like women can add geography to their list of heart disease risk factors.

According to new research from Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH), the financial health of your home state can have an impact on your heart health. A study led by Dr. Cheryl Clark, Director of Health Equity Research and Intervention at the BWH Center for Community Health and Health Equity, compared each state’s gross domestic product, poverty rate, and financial inequality to rates of cardiovascular inflammation among their female residents.

Cardiovascular inflammation is a major contributor to the development of plaque inside the arteries (atherosclerosis) and is also a strong predictor of heart attacks in healthy women. To determine the presence of cardiovascular inflammation in a patient, researchers measured the blood levels of C-reactive protein and two other substances that are reliable indicators of the early development of atherosclerosis.

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