8. Prostate Cancer

Obviously prostate problems are gender specific, only male has it and unfortunately, when aging issues set in, prostate problems would reveal sooner or later in the sonority ages. It is a natural consequence of aging for a male if he lives long enough. Men need to be aware that their prostate can cause them significant health issues. In fact, close to 200,000 American men this year will be diagnosed with prostate cancer.

Prostate cancer is the leading non-skin cancer in men. A man has higher possibility of having something going wrong with prostate than any other organs in the body.

Few men ever consider the walnut-sized gland located just below the bladder, until it starts to give them trouble. In fact, a 1995 survey in the London Times found that 89% of the men surveyed did not even know where the prostate was located.

After more than a decade has passed to this day, people may think differently, but still not enough attention is paid to this problem, in terms of disease prevention, diet, exercises and lifestyle change.

The prostate is a single, doughnut-shaped gland about the size of a walnut that lies below the bladder and surrounds the urethra. It secretes a thin, milky fluid that increases sperm motility and lubricates the urethra to prevent infection. The fluid is extremely important for successful fertilization of the egg.

After the age of 50, the prostate begins to hypertrophy, or increase in size. This condition is known as benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH). The urethra (the tube that carries urine from the bladder) runs through the middle of the prostate. Consequently, when the prostate enlarges, the urethra is squeezed and therefore compressed. This can pinch off the flow of urine, cause difficulty in urinating, and make many men get up three or four times during the night to urinate. Many think that it’s just normal aging if you’re getting up four to five times a night to go to the bathroom. But it’s just not the case. In reality, they are having a prostate problem.

Other symptoms of BPH include hesitancy, dribbling, reduced force of the urinary stream, and occasional bleeding or infection. This condition may even proceed to the point of complete urinary obstruction, which is a surgical emergency.

A small percentage of men at age thirty are already affected by this disease. 50% of men between 40-60 years of age suffer from BPH, escalating to 90% of men by age 85. If you live long enough, you are going to get it.

Diagnosis is by digital rectal exam, where the prostate gland feels boggy and may be two to three times larger than normal. Definitive diagnosis of BPH can be made with ultrasound measurement. To differentiate between prostate cancer and BPH, as the symptoms can be similar, a blood test called PSA (prostate-specific antigen) is used. The PSA test is regarded as a highly significant and sensitive marker for prostate cancer. The normal value for PSA is less than 4 ng/ml. A level above 10 ng/ml is highly indicative of prostate cancer with a sensitivity of over 90 percent.

Fortunately, medical science has developed options other than the surgery, less invasive and more physiological approaches to prevent and treat BPH are now available. Surgical intervention is therefore reserved as a modality of last resort.

Different drugs, brand and generic, are prescribed to patients, many sufferers are given Proscar by doctors, which inhibits 5-alpha-reductase. Studies show that Proscar decreases enlarged prostate size in 50% of men, however, the significant side effects, such as sexual dysfunction often make patients twice before taking the drug. The good thing is that option is available, which is to use plant-based medicines.

Plant-based medicines are much more popular prescriptions in Europe than synthetic drugs in treating BPH. Plant extracts account for more than 90 percent of all medications are used.

The chances of clinical success with any of the botanical treatments of BPH appear to be directly related to the degree of obstruction as measured by the residual urine content. Different amount of residues remain in the organ produces different degree of risks. Botanical medicine has its limited effect in treating some serious cases; a surgery intervention is a choice.

Extracts of the saw palmetto berry, a native of Florida, are being used extensively throughout the world for the relief of BPH. It works by inhibiting DHT binding to cellular receptors, inhibiting 5-alpha-reductase, and interfering with prostate estrogen receptors. Saw palmetto is commonly used worldwide for treatment of BPH. Researches show saw palmetto (Serenoa repens) berry extract can cause enlarged prostate glands to shrink and improve urinary flow.

Saw palmetto extract showed reduced side effects, an equivalent or greater benefit, and reduced cost of treatment. While Proscar typically takes up to a year to produce significant benefits, saw palmetto extracts produces better results in a much shorter period of time.

Physicians routinely use blood prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels to test for prostate cancer. While saw palmetto has no effect on PSA levels, Proscar actually lowers them, which may interfere with test results and cloud the PSA test results.

Another botanical medicine is Pygeum, which is an evergreen tree native to Africa. Its bark has historically been used in the treatment of urinary tract disorders. Extracts of the African herb Pygeum africanum have also shown impressive results in relieving symptoms of BPH. In one clinical trial, 18 patients with BPH or chronic prostatitis were studied. Many of these also had sexual disturbances. They all received an extract of pygeum for 60 days. At the end of the program, all urinary parameters that were investigated were improved, and sexual disturbances were relieved.

The third of the most popular plant-based medicines is the extract of Stinging Nettle, which is used routinely in Europe to treat BPH. It appears to interact with binding DHT to cytosolic and nuclear receptors. Stinging nettle shares several mechanisms with pygeum and saw palmetto, but has several actions that are unique.

A diet change appears to play a role in the health of the prostate gland from clinical experience. It is important to avoid pesticides, increase intake of zinc, essential fatty acids and keep cholesterol level below 200 mg/dl. Zinc has been shown to inhibit the activity of 5-alpha-reductase, the enzyme that irreversibly converts testosterone to DHT. The administration of essential fatty acids (EFA) has been shown to significantly improve symptoms of many BPH patients. Cholesterol damaged by free radicals is particularly toxic and carcinogenic to the prostate. Drugs that lower cholesterol levels have been shown to have a favorable influence on BPH. The diet should be high in protein, low in carbohydrate, low in animal fats, and high in essential fatty acids. Focus on whole, unprocessed foods (legumes, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds). A good exercise plan helps improve the immune system, which will work in furtherance of the good effect of treatment.

 

 

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