Tobacco Use

The World Health Organization (WHO) has developed The Tobacco Atlas, which is intended for anyone concerned with personal or political health, governance, politics, economics, big business, corporate behavior, smuggling, tax, religion, internet, allocation of resources, human development and the future.  The Tobacco Atlas says that smoking has been portrayed by its sellers as a manly, masculine habit, linked to health, happiness, fitness, wealth, power and sexual success. In reality, it leads to sickness, premature death and sexual problems.  Almost one billion men in the world smoke – about 35% of men in developed countries and 50% of men in developing countries. Trends in both developed and developing countries show that male smoking rates have now peaked and, slowly but surely, are declining.  However, this is an extremely slow trend over decades, and in the meantime men are dying in their millions from tobacco. In general, the educated man is giving up the habit first, so that smoking is becoming a habit of poorer, less educated males.

So if smoking is such a big problem, how can we help to prevent it?

In A Report of the Surgeon General, Preventing Tobacco Use Among Young People, the U.S. Department of Human Resources, the CDC, Public Health Service, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Office on Smoking and Health, discuss the issue of adolescent smoking. This report focuses on the vulnerable adolescents ages 10-18, when most users start smoking, chewing, or dipping and become addicted to tobacco.  Smoking kills 434,000 Americans each year.  Adolescent smoking and tobacco use are the first steps in this totally preventable tragedy.  One out of every three adolescents are using tobacco by age 18. Most of the U.S. public strongly favors policies that might prevent tobacco use among young people. These policies include mandated tobacco education in schools, a complete ban on smoking by anyone on school grounds, further restrictions on tobacco advertising and promotional activities, stronger prohibitions on the sale of tobacco products to minors, and increases in earmarked taxes on tobacco products. Interventions to prevent initiation among young people–even actions that involve restrictions on adult smoking or increased taxes-have received strong support among smoking and nonsmoking adults.

This is a huge issue among men, that if changed, will greatly impact the health of millions.  I feel that if we can reach out and affect a few individuals at a time, that the impact will have a domino affect as loved ones and friends encourage each other to quick smoking, or to never begin smoking.

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Gaining Weight

One of the most common concerns that men have is weight gain.  Media tells men that they need to be bulky.  Many men resort to steroids to get that extra weight rather quickly.  However, as stated in a previous post, steroid use has many negative effects and should be avoided.  There are, however, tips to help one gain weight healthily.  18% of college males reported wanting to gain weight.  In an article on it says that,  “Those who are extremely lean tend to have weaker immune systems, making them prone to infections, surgical complications, and slower recovery times for illness. They tend to have low muscle mass, and less than ideal hair, teeth, and skin composition. They may have disruptions in the ability to regulate hormones and protect bone health, and women could become unable to menstruate.”

For those who are trying to gain weight, here are some helpful tips:

What To Eat To Gain Weight

  • Diet is essential to gaining weight!
  • Increasing your intake of junk foods and greasy foods is not a good way to gain weight. Junk foods usually contain unhealthy trans fats, saturated fats and refined sugar. Even though you need to increase your calorie consumption to gain weight, those calories should come from foods that are good for you.
  • Healthy fats include sources of omega-3 essential fatty acids, such as tuna, salmon, flax, and walnuts. Good sources of protein include lean meats, fish, poultry, nuts, seeds and legumes. Healthy carbohydrate sources include fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
  • It may be easier to eat five or six smaller balanced meals per day rather than eating three large meals, especially if you are not used to eating much at one sitting.
  • Protein powders and nutritional supplement drinks can be consumed as in-between meal snacks if you still need more calories. Some protein powders are flavored and only need added water, and others can be blended with your choice of juice or milk to improve the flavor.

Gaining weight is also associated with a good exercise program with increasing weight resistance over time. has many tools to putting together an exercise program that will work for you.

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    Amino Acid Ingestion Improves Protein Synthesis in the Young and Elderly.

    Amino acid supplementation/protein shakes have been used by both male and female, young and old, for many different purposes.  Young individuals might ingest them as an addition to their diet for weight gain/muscle growth, whereas older individuals might use them as a meal replacement to gain the essential amino acids needed each day.  The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition said that the determination of whether supplements are beneficial has been hampered by the failure to select appropriate endpoints for evaluation of a positive effect.  They also found that not only may the exact composition and amount of an amino acid supplement is important, but the timing of ingestion of the supplement in relation to the exercise must be considered as well.  Douglas Paddon-Jones et al. performed a study to test the differences in protein synthesis among the young and elderly after amino acid ingestion.  Their data demonstrated that administration of 15 g EAA  orally ingested simulated muscle protein anabolism and produced similar increases in mixed-muscle FSR in both elderly and young individuals.  However, several age-related differences were identified.  Elderly subjects did not experience an increase in plasma insulin concentration after EAA ingestion.  They did, however, experience a slower, more sustained increase in plasma phenylalanine concentration and net phenylalanine balance after EAA ingestion.

    Despite these findings, the hypothesis that muscle protein synthesis is downregulated with age remains controversial.  I feel that amino acid/protein supplements are essential when one cannot consume enough through their diet to reach their needs. Elderly individuals and extremely active individuals may not be able to consume enough through their diet.

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    Iphone App Focusing on Men’s Health

    With the increase of technology, we are able to access the internet from our cellular devices.  When away from a computer, people are able to access information they need wherever they are.  If a man is having chest pains or symptoms of any kind, he can now look up information about his symptoms on an App on his phone.

    Dr. Marco Bonollo, Head of Disease Management Unit at the Alfred, created an App consisting a comprehensive list of cancers that affect men, along with many other amazing tools that will benefit men.

    These tools are useful in gaining knowledge and awareness of certain issues, but should not be used for self-diagnosis.  When experiencing symptoms, men should seek the attention of a healthcare advisor.

    As technological world continues to advance, we will see an increase in similar applications and the spread of such useful information.

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    Razor Bumps

    After you shave, do you get red bumps that look like acne?  Many men who shave, their faces and other parts of their bodies, experience razor bumps.  Some people call them shaving pimples because an infected razor bump can look a lot like a bad case of acne, especially if you have a cluster of razor bumps in the same area—you may even hear people call them shaving bumps. Whatever you choose to call them you should know that people with curly hair, especially black men and women, are more susceptible to razor bumps than people with straight hair because of the way razor bumps form.

    Holly McCoppin, MD, says that the razor bumps are caused by the hair, after it is shaved, retracting back into the follicle that it came out of and piercing through the side which causes a lot of inflammation. To reduce razor bumps, she suggests:

    • Don’t save so close.  Use an electric razor if you can.
    • Make sure skin is very moist before you begin shaving.
    • Shave with the “grain.”
    • Only go over areas once.

    Gillette also offers many solutions to this problem.  They provide solutions for individuals of all skin types: oil/acne prone skin, coarse or tough beard, sensitive skin, dry or tight skin, acne or ingrown hairs, and new to head shaving.

    Other helpful tips include rinsing your shaving razor with rubbing alcohol before and after every use, and change the blade at least once a week to get rid of razor bumps. Rubbing alcohol will kill any bacteria that is growing on your razor blade, which will irritate your skin and make the bumps worse.  Also, avoid shaving daily if you can.

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    Testicular Cancer

    Testicular cancer is one of the most common cancers in young men between the ages of 15 and 35, but the disease also occurs in other age groups, so all men should be aware of its symptoms. While testicular cancer is common among young men, young men typically do not get a lot of cancer, so overall testicular cancer is a relatively rare disease.

    In the year 2000, an estimated 7,600 cases of testicular cancer will be diagnosed in the United States, and a little less than 400 of them will die. Caucasians are more likely to get it than Hispanics, and much more likely to get it than Blacks or Asians. The instance of testicular cancer around the world has basically doubled in the past 30-40 years.

    Most testicular cancer cases are found by men themselves when doing a self-examination or by accident. The testicles are smooth, oval-shaped, and rather firm. Men who examine themselves routinely become familiar with the way their testicles normally feel. Any changes in the way they feel from month-to-month should be checked by a doctor, preferably a urologist.

    In men under 60, 95% of testicular tumors originate in the germ cells, the special sperm-forming cells within the testicles. These tumors fall into one of two types, seminomas or nonseminomas. (Note that in the UK and a few other places, nonseminomas are called teratoma instead.) Other forms of testicular cancer include leydig and sertoli cell tumors. Rarely tumors such as PNET, leiomyosarcoma, rhabdomyosarcoma, mesothelioma and others can arise in the testicle. Men over the age of 60 can still get a germ cell tumor, but they are more likely to get leukemia, lymphoma, or a benign tumor called spermatocytic seminoma. Unless otherwise noted, all the information on this web site concerns testicular germ cell tumors.

    • Pure Seminomas account for about 40 percent of all testicular cancer and are made up of immature germ cells. Usually, seminomas are slow growing and tend to stay localized in the testicle for long periods.
    • Nonseminomas are a group of cancers that often occur in combination with one another, including choriocarcinoma, embryonal carcinoma, immature teratoma and yolk sac tumors. Nonseminomas arise from more mature, specialized germ cells and tend to be more aggressive than seminomas.

    If found early, testicular cancer is almost always curable.  Early stage testicular cancer can be treated with surgery and radiation therapy.  Late stage testicular cancer can be treated with the combination of surgery, radiation therapy and/or chemotherapy.  The prognosis for men is very good, even with late stage disease.  More than 90% of testicular cancer patients are cured by their initial treatment.

    For early detection, men should perform self-examinations on a regular basis.

    For those affected by testicular cancer and their families, tc-cancer provides a support forum.


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    Dietary Supplements

    Since the beginning of time, people have developed magic potions and formulas that would alter the image of the body.  In a world of increasing technology that allows media to have an increasing influence over the majority of people, the media emphasizes the importance of having the perfect body.  In order to achieve this expected result, people turn to dietary supplements to gain that extra wanted muscle, or to get those washboard abs.  However, are these dietary supplements necessary and beneficial to our health?

    As outlined in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, nutritional needs should be met by eating a variety of foods.  Supplements benefit those who do not adequately consume the recommended daily amounts.  If you are already eating the recommended amount of a nutrient, you may not get any further health benefit from taking a supplement.

    It is also important to note that vitamin/mineral supplements are not a replacement for a healthful diet.  In addition to vitamins and minerals, foods contain hundreds of naturally occurring substances that can help protect your body.

    How do we know which supplements are good for us and which ones may have negative health consequences?  There are many places that provide scientifically sound information about vitamin/mineral supplements.  These include:

    The FDA regulates dietary supplements.  Under the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 (DSHEA), the dietary supplement manufacturer is responsible for ensuring that a dietary supplement is safe before it is marketed.  FDA is responsible for taking action against any unsafe dietary supplement product after it reaches the market.  Many anabolic steroid supplements are produced each year and are sold on the market for a period of time until the FDA finds the product and bans it.  After the FDA bans the supplement, chemists slightly change the molecule, give it a new name, and put it back out on the market.  Because of this, many men are able to buy anabolic steroids straight from local health stores.  Although some may take these supplements by legitimately confusing them with other exercise supplements, most men know exactly what they are taking.  As listed in a previous post, steroids have very negative health affects.

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