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How to Conduct Your Own Male Health Check
So you want to be more active in taking care of your health? Here are some important areas you need to pay attention to.
Blood pressure Most people have high blood pressure at one time or another with little or no symptoms. It is when this continues over time that it acts as a major cardiovascular risk factor. This risk increases with age and increases if you smoke, are overweight, have high cholesterol and/or diabetes. Health problems associated with high blood pressure are heart attack, eye damage, leading to vision problems, kidney damage that is irreversible and stroke, which can damage your brain, leading to paralysis.
A blood pressure reading between 110/70 and 140/90 is considered “within the normal range.” However, anyone with a reading in the higher end of this range should make changes to lower this as quickly as possible. Lifestyle changes will make a big difference and should include stopping ALL caffeinated beverages. This includes coffee, tea, green tea, any product that contains cocoa, and any soft drink that contains caffeine. Start drinking more water because dehydration causes all tissues and fluids to become thicker and more viscous. Drink water constantly throughout the day and drink no less than 1.5 and 2 liters per day. Start doing some regular exercise. If you’re not already participating, start walking every day. Take it easy to get started and work from here. You will benefit from any improvement. Take a magnesium supplement. This mineral works with muscle relaxation and is essential for anyone with a cardiovascular problem. Omega 3 fish oil is also beneficial. Get your own blood pressure monitor so you can better keep track of what’s going on. Remember that if you rush to the doctors and also drank a cup of coffee within 1 hour of checking your blood pressure; it will probably be higher, just because of these 2 factors.
Ferritin. Many men find their iron, or rather Ferritin levels increase as they age. Ferritin is an iron-binding protein and the higher this is, the more iron your body will store. High iron levels can cause just as many problems as low iron levels. Iron has been referred to as an antioxidant. This is because excess iron produces the exact opposite effect of antioxidants such as vitamin C and E. It will cause the formation of free radicals that can seriously damage your body. So make sure you check your ferritin levels once a year to help prevent this damage. If you find that these levels are high, you should seek advice and change your lifestyle immediately. Alcohol consumption and poor liver function have been linked to high iron stores, so avoiding this and completing a liver cleanse would be beneficial.
Testosterone. This is the muscle building, anti-aging, sex drive and mental sharpness hormone. Its levels are highest in men in their early 20s, yet studies show that up to 20% of all men who are 50 years old have testosterone levels well below the normal range. Pesticides and preservatives in foods have been shown to act as “hormone disruptors” and may be contributors to these declining levels. Medical literature states that low levels of testosterone are directly associated with heart disease, heart attacks, strokes and cardiovascular disease, prostate cancer (yes, low levels are a higher risk), senile dementia, osteoporosis and hip fracture.
You may have blood tests to specifically test your testosterone levels. Your doctor can arrange these for you and then discuss your options. There are also a number of herbs available that have been used to help increase testosterone levels. These include tribulus, sarsparilla and Korean ginseng.
Your PSA levels. PSA refers to a protein that is made by both normal and cancerous prostate cells. It is found in the blood and can be measured by a blood test, which should be tested once a year, after the age of 50. PSA levels may rise if a man has prostate cancer, but a high PSA is not always evidence of cancer. . Other things can also increase PSA levels, such as inflammation. These can give a false positive test result. Also, some prostate glands produce more PSA than others. PSA levels increase with age. Zinc is a mineral that is VITAL for a healthy prostate gland, however it is lacking in New Zealand soil, so must be taken in supplemental form. Many health stores offer a free zinc test, an easy way to determine your existing zinc levels. The herbs Saw palmetto, Nettle, Pygeum & Vitex have all been used to aid in better prostate health and are often found combined.
C – reactive protein (CRP). The New England Journal of Medicine states that testing for CRP outperforms ALL other commonly performed tests, including LDL cholesterol, in predicting cardiovascular events. The presence of C-reactive protein in your blood indicates the presence of inflammation. Studies have shown that a high level of this inflammation is an accurate predictor of future heart problems. It has been shown that elevated levels of this marker more than double your risk of stroke. Many insurance companies now use this test when they complete medical examinations. Natural products that can help reduce this inflammation are Fish oil or an Omega 3 supplement, Turmeric, Quercetin & Ginger.
Cholesterol. Cholesterol is manufactured in the body from our intake of dietary fats, saturated fats and refined carbohydrates. Our cells also synthesize cholesterol; however the liver and intestines are the most important producers. An essential substance that is needed for good health, it is a normal component of most body tissues but especially those of the brain, nervous system, liver and blood. More than nine tenths of cholesterol ends up in the cells, where it performs essential structural and metabolic functions. But when blood cholesterol levels become abnormally high, fatty deposits composed of both cholesterol and calcium can accumulate in the arteries, including those of the heart, a situation that increases susceptibility to heart attacks. These deposits occur mainly in parts of the blood vessels that have been weakened by high blood pressure or excessive tension. One of the important things to remember about cholesterol is that your liver has to process the cholesterol – so if your liver function is poor, your cholesterol level is likely to be high. Completing a liver cleanse is a good first step to help reduce cholesterol. Taking Omega 3, Red Yeast rice, Guggul, Garlic, Lecithin and Artichoke can help lower these levels naturally. Reducing your intake of saturated fats is essential. These are the fats that are solid at room temperature.
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