Maybe it’s the way I’m built, but I tend to focus on the big picture whenever possible. I think it was Confucius who said: “A lion chased me up a tree, and I greatly enjoyed the view from the top.” Second that. Although I am caught up in the nitty gritty of daily medical practice, I also enjoy the view from above the scramble. Keeps me current and keeps me going.
From this vantage point, these are the most significant trends and truths that I see in men’s health.
- Erections are the canary in the coalmine for heart health. This, my friends, is now fact: erectile dysfunction in your 40’s predicts heart disease later in life. The added risk is at least as predictive as a smoking history or having a family history of heart disease. What’s not decided yet is whether the blockbuster erectogenic agents like Viagra can protect your heart in addition to helping you stand tall.
- Male infertility is a biomarker of future health. This is close to being fact as the decade old science matures. It looks like men with low sperm counts have more prostate and testis cancer, more heart disease, carry more diseases in general and may even die younger than their fertile peers. The good news is we may be able to turn this around and use infertility to prevent disease later in life.
- Ejaculatory disorders are treatable! Early or premature ejaculation, late or delayed ejaculation, and even anejaculation are quite treatable conditions. The realization that paved the way for this is that these conditions are less “chemical” and more “behavioral” than we previously thought. Basically, if you want to hit the golf ball farther, you really need to relearn your entire swing. And we can help.
- “Manopause” is real. Yes, men have their own version of women’s menopause. However it occurs over a much longer timeframe and is far more subtle than the hot-flash-laden female variant. The end result is the same: the gas tank empties of testosterone, sperm production falls and the withering begins.
- Testosterone is not the wonder drug you might think. Sure, men with normal testosterone levels live longer than men with low testosterone levels, but taking extra testosterone with the goal of living longer is flawed science. Add to this the fact that at least a dozen other medical disorders act just like low T and alas there is the real possibility of missed diagnoses. What a crying shame to miss treating real disease and simply take T when your health is at risk. Remember, you can’t pour from an empty cup.
These, my friends, form the guiding principles of modern medical care for men, a care that’s genuine, holistic and in the very best interest of health.