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Men's Health and Wellness


"What you need to know..."





























 Prostate CanceR


 No one knows the exact causes of prostate cancer. Doctors often cannot explain why one man develops prostate cancer and another does not. Research has      shown that men with certain risk factors are more likely than others to develop prostate cancer. A risk factor is something that may increase the chance of developing  a disease.

Studies have found the following risk factors for Prostate Cancer:

  • Age — This disease is rare in men younger than 45. The chance of getting it goes up sharply as a man gets older. In the United States, most men with prostate cancer are older than 65.

  • Family history — A man's risk is higher if his father or brother had prostate cancer.

  • Diet — Some studies suggest that men who eat a diet high in animal fat or meat may be at increased risk for prostate cancer.

  • Race — Prostate cancer is more common in African American men. It is less common in Asian and American Indian men.

Medical experts encourage regular screening because finding and treating prostate cancer early, when treatment might be more effective, saves lives. All men should be screened once a year, beginning at age 50. Screening tests are recommended earlier for African American men and men who have a father or brother with prostate cancer.





Diabetes


Diabetes means your body has lost its main source of fuel. The body cannot survive without fuel. Diabetes is a condition in which the pancreas, a little organ near the stomach that produces insulin (a hormone), can't make enough insulin or the body can't use the insulin properly. Insulin is important because it helps get glucose (a sugar that comes from most of the foods we eat) into our cells for energy. With diabetes, glucose builds up in the blood instead of being used for energy. Diabetes is a serious and growing problem.

An estimated one-third of men with type 2 diabetes (most common form of diabetes) don't know they have it. Many are unaware of the disease until they develop problems such as impotence (erectile dysfunction), vision loss, or kidney disease.

Some preventive measures you can take:


  • Eat a varied diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat foods.
  • Get at least 30 minutes of exercise most days of the week.
  • Get your blood sugar level checked regularly, as advised by your doctor.
  • Know your family's diabetes history and discuss it with your doctor.








AIDS and HIV

AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome), caused by infection with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), remains one of the most devastating pandemics in modern history. Since HIV was first identified in 1981, it has spread rapidly to every corner of the globe. Nearly every county in the state has reported at least one case of HIV or AIDS.


What is AIDS?

AIDS is a disease that causes the body to lose its natural protection against infection. A person with AIDS is more likely to become ill from infections and unusual types of pneumonia and cancer that healthy persons normally can fight off. It is caused by the human immunodeficiency virus. The virus, which is found in the blood and other body fluids of infected individuals, attacks certain white blood cells that protect the body against illness. Currently, there is no vaccine or cure for AIDS.


How does someone get HIV?

HIV is not easy to get. Both men and women can become infected and can give the virus to someone else. HIV is found in the blood, semen and vaginal secretions of infected persons and can be spread in the following ways:


  • Having sex – vaginal, anal or oral – with an HIV-infected person (male or female)
  • Sharing drug needles or injection equipment with an HIV-infected person to inject or "shoot" drugs
  • Passing the virus from an HIV-infected woman to her baby during pregnancy or during birth (An infected mother also can pass HIV to her baby through breastfeeding.)


HIV cannot be spread in the following ways:

  • Shaking hands, hugging or simple kissing
  • Coughs or sneezes, sweat or tears
  • Mosquitoes, toilet seats or donating blood
  • Eating food prepared or handled by an infected person
  • Everyday contact with HIV-infected persons at school, work, home or anywhere else


The most common modes of exposure to HIV are –

  • sex between men who have sex with men
  • injection drug use
  • heterosexual contact, primarily with injection drug users

Because HIV-infected persons may look and feel healthy, many are unaware they are infected and capable of infecting others. Only an HIV antibody test can determine exposure to the virus. Too often, people at greatest risk of HIV infection do not know their high-risk behaviors can result in HIV infection, or they are reluctant or unable to change those high-risk behaviors.


How is HIV diagnosed?

An HIV antibody test, either from a blood sample or an oral sample, can tell whether your body has been infected with the virus. If it has, your immune system makes proteins called antibodies. It takes most persons up to 12 weeks after exposure to develop detectable antibodies ("window period"), but some may take as long as six months. If your test is positive for HIV antibodies, it means you are infected and can infect others. If the test is negative, it generally means you are not infected. But, because the "window period" may be as long as six months, you should be tested again if, in the six months prior to the test, you engaged in behavior that could transmit the virus.


Where is the test available?

Anonymous or confidential counseling and testing services are available at many local health departments and community agencies, including through some outreach testing sites. A trained counselor will help you understand the test, your results and how to protect your health whether you are infected or not. For help locating a convenient test site, call the toll-free AIDS/HIV and STD Hotline at 1-800-243-2437. You also can arrange to be tested by your personal physician.


How can infection with HIV be prevented?

To avoid infection through sex, the only sure way is not to have anal, vaginal or oral sexual intercourse or to have sex only with someone who is not infected and who has sex only with you. Using latex condoms correctly every time you have vaginal, anal or oral sex can greatly lower your risk of infection. Don't impair your judgement with drugs. Never share needles or injection equipment to inject drugs or steroids. HIV in blood from an infected person can remain in a needle, syringe or other item, then be injected directly into the bloodstream of the next user.


Is HIV disease treatable?

People who are infected with HIV can do many things to live healthier and longer lives. First, they must take care of themselves: eat right, get plenty of exercise and sleep and avoid being exposed to airborne and foodborne pathogens.There are also medications that slow the growth of the virus and delay or prevent certain life-threatening conditions. The Illinois Department of Public Health provides FDA-approved prescription drugs through its AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) for HIV-infected patients who meet specific income guidelines. Since managing the personal, financial and medical aspects of this disease can be daunting for many faced with the challenge, HIV-infected persons generally are offered case management services through 10 HIV care consortia. Case managers coordinate an effective system of care based on each client's individual needs. The ADAP Hotline is 1-800-825-3518.


Is confidential information available?

Yes. To ask questions about personal risk or to learn more about HIV or other sexually transmitted diseases, call the free and anonymous AIDS/HIV and STD Hotline at 1-800-243-2437 or TTY (hearing impaired use only)1-800-782-0423.




Heart Disease


In the United States, heart disease is the number one killer of both women and men. As early as age 45, a man's risk of heart disease begins to rise significantly.

In 2002, 340,933 men died of heart disease in the United States. Researchers have made great progress in understanding heart disease and its risk factors, but they still cannot predict who will get it.


Despite recent declines in heart disease in the general population, the mortality rate for African American men, aged 35 to 44 years, is more than twice that for White men.

You can reduce your risk of heart disease by making healthier lifestyle choices and getting treatment for conditions that can damage your heart, such as high cholesterol, diabetes, and high blood pressure. Other preventive measures you can take:

  • Don't smoke or use other tobacco products.
  • Eat a varied diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat foods.
  • Get at least 30 minutes of exercise most days of the week.



Stroke


A stroke is sometimes called a "brain attack." It can injure the brain like a heart attack can injure the heart. A person who has a stroke may suffer little or no brain damage and disability, especially if the stroke is treated promptly. But, if not treated promptly, a stroke can lead to severe brain damage and disability, or even death.

Stroke risks are higher in people who have a family history of stroke and for African Americans. African American men have a higher risk of disability and death from stroke than White men. This is partly because more African American men have high blood pressure, a major stroke risk factor.

You can't control some stroke risks, such as family history, age, and race, but you can control the leading cause — high blood pressure — as well as contributing factors such as smoking and diabetes.


Additional preventive measures you can take:

  • Lower your intake of cholesterol (eggs, butter, and lard) and saturated fat (cheese, whole milk, and regular ground beef).
  • Don't smoke.
  • If you have diabetes, follow your doctor's instructions for eating, exercising, and taking insulin.
  • Maintain a healthy weight by exercising and eating right.















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