7 Surprising Facts About Men’s Health: They Die Sooner, More Likely To Get Struck By Lightning, And More

Former President Bill Clinton established National Men’s Health Week in 1994 and it has been celebrated every year since. It serves as a way to encourage the men and boys in our lives to embrace healthy habits. This year, it’s honored the week of June 12 through 18.


Despite all the technological advances, many men continue to suffer from a long list of distinctive health issues such as shorter life spans, President Donald J. Trump said in a statement.

“Many men visit their healthcare providers less frequently than women,” he notes. “One in three American men suffers from a condition related to cardiovascular disease, and cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death for men.”

Celebrating the week is a way to spread awareness about issues many men face. Here’s 7 surprising facts about men’s health:

1. Men live about 5 fewer years than women

Women outlive men in every country in the world. In the United States, men typically live 76.3 years, while women have a life expectancy of 81.2 years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC).

2. Men are more likely to die from heart disease

Men die more often from heart disease than women do. They’re also more likely to die from the disease at a younger age, according to Harvard Health Publications.

3. Men are more likely to be killed or injured by lightning

In a CDC report spanning a 43-year time period, lighting consistently killed more men than women every year. From 1968 to 2010, about 85 percent of deaths were men. The reason for this is not included in the report, but another study suggests it may because men participate in more leisure activities that expose them to lighting strikes, such as fishing and camping.

4. Men are less likely to go to the doctor

Both men and women avoid the doctor for a number of reasons, but men in particular schedule visits far less often. But why? In an online health survey by the Orlando Health hospital system, men stated these as their top three reasons: too busy to go, afraid of finding out what might be wrong, and uncomfortable with body exams such as prostate or rectal checks.

5. Men commit suicide more often than women

Although women make more non-fatal suicide attempts, men are more likely to complete a suicide. One reason for this may be because men are less likely to seek care for depression and other mental illnesses, according to Harvard Health Publications.

6. Men are more likely to use tobacco

About 40 percent of men smoke worldwide compared to about 9 percent of women, according to the World Health Organization.

7. Men are more likely to drink excessively

Men are more likely to drink excessively than women and they are also more likely to engage in risky behaviors, such as driving fast or without a seatbelt. When these behaviors are combined with alcohol, the risk of injury and death increases.

What Is Yohimbe: Sleep Apnea Patients May Find Relief In All-Natural Aphrodisiac

A natural aphrodisiac thought to help with erectile dysfunction and weight loss could now get a third use: sleep apnea cure. Researchers found that yohimbe, a dietary supplement derived from tree bark, could provide a more comfortable alternative to the continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine that while effective, is also inconvenient and annoying for sleep apnea sufferers.


“It works very well, but the problem is everybody hates it,” says Chi-Sang Poon, a research scientist at MIT in a story on the school’s website. “It’s very uncomfortable and inconvenient. Almost half of the people prescribed never use it.”

Sleep apnea occurs when the tongue or other tissues shift and block the airway, according to the University of California at Berkeley. Researchers have been working on drugs to stimulate the hypoglossal nerve, which controls the tongue, but so far attempts have been unsuccessful.

Instead, the MIT researchers targeted two neurons they believed dropped in activity during sleep. So, they used yohimbine — another name for the active chemical in the yohimbe tree’s bark — to reactivate the neuron groups. Though researchers are not entirely sure how it worked, they found the supplement targeted the neurons, which stimulated the hypoglossal neurons and helped with sleep apnea. The experiment was conducted in rats, so it is still a ways from becoming a mainstream treatment.

Yohimbe is used by bodybuilders to burn fat and has long been used as an aphrodisiac to help with erectile dysfunction and low sex drive, however it is not FDA approved for any of these uses.

Poon warns sleep apnea patients from taking matters into their own hands and trying out the treatment at home.

“Yohimbine is a centuries-old drug that people have been using for other reasons,” he says. “The drug itself is relatively safe in healthy subjects, but in patients that have heart disease, hypertension, or stroke, or have anxiety problems, they could be at risk because nobody has done long-term studies to show how safe the drug is for these patients.”

Carrie Fisher Causes Of Death Released; What Is Sleep Apnea And How Can It Affect Your Health?

Carrie Fisher died from sleep apnea, among other factors, according to a statement from the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office. Although she was open about her struggle with drugs and there were signs of use, the medical examiner could not conclude whether they played a role in her death last December.


Therefore, her manner of death will be listed as undetermined, the Associated Press reported.

It came as no surprise to her family that LSD and other drugs she said she used may have played a role in her death. “I am not shocked that part of her health was affected by drugs,” her brother, Todd Fisher, told The Guardian. “If you want to know what killed her, it’s all of it.”

One of the more surprising factors is sleep apnea. Here’s what you need to know about the serious sleep disorder that played a role in the death of the 60-year-old Star Wars actress.

What is Sleep Apnea?

It’s an often undiagnosed disorder that causes you to start and stop breathing, or have shallow breaths while you sleep, according to the National Institutes of Health. The short or stopped breaths can happen 30 times or more during an hour. There are three main types of the disorder: obstructive sleep apnea, central sleep apnea, and complex sleep apnea syndrome. The most common form of the condition, obstructive sleep apnea, causes the airway to relax or become blocked during sleep. It can affect anyone, but it’s most common in people who are overweight, male, or have a family history of the disorder.

Signs And Symptoms

The signs vary depending on the type of sleep apnea a person has. One of the most distinct signs of obstructive sleep apnea is loud snoring or choking, which signals that normal breathing is starting again. Other common signs include awakening with a dry mouth or sore throat, morning headache, insomnia, hypersomnia, attention problems, and irritability. It’s a common problem that affects more than 18 million Americans, according to the National Sleep Foundation. If left untreated, it can lead to other serious health issues.

“What you die of is not the sleep apnea,” John Bouzis, a dentist who works with sleep specialists, told The Washington Post. “You die of the cardiovascular disease. You die of the stroke. You die of the pulmonary problems … Sleep apnea is a time bomb.”

National Men’s Health Week

Take action to be healthy and safe and encourage men and boys in your life to make their health a priority. Learn about steps men can take each day to improve health.

Three men

Celebrate National Men’s Health Week, June 12-18, 2017.

Get Good Sleep

Adults need between 7-9 hours of sleep. Insufficient sleep is associated with a number of chronic diseases and conditions, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, and depression. Also, poor sleep is responsible for motor vehicle and machinery-related accidents.

Toss out the Tobacco

It’s never too late to quit. Quitting smoking has immediate and long-term benefits. It improves your health and lowers your risk of heart disease, cancer, lung disease, and other smoking-related illnesses.
Also avoid secondhand smoke. Inhaling other people’s smoke causes health problems similar to those that smokers have. Babies and kids are still growing, so the poisons in secondhand smoke hurt them more than adults.

Move More

Adults need at least 2½ hours of moderate-intensity aerobic activity every week, and muscle strengthening activities that work all major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders, and arms) on two or more days a week. You don’t have to do it all at once. Spread your activity out during the week, and break it into smaller amounts of time during the day.

Eat Healthy

Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables every day. Fruits and vegetables have many vitamins and minerals that may help protect you from chronic diseases. Limit foods and drinks high in calories, sugar, salt, fat, and alcohol.

Tame Stress

Sometimes stress can be good. However, it can be harmful when it is severe enough to make you feel overwhelmed and out of control. Take care of yourself. Avoid drugs and alcohol. Find support. Connect socially. Stay active.

Stay on Top of Your Game

Pay attention to signs and symptoms such as chest pain, shortness of breath, excessive thirst, and problems with urination. If you have these or symptoms of any kind, be sure to see your doctor or nurse. Don’t wait!

Keep track of your numbers for blood pressure, blood glucose, cholesterol, body mass index (BMI), or any others you may have. If your numbers are high or low, your doctor or nurse can explain what they mean and suggest how you can get them to a healthier range. Be sure to ask him or her what tests you need and how often you need them.

Get vaccinated. Everyone needs immunizations to stay healthy, no matter how old you are. Even if you had vaccines as a child, immunity can fade with time. Vaccine recommendations are based on a variety of factors, including age, overall health, and your medical history.


Alzheimer’s Brain: Why Many Neurodegenerative Disease Patients Wander Around Lost

More than five million Americans have Alzheimer’s Disease, according to the Alzheimer’s Association, and many of those people will at some point experience disorientation and wander, in addition to memory loss. But doctors at the Columbia University Medical Center report in a new study that they found the cause for this wandering behavior, which could lead them to new treatments.

Researchers trace the issue back to the Entorhinal (EC) Cortex, which is a part of the brain that helps with memory and navigation. This area is one of the first to be affected by the tangles of tau proteins, a distinct characteristic of the disease, according to a Columbia press release.


Research Co-author Karen E. Duff, PhD and professor of pathology & cell biology at the Taub Institute for Research on Alzheimer’s Disease and the Aging Brain at Columbia, studied grid cells in mice for the experiment. These cells are responsible for creating an internal map that helps us navigate our surroundings by firing in response to movement. Duff and her colleagues monitored mice that had tau proteins and those that did not. They found that mice with tau proteins in their EC cortex had a more difficult time getting around than those without, indicating that it is in fact the proteins that hamper our internal roadmaps and potentially cause wandering in Alzheimer’s patients.

“Our findings suggest that it may be possible to develop navigation-based cognitive tests for diagnosing Alzheimer’s disease in its initial stages,” said Duff in the press release. “And if we can diagnose the disease early, we can start to give therapeutics earlier, when they may have a greater impact.”

While there are still so many unknowns when it comes to Alzheimer’s, this research is significant as it’s the first to show a relationship between grid cells and the disease, according to Edvard E. Moser, who was not involved with the study, but heads up Norwegian University of Science and Technology’s Kavli Institute for Systems Neuroscience.

“These findings will be crucial for future attempts to understand the development of early Alzheimer’s disease symptoms, including the tendency to wander and get lost,” he said in the release.

Columbia researchers are hopeful that the latest will help further Alzheimer’s treatments. According to the university, three in five patients wander, which is dangerous and frightening for both families and patients. Possible future treatments include deep-brain stimulation and light-based therapy.

Alzheimer’s Disease 2016: 5 Breakthrough Discoveries For Treating Brain Disorder

Every minute in the United States another person is diagnosed with the progressive, life-threatening brain disorder known as Alzheimer’s disease. With more than 5 million adults living with the disease today, neuroscience researchers work to explore new treatment options with the hope of discovering a cure or learning how to prevent the disease altogether.

Alzheimer's Disease

Alzheimer’s disease continues to stump neuroscientists, but researchers are still working toward a way to prevent or treat the brain disorder.

Alzheimer’s is growing fast; the number of Americans aged 65 and older with the disease is predicted to triple by the year 2050. The disease is an irreversible disorder that slowly destroys memory and thinking skills, and results in brain damage a decade before memory and cognitive problems occur, according to the National Institute on Aging. Its devastating consequences have inspired researchers around the world to search for answers. Read on to learn of five breakthroughs in our understanding of the disease in 2016.

1. Diet and Exercise

Eating well and clocking in a healthy level of physical activity each day may be enough to reduce the brain damaging protein linked to Alzheimer’s disease. The most recent findings were discovered by a team of researchers at UCLA’s Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior.

They found that out of 44 adults suffering from memory problems, those who had a healthy body mass index, were physically active, and followed a diet closest to the Mediterranean diet had the lowest levels of plaque buildup in their brain, according to a study which will appear in the September 2016 issue of American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry.

“The fact that we could detect this influence of lifestyle at a molecular level before the beginning of serious memory problems surprised us,” said the study’s lead author Dr. David Merrill, in a statement.

2. Marijuana

Compounds found in marijuana may be able to remove amyloid beta — a toxic protein in the brain linked to Alzheimer’s disease. Knowing that amyloid beta speeds up the rate at which neurons die, (ultimately the reason why Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease), researchers grew neurons in a lab and exposed them to marijuana’s active ingredient tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

Their findings, published in the journal Aging and Mechanisms of Disease, revealed the THC was able to lower levels of amyloid beta protein, which protected the neurons from dying. The research team’s next step is to conduct the same experiment in animals and eventually people.

3. Menstrual Pain Drug

A team of researchers from The University of Manchester discovered a routine anti-inflammatory drug mefenamic acid, most often used for period pain, is able to treat memory loss and brain inflammation in mice. For the study, published in the journal Nature Communications, researchers treated one group of mice that were suffering from memory loss with mefenamic acid and a second group of mice with a placebo. Because the acid was able to relieve significant inflammation, researchers want to move forward to test the drug on humans.

“Until now, no drug has been available to target this pathway, so we are very excited by this result,” said the study’s author Dr. David Brough, an immunology and neuroscience researcher at The University of Manchester.

4. Personalized Treatment Plans

What if patients with early signs of Alzheimer’s could halt the disease’s progression before it got worse? Researchers from Buck Institute Research on Aging teamed up with UCLA’s Neurodegenerative Disease Research Lab to test a 36-point personalized system on patients. They found that by tailoring treatment through diet, brain stimulation, exercise, sleep hygiene, pharmaceuticals and vitamins, researchers were able to show improvements in patients like never before.

The discovery, published in the journal Aging, demonstrates through MRI scans and memory tests, a dramatic 10-month improvement thanks to lifestyle changes and drug therapy. Researchers said although the “magnitude of improvement is unprecedented” they still need to carry out further testing on a larger number of patients.

5. Antibiotics

What does a healthy gut have to do with dying brain cells? A new study, published in the journal of Scientific Reports on July 2016, found feeding mice antibiotics over 5 to 6 months led to a two-fold decrease in amyloid peptide plaque in the brain. Accumulation of amyloid peptides and inflammation is linked to the onset of Alzheimer’s disease, but is also responsible for certain immune system functions. By decreasing levels of the amyloid peptides, researchers saw a dramatic improvement in the brain, ultimately slowing down the disease’s progression.

Alzheimer’s Disease: Vaccine Prevents Tau Protein Buildup To Stop The Disorder In Its Tracks

Alzheimer’s disease is a devastating, incurable illness affecting an estimated 5.4 million American adults. However, a new study suggests that a vaccine for the condition could become a reality in as little as five years, and may one day become as much of a fixture in the lives of our aging population as the common flu shot.


The study comes from researchers at Flinders University in Adelaide Australia in partnership with a ­research team at the Institute of Molecular Medicine, and University of California, Irvine. Although the exact pathology of Alzheimer’s is not clear, scientists know that two proteins in the brain, amyloid-beta (a-beta) and tau, play an important role. When these proteins die, they can build up into plaques and block connections between brain nerve cells. Autopsies have shown that these plaques are always present in the brains of deceased Alzheimer’s patients, although Medical News Today reported that it is not clear if there are other underlying processes also contributing to the disease. The vaccine would address this protein buildup.

“Essentially what we have designed is a vaccine that makes the immune system produce antibodies and those antibodies act like tow trucks so they come to your driveway, they latch on to the breakdown protein or car and they pull it out of the driveway,” said Flinders University medicine professor Nikolai Petrovsky, ABC News reported.

In animal studies, the antibodies work best to block a-beta before the subjects have developed the disease. Interestingly, the antibodies are effective at reversing the buildup of tau proteins once the disease has already progressed. At this moment, the vaccine is still not yet ready for human trials, but according to Petrovsky, “given the demand for a vaccine, if we show it is successful in the early stages we expect this will be pulled through and turned into product very, very quickly.”

According to Medical News Today, someone in the U.S. develops Alzheimer’s disease every 67 seconds. The condition is considered to be a form of dementia, and 1 in 3 seniors die with Alzheimer’s or another dementia. The condition is degenerative, meaning that it progresses over time. Memory loss is a common early sign of Alzheimer’s disease, but challenges in problem solving, confusion with time, trouble writing and speaking, and difficulty completing tasks are also present in many in the early stages of Alzheimer’s.

Although there is no clear way to prevent the disease, recent research has suggested that eating blueberriesmay help to lower your risk. The research, conducted by a team from The University of Cincinnati, found that anthocyanins, a type of flavonoid that acts as an antioxidant within the fruit that gives the berry its rich color, help to prevent age-related damage at the cellular level within the plants and may do the same in humans. The researchers gave seniors with signs of mild cognitive impairments blueberry-rich diets and found the group demonstrated improved memory and improved access to words and concepts compared to the control group.

In addition to preventing Alzheimer’s, early detection is also very important. Just this month, researchers at the University of Minnesota teamed up with CytoViva, an Alabama-based imaging technology company, to reveal their research on an eye test that could help to detect Alzheimer’s before the onset of physical symptoms.

At the moment, the problem with the experimental Alzheimer’s vaccine is not making sure the vaccine works, but ensuring that it is strong enough to actually make a difference in a patient’s health. However, if this hurdle is addressed then the vaccine could be used as a preventative treatment in as little as five years and be given to people at around 50 years of age when they are perfectly fine to stop them developing dementia, The Australian reported.

Source: Davtyan H, Zagorski K, Rajapaksha H, et al. Alzheimer’s Disease AdvaxCpG- Adjuvanted MultiTEP-Based Dual and Single Vaccines Induce High-Titer Antibodies Against Various Forms of Tau and Aβ Pathological Molecules. Nature’s Scientific Reports. 2016.

This Is What Alzheimer’s Disease Does To The Brain, From Shrinkage To Inflammation


Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a progressive brain disease and the 6th leading cause of death in the U.S. While symptoms of AD such as memory loss and impaired judgement are widely recognized, we know less about what the disease does to the brain. Science still has a long way to go when it comes to understanding AD, but here’s what we know so far.

Cell Death And Disruptions

Alzheimer’s disease is characterized by the formation of “plaques” and “tangles” in the brain. According to The National Institutes of Health, these protein buildups can impair connections between nerve cells called neurons, and even cause neuron death. In normal brain tissue, a protein called tau stabilizes microtubules, a key part of cell structure. But in a brain with AD, protein strands become tangled, making it difficult to transport key nutrients throughout the brain. Without nutrients, brain cells will die.

These disrupted connections and cell deaths cause many of AD’s characteristic symptoms. Scientists still aren’t sure whether plaque buildups and tangles cause AD, or whether the irregular clusters occur as the disease progresses, Healthline reported.

In addition to memory, learning and thinking skills also requier efficient transmissions between brain cells. Disruptions and deaths of brain cells also causes impairments in these two critical functions.

Brain Shrinkage

In addition, AD can cause the surface layer that covers the cerebrum to shrink. This shrinkage can directly affect a patient’s ability to plan ahead, recall facts, and concentrate.

Unsurprisingly, this brain damage often starts in the hippocampus, the area of the brain associated with memory formation, The NIH reported. Increased cell death and disconnection in the hippocampus can cause brain tissue to shrink substantially, eventually affecting brain function. However, researchers believe that this initial damage can begin as early as a decade before any symptoms start.

While AD causes the shrinkage of many parts of the brain, the ventricles, or chamber within the brain that contains cerebrospinal fluid, become noticeably enlarged, Bright Focus reported. This gives the brain of a person with AD a distinctive and different look than that of a healthy brain.

Inflammatory Response

The brain’s immune system recognizes brain cell death as injury. As a result, it causes an inflammatory reaction. Although inflammation is meant to protect the body against infection, the longer it goes on the more likely it is to cause damage to healthy cells. According to The Dana Foundation, chronic inflammation caused by AD can further damage brain cells.

Some scientists even suggest that inflammation in the brain may be a trigger for AD, as having a head injury in the past can increase the risk of developing this condition. In addition, systemic infection, which also causes inflammation, accelerates the disease, while other studies show that older people who use anti-inflammatory drugs regularly have significantly lower rates of Alzheimer’s.

Brush Your Teeth To Save Your Heart: Oral Infections Increase Inflammation In Cardiovascular Disease

Dental care

Dental careMaintaining good oral hygiene is key to preventing heart disease, stroke, and other chronic illnesses.

It’s well established that keeping your teeth clean and your gums healthy not only benefits your smile, but has a huge impact on your overall health. Now, a new study published in Trends in Endocrinology and Metabolism reminds us of the importance of oral health — particularly when it comes to heart disease.

The authors of the study found that oral infections and mouth bacteria can increase your risk of cardiovascular disease and inflammation. Oral infections like cavities and periodontal diseases (gingivitis, periodontitis) are the most common diseases among humans, and they are all chronic inflammatory diseases. Past research has highlighted the link between poor oral health and increased risk of cardiovascular disease, and it has also been associated with a higher risk of stroke, especially among men.

Oral infections often allow bacteria to travel through the bloodstream to the heart and arteries, increasing cholesterol and triggering inflammation.

“Given the high prevalence of oral infections, any risk they contribute to future cardiovascular disease is important to public health,” Thomas Van Dyke of the Forsyth Institute, an author of the study, said in the press release. “Unraveling the role of the oral microbiome and inflammation in cardiovascular disease will likely lead to new preventive and treatment approaches.”

The authors of the study tried to examine the best therapeutic avenues to treat both periodontitis, which is inflammatory, and cardiovascular disease. They found that a high dose of a cholesterol-lowering medicine known as atorvastatin, which increases the anti-inflammatory molecules lipoxins and resolvins in the blood, was effective at controlling both periodontal and cardiovascular inflammation.

“New discoveries of natural pathways that resolve inflammation have offered many opportunities for revealing insights into disease pathogenesis and for developing new pharmacologic targets for the treatment of both oral infections and cardiovascular disease,” Van Dyke said in the press release.

It’s often easy to see your teeth and mouth as separate of sorts from the rest of your body, but the reality is that they are intimately linked. As Dr. Kesavalu Lakshmyya, an author of a study on periodonotitis and heart disease, told The Telegraph. “The mouth is the gateway to the body.”

Periodontitis is a gum infection that destroys the soft tissue as well as the bone that supports your teeth. It can become serious if left untreated and may ultimately lead to tooth loss, but the funny thing is that it’s incredibly easy to prevent; it’s usually the result of poor oral hygiene. So if you needed a better reason to start brushing your teeth with more dedication, this is it.

“The majority of diseases and conditions of aging, including obesity and type 2 diabetes, have a major inflammatory component that can be made worse by the presence of periodontitis,” Van Dyke said. “Periodontitis is not just a dental disease, and it should not be ignored, as it is a modifiable risk factor.”

Source: Kholy K, Genco R, Van Dyke T. Oral infections and cardiovascular disease. Trends in Endocrinology and Metabolism. 2015.

Depression Not Just A Mental Illness; It’s A Systemic Disease That Affects The Entire Body

For those living with it, depression can be all-consuming. It casts a haze over work, relationships, and everyday social interactions, affecting every aspect of a person’s life. People often think depression solely affects the mind because it’s classified as a mental disorder. A new study has shown, however, that depression is more like a systemic disease that affects the entire body.


A team of researchers led by the University of Granada decided to study what happens to the entire body of people who suffer from depression, and focused on stress factors. They conducted a meta-analysis, incorporating 29 previous studies composed of over 3,900 people. The researchers, led by Granada PhD student Sara Jiménez-Fernández, compared patients with depression to healthy controls before and after treatment.

The study, the first work of its kind, found that depression causes an imbalance in the body’s cells called oxidative stress. After receiving the usual treatment for depression, the patients’ levels of malondialdehyde, a biomarker signaling cell deterioration and indicator for oxidative stress, significantly declined from a previously elevated state — so much so that they were indistinguishable from healthy individuals. Zinc and uric acid levels,which drop during times of oxidative stress, also rose until reaching normal levels.

Though this is the first time scientists have shown depression is a systemic disease rather than just a mental one, depression patients have always complained of physical symptoms. Those suffering from depression have commonly reported both insomnia and oversleeping, along with chronic fatigue and decreased appetite for both food and sex.

The results, published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, could explain the significant association between depression and other ailments, including cardiovascular diseases and cancer. It could also shed light on why depression patients tend to have shorter lifespans than non-depressed people.

Source: Jiménez-Fernández S, Gurpegui M, Diaz-Atienza F, Perez Costillas L, Gerstenberg M, Correll C. Oxidative Stress and Antioxidant Parameters in Patients With Major Depressive Disorder Compared to healthy Controls Before and After Antidepressant Treatment: Results From a Meta-Analysis. The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry. 2016.