Male (and Female) Problems

Are the physical problems of men different from women? Not much! Both men and women are victims of atherosclerosis (clogging of the arteries). Men often have events that are consequences of this earlier in life than women, such as heart attacks and strokes. Even after menopause, when women’s death rate from heart disease increases, it’s not as great as men’s.

“Tom” is a 42-year-old man, sent to me by a cardiologist. He had already had a minor heart attack and was diagnosed with three-vessel diffuse coronary disease. This means there were multiple small lesions clogging the blood vessels. The doctors could only offer him a by-pass surgery every five years. His treadmill test showed that he had decreased blood flow to the heart muscles. He also had high cholesterol. After working with me for six months, his treadmill test was normal and he went back to jogging without chest pain. This does not mean his blood vessels are now perfectly clear. But it most likely does mean that we were able to increase the openings in the blood vessels by at least ten percent. A ten percent increase in the diameter of a blood vessel doubles the blood flow through that vessel. And this may be a sufficient increase for his latest treadmill test to show that there is now adequate blood flow to the muscles of the heart during exercise.

“John” is a 70-year-old retired professor who had single vessel coronary disease. He came looking for alternatives to invasive treatments. After seven months of treatment, his treadmill test and cholesterol returned to normal. Simply put, clogged arteries are caused initially by damage to the arterial wall. This damage is caused by “oxidative stress” from chemical compounds coming into the body and others that are made by the body itself. Most people know that cigarette smoking, for example, increases the rate of clogged arteries.

This is because the smoke contains not only tar and nicotine, but also additives from the cigarette companies, plus the pesticides and herbicides sprayed on the leaves of the tobacco plants, which in turn may include heavy metals such as arsenic! Other toxins include air pollution, water pollution, pesticides and herbicides in foods, alcohol, household chemicals, work chemicals, new construction, new carpet, new paint, office machines, and on and on. The list is seemingly endless.

These chemicals also cause changes in male hormones. When there is an excess of chemicals in the liver, including alcohol, testosterone can be changed into estrogen. Yes, men also have estrogen but in small quantities. The balance of estrogen to testosterone can change in this situation when too much testosterone is converted to estrogen in the liver. This creates a relative deficit of testosterone. When testosterone is low, men may experience a lack of goal orientation, reduced sexual drive, erectile dysfunction, moodiness, decrease in muscle mass and even, over time, osteoporosis.

“Alan” is a 42-year-old busy corporate executive who came to me with complaints of fatigue, weight gain, irritability, reduced sexual drive, and high cholesterol. Alan was not a heavy drinker, but on average had two drinks with dinner each night. When we measured his testosterone levels, they were slightly low but his estrogen levels were very high. After four months of treatment, Alan was smiling. Everything was working again, as it is intended to work!

Ulcers and indigestion are also far too common in men.

“Paul,” a retired insurance agent came to me with the complaint of having a “stomach ache every day for the last five years!” He was taking standard acid-lowering medication, but this was only partially effective. He still had to lie down for at least 2-3 hours per day because of the high level of discomfort.

Because this patient was so miserable, I immediately prescribed a low food allergy diet for him. He had trouble believing that food allergies could be the source of his problem, but he was willing to try anything after years of daily pain. Two weeks later,

Paul was back in my office, reporting with great pleasure that he had had only one stomachache since our last visit-and that was after the single time he strayed from his diet!! He was pleased and very excited, and was able to put aside his acid-lowering medication. Not only does he feel great, but also he now has the benefit of having stomach acid again. Stomach acid is very important for digestion. It helps break down proteins; the acid tips off the pancreas to produce digestive enzymes, and the acid kills some of the swallowed bad bacteria and parasites. Paul’s energy has increased and he is really starting to enjoy his retirement.

And so there are two messages in all of this: both my male and female patients are unique, wonderful in their own ways, no gender more or less compliant than the other, or more troublesome or cooperative. Each man and woman is searching for good health, and it is an honor for me to be their guide.

The second message is that there is always hope, as these brief case histories suggest. Hard as it may seem to be, you can stop smoking, lower your blood pressure and high blood cholesterol, lose weight, and engage in an active life style that will serve you well on many levels.

Do you doubt any of this is true? Come see me! Let’s talk about it.