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Impotent Men Should be Evaluated for Heart Attack Risk

A review of the medical literature shows that the onset of the inability to achieve or sustain an erection in middle-aged men often precedes a heart attack by about three years (European Heart Journal, 04/24/2013, published online ahead of print).

The Same Factors That Cause Impotence also Cause Heart Attacks

Impotence and heart attacks share many of the same risk factors as the most common cause of both is damage to the inner lining of arteries (Rev Med Brux, 2007 Sep;28(4):360-6). Most men who become impotent as they age suffer from arteriosclerosis, and have high blood sugar and cholesterol and high blood pressure, and are at increased risk for diabetes and heart attacks (J. Sex Med, 2005 Jan;2(1):40-52). If arteriosclerosis is the cause of your impotence, you need to follow every lifestyle change recommended for people who are at increased risk for heart attacks.

Impotence can also be caused by:

• anything that damages blood vessels or nerves or affects hormone levels (testosterone, prolactin, thyroid);

• any chronic disease;

• lifestyle factors such as cigarette smoking, alcohol or drug abuse, or being obese;

• nerve diseases or spinal cord injury;

• emotional diseases such as depression; or

various drugs.

Treatment Requires Far More than Statin Drugs

173 middle-aged men who became impotent after age 30 were treated either with a statin drug to lower cholesterol (40 mg simvastatin) or placebo once daily for six months. The men taking simvastatin lowered their bad LDL cholesterol, but they did not regain their ability to achieve and sustain erections (British Journal of Urology Int, Feb 2013;111(2):324-33). Treatment recommendations


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Roundup May Be Harmful

A study from MIT shows that the herbicide Roundup may be a cause of many diseases associated with our Western diet such as stomach and intestinal disorders, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, depression, autism, infertility, cancer and Alzheimer's disease (Entropy 2013, 15(4), 1416-1463). Roundup contains the chemical Glyphosate. It is the most popular and probably the most effective herbicide used worldwide. Glyphosate from Roundup is found throughout our food supply, primarily in sugar, corn, soy and wheat.

This study shows that Glyphosate blocks cytochrome P450, an enzyme in the human liver that breaks down many of the toxic components in food to keep them from harming you. For example, blocking cytochrome P450 markedly increases damage to your body from other herbicides and insecticides that may remain on the foods that we eat.

The authors state that the damage "on the body is insidious and manifests slowly over time as inflammation damages cellular systems throughout the body". Blocking the cytochrome P450 enzymes prevents intestinal bacteria from making the amino acid building blocks that form protein in our bodies, and prevents the body from making many sulfate-containing chemicals that control reactions that are necessary for your body to function normally.


Air Pollution Increases Risk for Heart Attacks and Cancers

Air pollution appears to be a possible cause of heart attacks by increasing plaques in arteries. Researchers used ultrasound tests on more than 5,000 men and women in six metropolitan areas, and showed that those living in the most polluted cities had the thickest plaques in their arteries (PLoS Medicine, April 2013). The higher the concentration of fine particulates in polluted air, the greater the formation of plaques in arteries. Reduction of particulate air pollution is associated with reduced thickness of plaques.

Ten years ago, the American Heart Association published a list on how air pollution can cause heart attacks (Circulation, 2004;109:2655-2671): increased clotting, irregular heart beats, sudden constriction of arteries, inflammation (turning on your immune system), and markedly increasing the formation of plaques in arteries.

Air pollution also increases risk for breast cancer. A study of 383 postmenopausal women shows that older women who live in the most-polluted areas of a city suffer double the incidence of breast cancer compared to women living in the least polluted areas (Environ Health Perspect, Nov 2010;118(11):1578-1583).

This week's medical history:
Freud and Dreams

For a complete list of my medical history biographies go to Histories and Mysteries


Recipe of the Week:

Artichoke-Wild Rice Salad

You'll find lots of recipes and helpful tips in The Good Food Book
- it's FREE

May 12th, 2013
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About the Author: Gabe Mirkin, MD

Sports medicine doctor, fitness guru and long-time radio host Gabe Mirkin, M.D., brings you news and tips for your healthful lifestyle. A practicing physician for more than 50 years and a radio talk show host for 25 years, Dr. Mirkin is a graduate of Harvard University and Baylor University College of Medicine. He is board-certified in four specialties: Sports Medicine, Allergy and Immunology, Pediatrics and Pediatric Immunology. The Dr. Mirkin Show, his call-in show on fitness and health, was syndicated in more than 120 cities. Read More
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