By Steve Sharpton, Parsons Training Center, Tucson, Arizona
July 24, 2016
Needless to say, it has been a nauseating week. Now I could go on forever about the ridiculous spectacle that was the Republican National Convention, but I’m not going to take it that far. At least not for the time being. Needless to say, there was a reason why I was entertaining the idea of going offline for a couple weeks as the sport-like debacle of political conventions sparked the total conscious of people throughout the country. It is really something to behold when you have idiot politicians making it sound like our country is a war zone when the crime statistics in just about every category is going down (look it up!!!). But that is the intention of politics and media in general in this country. It is no longer politics but sports to most people. And I’m sure the powers that be will start polishing their microscopes as football season starts to loom into view, and the strange questions how the New York Giants will be this year are starting crop up. Honestly, I don’t know. I’ve maybe watched a couple football games the two years I let my cable go by the wayside and live a television free life. I honestly don’t even know the roster very well besides my boy, Eli Manning. It was kind of funny, but I didn’t even watch the Super Bowl last year. So yeah, my knowledge of sports is starting to dissipate a little. If anything, these next couple weeks are rather interesting to me. While people clamor and post and claim their are patriots for whatever cause they might be representing, I actually want to look at things which can affect the health of our country in more ways than you can imagine. Thursday I talked about one of my favorite subjects, that being diabetes. Since then, I stumbled across a couple of good articles that helped me reiterate some points about what I was writing about. One of them was about being vigilant in regards to your blood sugar and disposition to diabetes, for there are some instances where being lean and unable to gain any weight might lead to some diabetes-like health problems. http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/26/health/skinny-fat.html?_r=0 Of course, this is a rare situation in relation to the issue, but it can happen. But the most startling assessment is pretty much everyone has some potential to gain heart disease due to obesity, blood pressure or blood sugar. I did see a good little article about certain types of nuts that can help manage Type 2 diabetes provided you are struggling with that problem. http://www.hindustantimes.com/health-and-fitness/eat-walnuts-soybeans-to-efficiently-manage-diabetes/story-surzjBixurFrAZtQbwxWLO.html So yeah, there is some news circulating this week which pertain to the real world, not the sculpted fantasy of those who salivate over the “scandals” of politics. But today is the beginning of a new week, so what else is happening in the world in regards to the health of America?
Well, if you can believe it…there was actually a story about men’s health!!! I know, I know, this is such a misogynist thing to imply, but let’s face it….the only time men’s health is mentioned is when it comes to stupid pills to give us more “energy” and more “vitality” in our day to day lives. Can’t they just say it is magic juice for flaccid men? Or highly dangerous drugs with multiple side effects because you didn’t take care of yourself and suddenly your marriage or relationships are wrecked because you can’t…um….salute? Yes, it is a hideous double standard in regards to the advertising, showing us commercials of manly men unable to do certain tasks and then at the end, suddenly can? Anyway, before I go down a very deep and controversial rabbit hole, let’s just say this a subject that always kind of bothers me. Men’s health is not exactly something our society is ultimately concerned with, mainly due to the fact more men are willing to use dangerous treatments rather than make simple changes to their lives. I’ll admit, this was me a good five or six years ago. I figured when I was desperate and ready to accept my mortality, science and then having some kind of desire to extend my life will take some precedence in my life. I figured 50 would be a good marker, for when I first started thinking about this, I figured a good 20 years of bad living would be left in my system. Fortunately I kind of pulled my head out of my butt in time. This past weekend when I was helping my father out with a little task, someone I had never met before started learning a little about my past. I went a little too much on the information, speaking of my eating before I would show up for work and how much money I would spend. When I told his friend that I could easily eat 14 or 15 bucks worth of food from Taco Bell, his eyes perked up. Yup, when you make that kind of statement, especially before the recent price hikes Taco Bell has done, and you know someone had a real eating problem.
Anyway, men’s health beyond sexual dysfunction is always something I seek out in regards to blog material, for I myself am getting older and need to start counting down the days I have to do a dreaded prostate exam. For men, when you start talking about the prostate, it is pretty much the equivalent to women talking about breast cancer. It is something we should all be weary of, for the majority of men can survive the problem if it is discovered early enough. Now when you think about it, there has not been much to say about prostate cancer in recent years, until this past week of course. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/michael-lazar/advanced-prostate-cancer_b_11153998.html Buried under the ridiculous rhetoric of the Republican National Convention, another actual news story came out. Turns out prostate cancer has been a much bigger problem over the past decade than we could have ever imagined. Due to lack of testing or simple ignorance of doctors, prostate cancer diagnosis has made a 72% jump, including 92% in the most vulnerable group…the 55-69 group. It is kind of strange something like this would not get much notice, but that just goes to show too many men might be getting geared up for their fantasy football season or too busy watching the sports-errr, news casts of the evening. But it is most likely because of another reason….the information is faulty. So faulty that even the American Cancer Society called the study “misguided epidemiology,” or in lay speak…total outlandish poppycock (sorry, still trying to reach my inner Scotsman in regards to insults).
It only took a couple days for some sanity to brought into the equation, for plenty of scientists stepped in to note the math and the findings might be off due to poor research assessment or worse yet, bad research meant to be click bait. http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/21/health/advanced-prostate-cancer-false-alarm.html?_r=0 I have to tell you one thing, when I saw the info for the first article earlier this week, I was ready to lower the boom on a great blog post. But alas, a lot of things change when you least expect it, and this was a bit of a surprise. Now there are some truths to the first article. There is an issue of doctors talking men out of doing full prostate exams (most likely due to the discomfort of it for all parties) but this is not possibly leading to a proposed explosion in the diagnosis rate. Now, here are the raw numbers. Nearly 800,000 thousand men were screened for this study. In 2004 when the study started, 1,685 men were diagnosed with early signs of prostate cancer, which isn’t too bad when you think about it. That is a percentage rate of .002 of all men in the study. Now, according to the raw numbers in 2013, the number jumped to 2,890, which is where everyone is getting this 72% increase that some of he news outlets have been running with. When done numerically, that is roughly .003% of men within the study.
The initial troubles with this study and subsequent lambasting has been the misuse of “rates” as opposed to raw “likelihood,” which the researchers involved kind of screwed up in regards to the study. Now it may seem weird to make such a hubbub over small numbers, but remember, I was pointing a half a percentage point change as a big deal earlier this week in regards to diabetes rates for teenagers. I found it interesting in regards to the response, arguing over rates and likelihoods like most men would argue about the validity of the designated hitter (which I freaking support, we don’t need to see crappy pitchers flail!). Now of course, one big reason why so many people are scared to really get on board with this is the fact prostate treatment might not always be necessary, which is why some expert groups are going against the idea of increased screening. The problem being this…that too many men might get operations they might not need, and of course, this could lead to impotence and incontinence. So yeah, being flaccid and having to wear a diaper is something most men would not want to deal with. Now the controversy is being drummed up in regards to the screening, and would your life really be worth losing because of possible sexual dysfunction as a result? I don’t think so. If anything, the sloppiness of the study is pointing out something that men should be demanding….why are we being so stupid in regards to “our” disease? Yeah, it is weird to get checked, it is uncomfortable and such, but c’mon! If women can deal with breast exams, then we can deal with prostate exams (coming from a guy that has yet to have one. hehe).
Of course, there is an easier way to help yourself and the future of your own personal dignity. Yup, is there ever really any other way to do it! Just eat better! Exercise more! Maintain a healthier weight! One of the main issues with prostate cancer is your risk is increased by the amount of heavy fats you ingest later in your life. So yeah, you might need to stop eating those ribs or that chicken fried bacon (or just not eat it all together). You might need to stop eating the massive pizzas and the heavy burritos. None of this stuff is rocket science or even that groundbreaking. Listen gentleman, we hate being told what to do and we hate eating stuff that is good for us because we’re “men,” but in my opinion, do you really want to have to deal with this crap later on your life? Right now, I feel I have met a good balance in my life in regards to health and nutrition. While I am struggling with the heat once again, trying too get a much more heavier workout schedule, staying on top of this is essential. I witnessed a near 60-year-old man make the effort to get to his training yesterday despite not being all there in regards to rest. He made the effort and he will be better for it. Heck, I am making the effort in my running as well, for the heat may be bugging the heck out of me but I am getting used to the idea of trudging along in near 100-degree weather. Listen, it’s hard, I know it, but it is essential to our lives.
Final and foremost, I always harp about the fact too many men in this country only decide to get healthy when they feel it is mutually convenient for them. That’s something that needs to change…the sooner the better.And yes, it will be hard so to speak, but it is better than having a lifetime dependency on pills and treatments when it mostly takes a little bit of self control and dedication.
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Steve, a Parsons Training Client, went from 400 pounds to Running half-marathons, from lifting pizzas to lifting hundreds of pounds through training with us.
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