Male Health News July 2016
At least one hour of exercise needed to offset day at your desk
The risk of premature death is increased by up to 60% by sitting for at least eight hours a day, according to a major study published in the Lancet.
As reported across multiple news outlets including the Telegraph, Guardian and BBC News, recent research has underlined the health risks of sedentary lifestyles, often perpetuated by desk jobs. However, lead author Professor Ulf Ekelund outlined that at least one hour of physical activity per day, “for example brisk walking or bike cycling” even spread out through the day will combat this risk. The research which studied over 1 million people took into account the impact of sedentary lifestyles on the risk of coronary heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, breast cancer and colon cancer. As identified by the authors, the true cost of physical inactivity could be even higher.
This research again highlights the need for everyone to maintain an active lifestyle. Indeed, it can be better to go above and beyond this ‘one hour outset’ if you do have a job that involves sitting down for much of the day, to maximise the health benefits for this. Why not check out our July blog for ideas on how best to fit exercise into your day?
(29th July 2016)
Study finds alcohol is a direct cause of seven cancer types
Research published in the journal Addiction discounts the health benefits of alcohol as irrelevant, and links alcohol consumption directly to seven types of cancer.
Professor Jennie Connor of the University of Otago, New Zealand, conducted a meta-analysis of research studies from the last 10 years focussed on alcohol and cancer deaths. As reported by the Guardian and the Telegraph newspapers, her findings show that alcohol consumption is a direct cause of cancer of the larynx, oesophagus, liver, breast, mouth and throat, colon and breast. Connor also said that the evidence suggests that alcohol is also likely to cause other cancers including prostate, pancreatic and skin cancers.
The impact of drinking alcohol was described by Connor as a “dose-response relationship”. In other words, the more one drinks, the higher the risk, but a “considerable” risk remains for people who only drink in moderation.
It can be difficult to cut down on drinking, particularly if this is something you enjoy. Dr Jana Witt, Cancer Research UK’s health information officer, was quoted offering advice: “having some alcohol-free days each week is a good way to cut down on the amount you’re drinking”. Witt also suggested people “try swapping every other alcoholic drink for a soft drink, choosing smaller servings or less alcoholic version of drinks, and not keeping a stock of booze at home.” For more information and advice, see site such as DrinkAware, Cancer Research UK and NHS Choices.
(22nd July 2016)
Obese men are three times more likely to die early than obese women
Reseachers in the Global BMI Morality Collaboration undertook a massive data analysis from studies undertaken across the world on a total of 3.9 million adults. As reported by the Guardian, Dr Emanuele Di Angelantonio, the lead author from Cambridge University said: “on average, overweight people lose about one year of life expectancy and moderately obese people lose about three years.” Being overweight was also associated more strongly with early death in men than women. As reported in the Telegraph, the study showed that “while obesity raises the risk of early death by just three per cent for women, it is 10 per cent for men, more than three times as much.” Obesity and excess weight have been consistently associated with a higher incidence of cancers, heart disease, stroke, Type 2 diabetes and other serious long-term conditions.
If you’re worried about your weight and want to cut back, there is support available from sources such as NHS Choices (see pages on obesity and healthy eating), as well as a range of charities working on obesity-related diseases.
(15th July 2016)
Test for inherited prostate cancer risk a possibility
Tests on men with advanced prostate cancer have found a significant proportion of these patients carry faulty genes, raising the prospect of preventative treatments for family members in the long term.
As reported by BBC News, researchers from the Institute of Cancer Research in London administered a DNA test to 692 men with advanced prostate cancer. The study was published in the New England Journal of Medicine and showed around 12% of the participants had inherited mutated DNA which could have been a cause of their prostate cancer. One of the genes is BRCA1, which has been strongly linked to the incidence of breast and ovarian cancer.
The lead researcher, Professor de Bono, stressed that it was too early to recommend screening families for the mutations. However, he said that the research opened up the prospect of trials to evaluate the risks, and then “preventative strategies” may be developed based on those findings.
Prostate cancer affects 1 in 8 men in the UK. You can find out more about this condition and your risks on our information pages. Likewise, if you are looking for support and further information, please see charities such as Prostate Cancer UK and Cancer Research UK.
(July 8th 2016)
Playing simple games can help stroke recovery
Researchers in Canada have found that patients’ motor skills can be improved by tasks like card games that are ‘intensive, repetitive and gets the hands and arms moving’, as reported by BBC News.
Published in the Lancet Neurology, researchers from St Michael’s Hospital in Toronto recruited 141 patients who had some impairment in the movement of their limbs following a recent stroke. Half the patients were assigned to undertake rehabilitation therapy by playing Wii console games, and the half were asked to play cards, Jenga, bingo and other recreational activities. Both sets of patients showed marked, and equal improvement in their motor skills following review after two and four weeks.
If you are worried about your risk of a stroke, or you or someone you know is in recovery, there is information and support available from organisations such as the Stroke Association and NHS Choices.
(July 1st 2016)