irtually unknown in Canada two decades ago, ticks that cause Lyme disease are now found in areas close to 18% of Canada’s population. While initial stages of Lyme disease can be confused with the flu, if left untreated, it can lead to chronic arthritis, neurological symptoms and paralysis. Fortunately, Lyme disease can be treated with antibiotics.
Current testing often results in false negative diagnoses, so prevention is important. Wear light-coloured clothes to see ticks; a hat, long sleeves fitted at the wrist and pants tucked into socks. Walk in the centre of wooded trails, away from long grasses, bushes and leaf litter. Ticks don’t fly; they crawl. Avoid sitting on the ground or fallen trees.
Shower and shampoo within two hours of your return from wooded areas; toss clothes and fabric equipment into a high-heat dryer for 30 minutes to kill ticks. Ask your vet about tick prevention for your pet.
|PREVALENT + COMPLEX|
Ticks carry many pathogens, including the bacteria that cause Lyme disease, contracted from biting infected woodland animals like mice and deer. Migratory birds disperse ticks across Canada, increasing the possibility of exposure and infection.
The over 100 known symptoms of Lyme disease vary from person to person, and may show up within a couple of hours, or may not present from days to years after a tick bite. Early treatment is critical, however, since antibodies peak six to 8 weeks after infection, blood tests and screening are unreliable for this complex, often misdiagnosed disease. Decrease your risk of infection by learning more about Lyme. Canadian Lyme Disease Foundation; Lyme Disease Association of Ontario
BY LISA PETTY, ROHP
Statistics show that 40% of men over age 40 are affected by erectile dysfunction (ED), or the inability to achieve or maintain an erection sufficient for satisfactory sexual performance. In plain language, this means the penis doesnt get erect enough to allow for sexual intercourse, because not enough blood can get into or stay in the penis long enough to allow an erection.
While ED is undoubtedly an intimate relationship issue, Dr. Stacy L. Elliott, MD, Sexual Medicine Consultant, Vancouver Coastal Health advises that it might be the canary in the coal mine suggesting an underlying health concern including low testosterone, cardiovascular disease, depression, or as a side effect of antidepressant medications. In other words, its important to get past discomfort to seek medical care. The prognosis is excellent: 95% of cases can be treated.Stress factors
Causes of ED can be physical, but life stresses and emotional health are contributing factors, too. Psychological factors including anxiety, stress and depression or other sources of stress, including money problems, job worries or relationship troubles play a role in up to 20% of ED cases. In circular fashion, ED also becomes a source of stress. Be proactive about addressing the source of your stress: for example, if money is a concern, speak with a financial planner. Exercise is healthy way to alleviate the affects of stress, while activities like yoga and meditation help to control heart rate and blood pressure. Counselling may also be useful to reduce stress levels. Be sure to discuss your stress levels when you visit your doctor.
• Men who lead an active lifestyle are less likely to
experience ED than those who are sedentary
• Overweight men are at greater risk of heart
disease, diabetes and ED
• Excessive alcohol consumption (over 600 mL per week) is a risk factor in ED
• Smokers are twice as likely as non-smokers to
suffer from ED.
Seek qualified care
Dr. Elliott strongly cautions men to talk to the doctor about all of their health concerns, including ED. Often, men turn to the internet for magic pills and treatment alternatives out of embarrassment. This strategy not only puts them at risk because underlying health conditions arent addressed, but often the internet choices dont work or are downright dangerous: counterfeit ED drugs have been found to contain toxic ingredients, as well as chalk, floor wax, shoe polish and road paint. "There are options that are safe and effective," she says, "but you must get them from your doctor."
Although ED might play out in the bedroom, it can also disrupt your relationships and the self-esteem of both partners. Frequently, a female partner will blame herself, wondering aloud if her mate no longer finds her attractive. Its important for partners to understand that ED doesnt necessarily mean low desire. Yet, because men are concerned about disappointing their partners sexually, this added emotional pressure compounds the problem and men will often withdraw from all forms of physical contact out of fear of not being able to perform leaving both partners deprived of essential intimacy.
• Oral medications
• Corrective surgery.
Alternately, says Dr. Elliott, women commonly downplay the importance of an erection in an attempt to make their partners feel better but this strategy only underlines the fact that women dont realize how important an erection is to a man: part of his identity involves being sexual (including penetration). Instead, Dr. Elliott recommends couples communicate openly between themselves and with their doctor. While exploring the best treatment options for ED, regular, affectionate contact like hand-holding, cuddling or kissing without the pressure of sexual performance will do a lot to keep the sexual intimacy alive.
Most importantly, remember that help is available. For more information about ED, visit 40over40.ca. H&L