We have a new, firm warning from the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists to the millions of guys taking erectile dysfunction drugs who are heading into surgery: When combined with anesthesia, medications such as Viagra (sildenafil), Levitra (vardenafil) and Cialis (tadalafil) can cause a dangerously severe drop in blood pressure.
That’s because ED meds contain – and promote the body’s own ability to produce – nitric oxide. Nitric oxide opens blood vessels and relaxes muscles, making it much easier for erections to occur. Adding anesthesia and other medications used during surgery to the blood-vessel dilating actions of an ED med can increase those effects.
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Since the average American male can expect to undergo more than nine surgical procedures during his lifetime, and a growing number of ED pills are dispensed to men in the U.S. (annually it’s around 1.2 million Viagra and almost 3.6 million Cialis), this is a warning lots of guys need to take seriously. We also predict that when generic Viagra is available this December, there will be a big increase in the size of the market – and with that, an increased risk for the one-two punch of ED drugs and anesthesia.
Our advice if you’re takeing an ED medication and headed to surgery.:
Stop taking ED drugs 48 hours before the procedure; that will allow the drug to clear your system.
Presurgery: Alert your anesthesiologist to all medications and supplements you’re taking, including ED meds. Your emergency contact also should know to tell medical staff about any ED drug use.
Now’s time to donate blood
Today, in the U.S., nearly 21 million portions of blood components – either whole blood, red blood cells, plasma, cryoprecipitate or platelets – are transfused every year. Unfortunately, life-saving blood is in short supply.
So, if you have never donated blood, now’s the time. It is safe, fast and without negative repercussions.
You will be interviewed to discover if there is any reason you are not a candidate; so let the folks screen you.
You cannot contract a disease giving blood to the Red Cross; all needles and procedures are sterile.
You can spare the blood; your body quickly replenishes what’s taken. You’re allowed to donate five times a year!
Interested? Search by ZIP code atredcrossblood.org to find your local donation site. Donate today and save a life tomorrow.
Q: I’m hearing about the benefits of vitamin D, but what should I eat more of? Are supplements helpful?
Katie G., Boston
A: In truth, vitamin D is more hormone than vitamin. A hormone regulates the activity of certain cells or organs and often works on more than one physical process: D maintains blood levels of calcium and phosphorus by enhancing absorption of D in food and supplements through the small intestines. And D regulates over 200 genes, as well as blood pressure in the kidney and blood glucose in the pancreas, while keeping abnormal cells from multiplying in breast and colon tissue. D also appears to help regulate the immune system.
There are two important forms of vitamin D you should know about – ergocalciferol (vitamin D-2), which is made by plants, and cholecalciferol (vitamin D-3), which is made by your skin in response to exposure to sunlight. (D-3 is first converted by the liver and then the kidneys before becoming biologically active calcitriol in your body.) A new study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition says D-3 is what you want to make sure you get enough of.
The researchers say: “Those who consume D-3 through fish (we like salmon and ocean trout) or vitamin D-3-containing supplements are twice as likely to raise their vitamin D status than when consuming vitamin D-2 rich foods such as mushrooms, vitamin D-2-fortified bread or vitamin D-2 supplements.”
Your move: Get 10 minutes of exposure to sunlight daily (that’s enough to crank up the D-3 machine to ample levels) without sunscreen; then put it on! Enjoy D-3-packin’ foods like fermented soy and supplemented functional foods like almond and walnut milk.
Aim to get the recommended 600 IU of vitamin D-3 a day: Most of you will need a D-3 supplement. Your goal is to reach a blood level of 35-80 ng/ml; ask your doc for a blood test.
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