Posted by: yourhealthradio | January 26, 2012

House Calls – Diabetes & Prostate Cancer

House Calls from the Carrboro Citizen 01.26.12

Dear HOUSE Calls, My brother takes insulin for his diabetes and drinks quite a bit of alcohol. Is that a problem?

It sounds like you may be concerned about your brother’s alcohol intake with or without the diabetes, so you should consider opening a dialogue, as this may be a problem for him. Specific to the diabetes and insulin, we have a few thoughts. First off, alcohol does not have much effect on the blood-sugar or insulin levels in and of itself. It is not a high-glycemic food like potatoes or candy bars. However, many types of alcoholic drinks are high in sugar and carbohydrates, which will increase blood sugar. Likewise, they all add substantial calories, which will make the weight control that is so important for diabetics more difficult. Also, drinking too much alcohol can lead to bad decisions regarding diet. Lastly, high levels of regular alcohol consumption over time can stress out the pancreas and make it less able to respond and contribute to the control of blood sugar. Drinking alcohol can affect your blood pressure levels, which is very important if you have diabetes. So there are a lot of downsides to drinking alcohol for your brother’s health and not much in the way of benefits. Hopefully you can share this information with him and start a conversation.

Dear HOUSE Calls, I am a 41-year-old black male. What do I need to know about prostate cancer?

There has been a lot in the media about prostate cancer screening, and it can be so confusing. Because you are black, your lifetime risk of developing prostate cancer is 16 percent, but your lifetime risk of dying from prostate cancer is only 2.9 percent, which is somewhat higher than the risk for white people. Genetics is the most important risk factor, and there is nothing you can do about it. Screening and early diagnosis seemed like a good idea for the past decade or so; however, the most recent and highest-quality studies show that men don’t live any longer if they get prostate-cancer screening, so we are by and large not recommending it anymore. We will give men older than 50 their choice about PSA testing and explain to them the pros and cons of testing. Symptoms of prostate cancer can be similar to enlarged prostate symptoms. If you are having trouble emptying your bladder, weak stream or dribbling, you should discuss this with your doctor.

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