Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA)

In the mid-1980s’ the FDA approved the use of monitoring blood levels for prostate specific antigen (PSA). At that time, this was considered a major breakthrough in the diagnosis and treatment for prostate cancer.

Here’s why. PSA readings specifically target prostate cells. A healthy prostate gland produces a constant level, usually 4 nanograms per milliliter which is considered as a PSA reading of “4” or less.
Cancer cells produce growing amounts that escalate. They correlate with the severity of cancer. A PSA level greater than 4 will give the doctor some cause for investigation. If the level reaches 10 he will have cause to consider the presence of prostate cancer. An amount over 50 may indicate that the cancer has spread to other parts of the body.

A PSA test usually measures the total amount that is attached to blood proteins. However, later research gained an FDA approval for a test called the Tandem R test. This test also gives a measure of the total PSA and reads another component called free PSA. Free PSA floats unbound in blood.

Have these two tests to compare helps to rule out prostate cancer in men whose PSA is just mildly elevated due to other causes. A 1995 study in the Journal of the American Medical Association shows that a free PSA test reduces unnecessary prostate biopsies by 20% in certain patients whose PSA is between 4 and 10.

Prostate Cancer Diagnosis

Prostate cancer can occur in any man, but there are certain “risk groups.” Younger African American men appear to have twice the risk and fatalities of Caucasians. Sadly, many are diagnosed before they reach the age of 50.

Another risk group is men who have a family history of prostate cancer, placing them in the same group who may contract the disease before the age of 50.

The only method to determine whether you are at risk for prostate cancer is diagnostic testing. The earlier you are screened the higher your chances of survival. Let’s explore some of the screening options.

Digital Rectal Exam (DRE)

Testing begins with a digital rectal exam (DRE). This examination has been the benchmark for discovering cancer as well as BPH. Your doctor can determine the condition and size of the prostate by inserting a gloved finger into the rectum.

Urine Test

A standard urine test can also help to diagnose prostate problems by screening for blood or infection. The chemical tests will also check for liver, diabetes or kidney disease.

Hyperplasia INTRAVENOUSPYELOGRAM (IVP)

This test is actually an X-ray. Dye is injected into one of the major veins. While the dye is circulating, pictures of vital organs are taken. This test will record the progress of the dye through the kidneys, bladder and ureter tubes (the tubes that drain the kidneys). This test is more or less optional since most men who have enlargement of the prostate usually have no abnormalities of the ureter tubes or kidneys in a normal urinalysis.

Symptoms of Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer starts of by cells found in the prostate mutating and multiplying causing cancerous cells to develop in the prostate; the prostate is a gland that produces fluid to help carry semen during ejaculation in males.

Once the cancerous cells have taken control of the prostate they can find their way into other parts of the body, the most common places are parts of the bone structure and lymph nodes.

A person who has cancer would not know it unless they have had a prostate specific antigen test which is done by taking a blood sample or having a physical test, which is normally carried out by checking inside the rectum as the prostate sits against the rectums outer wall.

There are symptoms to watch out for that can be a sign of prostate cancer, although they can also be signs of other, less dangerous conditions. The symptoms you need to be aware of are

    • Pain while urinating
    • Difficulty urinating

Prostate Health

The first step toward understanding how the prostate affects your health is to learn what the prostate is and how it functions. It is surprising how little many men know about such an important part of their anatomy.

The prostate is an important segment of the male reproductive system. It is a gland that is located in the lower abdominal cavity, just below the bladder, in front of the rectum and behind the pubic bone. It partially surrounds the urethra. The urethra is the channel that carries urine to the penis from the bladder and it runs right through the prostate.

A healthy prostate is about the size of a walnut, weighs approximately 1 ounce and is shaped similar to a donut.

There are “seminal vesicles” that are attached to the prostate. They produce a protein that mixes with prostatic fluid which forms semen. How this works is that tubes from the testicles carry sperm up to the prostate where sperm is mixed with the seminal vesicle and prostatic fluids.

This fluid is ejaculated during orgasm through ejaculatory ducts that connect to the urethra. In addition, the prostate helps to control the flow of urine.

Bruxism

Bruxism (derived from Greek βρυγμός, male noun – grinding [teeth]) is grinding of the teeth. The verb is “to brux”.

This is an oral para-functional habit observed in a large number of people occasionally and, in a smaller number, habitually. The mechanism of causation is tension and spasm of the muscles used for mastication. The term also refers to clenching of the teeth, which causes similar problems.

Often, it occurs during sleep; even a short nap may induce it. In a typical case, the canines and incisors are commonly moved against each other laterally, i.e. with a side to side action. This erodes tooth enamel, removing the sharp biting surfaces and flattening the edges of the teeth. Sometimes, there is a tendency to grind the molars together, which can be loud enough to wake a sleeping partner.

Over time, bruxing shortens and blunts the teeth being ground, and may lead to pain in the joint of the jaw, the temporomandibular joint, or headache. Teeth hollowed by previous decay (caries) may collapse; the pressure exerted by bruxism on the teeth is extraordinarily high.

The cause, or causes, of bruxism remains unclear. Some dentists believe it is due to a lack of symmetry in the teeth; others, that it reflects anxiety, digestive problems or a disturbed sleep pattern.

Curing Insomnia with Behavior Modification

The amount of sleep a person needs actually depends on the age and amount of physical and mental activity a person engages to. For example, an infant who does not perform any strenuous task and undergoing a period of rapid growth needs 16 to 18 hours of sleep.

The same thing applies to teenagers who are experiencing the biological challenges of puberty. More often than not they require at least 9 hours of sleep every night for that matter.

Adults, on the other hand, requires 7 to 8 hours of sleep a day but changes if one engages to a vigorous activity which requires too much bodily strength. From this figures alone, we can see that sleep requirement varies from person to person.

Moreover, older individuals in their 60s above usually sleep a bit shorter due to some physical factors researchers are trying to find out. One study even shows as the body grows older the amount of melatonin, the chemical which induces sleep, a body produces diminishes and becomes irregular.

It doesn’t take to be a rocket scientist to understand the benefits of sleeping. But in some ways, to practically appreciate the benefits of a thing, we sometimes need to experience the consequences it creates when it’s omitted.

Treating Insomnia – Do OTC Meds Work?

Natural methods in curing insomnia are always preferred but upon a doctors approval the following over the counter medicines are formulated to stimulate sleep.

Diphenhydramine (Excedrin, Nytol, Sominex)
Doxylamine (Unisom)

The following on the other hand are medications that need to have doctors prescription to avail:

    Zolpidem (Ambien)
    Zaleplon (Sonata)
    Flurazepam (Dalmane)
    Estazolam (ProSom)
    Temazepam (Restori)
    Triazolam (Halcion)

Although these medicines are chemicals that trigger sleep, long periods of usage lessens its effectiveness.

Insomnia in Infants and Children

Usually, people suffering from insomnia blame this on too much stress, worries, depression and a very worrisome life.

People mostly believe that these feelings cannot be experienced by infants and children because they are too young to worry about anything. Based on this reasoning, some people think that insomnia would not occur in children. But this is not true. Just like adults, insomnia can also happen to children and infants.

Children have different sleeping habits and time patterns. For infants who are one week old, the average length of sleep per day is 16 hours. There are parents that believe that babies who sleep less are geniuses or have a high I.Q. But there is no scientific evidence to support this belief. Babies usually wake once every evening at the minimum. Unless breast fed, infants can go back to sleep on their own.

Insomnia or sleeping disorders can be defined in the following parameters:

• Having a hard time to sleep at night
• A person who wakes up very early
• A person who wakes up often at night

This ailment can cause the feeling of tiredness and drowsiness even after waking up in the morning. A person with insomnia also has a hard time concentrating.