Intimacy, Eyesight, and Prevention
Originally published: 08.01.08 by Alan and Pamela Davis
Intimacy is good – both emotionally and physiologically
Often patients ask us how they can lead a healthier lifestyle. In addition to eating right and regularly hitting the gym, we inform them that sex can do wonders for their overall well being.
Practicing regular intimacy can promote heart health, lower stress and help you sleep better – what’s not to love? And the health benefit may spill over into your business, making you a happier and more productive boss.
Indeed, there are many valid, scientific studies to support the many benefits of regular sex. Not only is it fun and enjoyable, but good health may depend on good sex.
While discussing sex with your doctor may be embarrassing, it is a natural activity that has been practiced since the beginning of time. Understanding how intimacy is linked to your body’s physiological well being is important.
As far as Viagra (and medications like it) goes, it has been a wonderful boon to the sex lives of many couples. However, you should not use these medications if you take nitroglycerin for chest pain, if you take anticoagulants such as coumadin or if you are on certain alpha blockers for treatment of an enlarged prostate. If you have had a heart attack, heart rhythm problems or a stroke in the last six months you should discuss the effects of Viagra with your doctor. Of course, if you experience chest pain during sex, please speak with your physician.
An Ounce Of Prevention
Employers and their corporate human resources departments can play an important role in preventing their workers from suffering crippling or fatal heart attacks, according to Dr. Boyd Lyles, corporate medical director at U.S. Preventive Medicine.
Lyles says it’s not uncommon for heart attacks to strike individuals who seem relatively healthy or who feel good. “Unfortunately, people, by nature, do not seek out medical care when they don’t feel bad. They don’t want the possibility of getting bad news or to be told that they should be doing things that they don’t want to do, such as eating differently, drinking less alcohol, not smoking, or exercising more regularly,” says Dr. Lyles.
With employer health-care costs continuing to rise at nearly double-digit increases, prevention and wellness programs in the workplace are beginning to gain much more attention, noted Dr. Lyles.
1) Provide a proactive, thorough, employee-friendly portal to preventive health care that eliminates the confusion about what and when to do to be truly preventive. This should include health risk assessments (HRAs), lifestyle/behavior education opportunities, as well as guidance for the appropriate medical testing. Health coaching, either by telephone or Internet, can be very effective.
2) Install a “library” that is easily accessible that features publications by the American Heart Association, American Cancer Society, American Dietetic Association, and other recognized health authorities.
3) Provide health-insurance options that emphasize preventive care. These can include provisions for periodic physical exams and lab tests, mammograms, colon exams, and access to educational and support programs (smoking cessation, weight loss, exercise options, etc).
4) Sponsor health fairs, special health weeks and months (January for exercise, February for heart health, etc.) where posters and special education opportunities are provided (e.g., brown bag lunches with speakers).
5) Create an expectation of wellness among employees and reward them for their participation and health improvement. Not only should employers provide the various benefits, programs and onsite health promotional activities, they should create an environment in which employees are expected to participate and be proactive about improving their health.
Gotta Wear Shades
While people are aware of the dangers of extended sun exposure and its effects on the skin, many are not aware that the eyes are also at great risk.
According to a survey conducted by the New England Eye Institute and Transitions Optical, nearly 80% of respondents report knowing that UV exposure can cause skin cancer, but only 5% are aware that it can harm the eyes. What’s more, 3.2 million people worldwide are blind as a result of cataracts, which have been linked to UV exposure.
The survey also found that 57% of respondents said they do not wear protective eyewear when in the sun for extended periods of time. The risk of developing sight-threatening conditions, such as cataracts can be lessened by taking the proper precautions—mainly wearing sunglasses.
Alan is an orthopedic surgeon and sports medicine physician affiliated with The Cleveland Clinic Foundation. He is a member of the National Board of Medical Examiners, American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, and the American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society.
Pamela is a practicing dermatologist at MetroHealth Medical Center in Cleveland, Ohio, and is an assistant professor at Case Western Reserve University. She is a member of the American Board of Internal Medicine as well as the American Board of Dermatology and is a member of the American College of Sports Medicine.