In the doctors' lounge: Sexually transmitted diseases increasing among older adults | St. Louis Public Radio

In the doctors' lounge: Sexually transmitted diseases increasing among older adults

Jul 9, 2008

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: July 9, 2008 - As the baby boomer generation ages, so do the problems associated with its unofficial motto: Sex, Drugs, Rock n' Roll.

The British Medical Journal reported online June 27 that sexually transmitted diseases, including chlamydia, genital herpes, genital warts, gonorrhea and syphilis, are on the rise among older adults in the United Kingdom. The researchers conclude: "The results indicate that sexual risk-taking behaviour is not confined to young persons." 

Sexually active people of all ages need to be aware that they may be at risk of sexually transmitted diseases. Practicing safe sex techniques remains vital, regardless of age.

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Cholesterol level linked to poor memory in middle aged

Doctors have long known that low levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL or "good") cholesterol levels put folks at risk of heart disease. This research from an American Heart Association specialty journal published online June 30, adds that low HDL levels set us up for other problems as well: "Our results suggest that low HDL is associated with poor memory and decline in memory in middle-aged adults," the authors write.

The good news? You can improve your HDL levels through lifestyle changes as well as with appropriate medication. Regular exercise is one of the best ways to help raise your HDL.

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For more on HDL Cholesterol: How to boost your "good" cholesterol

Revascularization after heart attack reduces mortality

Invasive coronary revascularization (angioplasty or cardiac bypass surgery) is sometimes performed during a hospitalization for heart attack. The American Journal of Cardiology reported July 1 that the procedures are "associated with lower rates of death and subsequent heart failure."

If you find yourself or a loved one in the hospital with a heart attack, talk to your doctor about whether this is the right course for you.

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Relaxation practices like yoga affect gene expression

This research published in the July Public Library of Science One "provides the first compelling evidence that the relaxation response elicits specific gene expression changes in short-term and long-term practitioners."

Translation: We know that stress is not good for us. This study gives us some real evidence that relaxation may actually create specific changes in our genes that can add up to long-term health benefits. Show this to your boss and get to that yoga class.

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Regular sex reduces risk of erectile dysfunction

Doctors should encourage their patients to remain sexually active. So say researchers in the July edition of the American Journal of Medicine.

A crucial issue that was looked at in this study is whether frequency of sex is a cause or effect, as in which came first: the chicken or the egg. And they concluded: "Regular intercourse protects against the development of erectile dysfunction among men aged 55 to 75 years. This may have an impact on general health and quality of life; therefore, doctors should support patients' sexual activity."

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This column by HealthDay's Dr. Cynthia Haines, managing editor of Physician's Briefing, will run each week in the St. Louis Beacon.