Don’t wait to cross 60 years, to diagnose benign prostatic hyperplasia

Hypertension and BPH have emerged as significant public health issues worldwide. Image courtesy: ogichobanov / Shutterstock

Kozhikode: Since time immemorial, a healthy lifestyle has always been part of Indian tradition and practice. The irony, though, is that lifestyle diseases have sadly emerged as the biggest killer in India. Benign prostatic hyperplasia, like blood pressure, is becoming increasingly prevalent among the geriatric community in the country. Timely diagnosis of BPH is crucial for its treatment. Since the symptoms related to prostate enlargement are often attributed to advancing age, many men choose to ignore the symptoms or postpone treatment at the preliminary stage, under the impression that it is not the right age to get themselves checked.

Despite being diverse disease entities, hypertension and BPH have close associations on certain fronts, and hence they have emerged as significant public health issues worldwide. Twenty-five per cent of men aged above 60 years has hypertension and BPH. The strong link between the two is the main reason why urologists prescribe blood pressure test in BPH patients and also recommend urinary tests on elderly patients with hypertension.

Quite often, the symptoms aggravate in BPH patients who consume excess water under the presumption that it would ‘wash away’ toxic pathogens from the body. Overconsumption of tea and coffee also complicates the matter. It is a fact that two-thirds of males above 40 years of age in the country exhibit symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia. A disciplined lifestyle coupled with the right medication can effectively rein in BPH.

Here are a few tips to boost prostate health

» Regulate the daily intake of water or any fluid to 1.5 to 2 litres. One can make minor changes in the said practice based on climatic changes. Avoid drinking water two hours before going to bed at night or setting out on a journey.

» Avoid or limit the intake of caffeine drinks such as coffee, tea or energy drinks

» Make it a point to include five types of fruits or vegetables in your daily diet regime apart from other wholesome food options.

» Exercise at least four days a week, with an average of 30 minutes of workouts a day. It’s always best to seek the advice of a doctor to plan the exercise programme that is right for your body.

» 7 to 8 hours of sleep are mandatory.

» Healthy diet and the right amount of exercise, and rest will not only help to control the blood pressure, sugar levels and cholestrol, but also cure constipation. They also serve as the best remedial measure to keep the BPH symptoms at bay.

» Avoid spicy food so as to control the urge for frequent urination.

» Quit smoking and alcohol.

The above practices will undoubtedly help the patient to automatically acquire immunity against disease. At the same, it is also important for the person to stay alert to identify the symptoms and other changes happening in the body. Here are a few of them to bear in mind:

» Pain in the lower abdomen and excess time is taken to empty the urine completely from the urinary bladder.

» Blood or pus in the urine, or experience a burning sensation at the time of urination.

» Excruciating pain on the sides of the body.

» Swellings around the eyes and legs

» Erectile dysfunction.

The above symptoms are adequate reasons to consult a doctor immediately. For, BPH is often mistaken for stage-1 prostate cancer. The patient has to undergo prostate examination at fixed intervals. As already mentioned, there are high chances for an aged person to have both BPH and hypertension at the same time. Hence, the patient should seek separate therapies for both ailments after a detailed discussion with a doctor. Any delay in taking the treatment for BPH will complicate the situation, pushing the patient to bear huge medical expenses.

(The writer is a professor and head of the Urology Department of Kozhikode Medical College and Andrologist Laparoscopic and Kidney Transplant Surgeon)

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