Pharmacy Times
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Irregular Sleep Patterns Risky for Older Men

In the first study of its kind, researchers found that oldermen with abnormal sleeping patterns may face a greater riskof death. The findings were presented recently at the annualmeeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies.

For up to 13 nights, the 3053 participants aged >67 worewrist actigraphs, wristwatch-like devices that measure bodymovement and allow researchers to assess when individualsare awake or asleep. The researchers followed the patients for6 years to record if and when they died.

Differences in mortality rates remained even after factoringin poor health, race, and alcohol intake. The participants whohit their peaks of activity at the earliest and latest times of daywere 80% more prone to die.

The study results are inconclusive because the researchersdid not calculate how many years earlier the patients died ifthey had abnormal sleeping patterns. Furthermore, the findingsdid not make clear whether night owls or early risers areat risk.

Low Testosterone Going Untreated?

Despite access to care, menwith low testosterone (androgendeficiency) levels do notreceive care, according to astudy reported in the May 26,2008, issue of the Archives ofInternal Medicine. The studyincluded 97 Boston-area men,of whom only 11 were prescribedtreatment.

Treatments included testosteronegel (1 patient); testosteronepatch (3 patients); testosteronecream (1 patient); aninjectable form of testosteronecalled testosterone cypionate(1 patient); and unspecified formulationsof testosterone (5patients). The researchers notedthat men with untreated androgendeficiency were more proneto have low socioeconomic status,no health insurance, and todepend on the emergency roomor hospital outpatient clinic forprimary care.

The researchers also foundthat all men with treated anduntreated low testosteronewere more likely to reportreceiving regular care and visitingtheir physician more often.

?And Linked with Health Conditions

New studies show that low testosterone levels put menat great risk for cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and earlydeath. Some health care experts suggest that low testosteronelevels are associated with depression, decreasedlibido, and metabolicsyndrome and that testosteronereplacement therapy may have positive effects.

One study found that testosterone treatment considerablyreduced abdominal fat, total cholesterol, lowdensitylipoprotein cholesterol, triglycerides, and bodymass index, while also helping to raise high-densitylipoprotein cholesterol. A second showed that men olderthan 63 benefited as much as younger men, and a thirdstudy found that low testosterone ups a man?s chanceof premature death from any cause in the long run.The studies were presented recently at the EndocrineSociety?s annual meeting.

Gender Disparities Exist with CAP Treatment

Research from the Universityof Pittsburgh found disparitiesin how men and women withcommunity-acquired pneumonia(CAP) were treated in emergencyrooms (ERs). The studyexamined roughly an equal numberof men and women withCAP recruited in the ERs of 28US hospitals.

The study indicated thatwomen, on average,manifestedpneumonia symptomsfor a longertime before going to the ER,but a majority already had beenprescribed antibiotics beforeadmission. Men, however, wentto the hospital with more complicationsand had worse vitalsigns. Once admitted, men moreoften received antibiotics within8 hours and were twice as likelyto be admitted to the intensivecare unit. The study also foundthat men had a greater risk ofdying within a year.

Inadequate Vitamin D Levels Up Heart Attack Odds

Medical records and blood samples from 454 men, aged40 to 75, indicated that a vitamin D deficiency may raise therisk of heart attack in men. The participants had a nonfatalheart attack or fatal heart disease and were compared with900 men who had no history of cardiovascular disease.

Reporting in the June 9, 2008, issue of the Archives ofInternal Medicine, the researchers found that men with avitamin D deficiency (≤15 ng/mL of blood) had more riskof heart attack, compared with patients with a sufficientamount of vitamin D (≥30 ng/mL of blood). "These resultsfurther support an important role for vitamin D in myocardialinfarction risk," concluded the researchers.

F A S T F A C T : The most commonly diagnosed cancers among men are prostate, lung, and colorectal.

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