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Ask Dr. Gott 3/15

Heart health important for everyone

DEAR DR. GOTT: I'm concerned about my husband's health. He is 34 years old and physically fit. However, his paternal grandfather died suddenly of a heart attack at age 42, and his father just had his second valve-replacement surgery at the age of 62.
    He had a physical two years ago with an EKG taken. The doctor said he was the picture of health. How can I be sure his heart is healthy? He is my best friend and the father of our two young children. I do not ever want to lose him.
    DEAR READER: Your question is pertinent, not only for your family but for others.
    There is ample evidence that arteriosclerotic coronary artery disease has genetic components. The age of 34 certainly does not place your husband in the high-risk group, but he needs more than routine follow-up.
    He should have, along with a cholesterol test, a homocysteine test to check for coronary inflammation. His blood pressure must be kept in the normal range. If he is overweight, he should diet. If he smokes, he should stop immediately. If his physician agrees, I recommend that he undergo a stress test every two to three years. As your husband ages, the doctor can make further suggestions depending on general health factors. A cardiology consult can be delayed but might be considered when he reaches 40.
    To give you related information, I am sending you a copy of my Health Report "Coronary Artery Disease."

    DEAR DR. GOTT: It never ceases to amaze me when adult men totally reject circumcision for newborns. I am referring to the woman who wrote to you for advice on this subject because she was adopting a baby boy from another country. She asked for both pros and cons, but you gave her only the negatives. We all know that circumcision is not necessary, but let's be real. An uncircumcised penis is never as clean as a circumcised one. I have been told this by almost every woman that I have been intimate with. And yes, I do bathe every day and before every date. But more than one long-term girlfriend has told me that it is very off-putting in bed. I know this is not the one and only reason to have a baby circumcised, but men do not seem to want to admit that this is a real trouble and can create problems in the bedroom. I also read years ago that almost all cases of cancer of the penis were associated with an uncircumcised organ. In the case of the woman who wrote to you, I would be more concerned that she was considering the procedure for a baby boy that was already 8 months old. In my opinion, it should be done shortly after birth to minimize discomfort or not done at all.
    DEAR READER: I agree. But circumcision is a very personal matter. In any case, uncircumcised men would do well to pay meticulous attention to cleanliness. If this doesn't work, adult circumcision is a viable option.

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