International Health News

Walking is good for the prostate

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS. Prostate enlargement also known as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) affects as many as 40 per cent of older men. The main symptoms are having to get up frequently at night to urinate, a weak urinary stream, incomplete emptying of the bladder, more frequent urination often in a stop-start manner, and difficulty in postponing urination. In North America the problem is often dealt with by surgery (transurethral resection). Now researchers at the Harvard Medical School report that physical activity significantly reduces the risk of developing BPH. Their study, which began in 1986, involved over 30,000 male health professionals. By 1994 almost 9000 of the men had experienced BPH symptoms, 1890 had undergone surgery, 1853 had high/moderate to severe symptoms, and 5146 men reported symptoms that were classified as low/moderate. The remaining 21,745 men had no symptoms. A survey of the men's degree of physical activity and their leisure habits concluded that men who walked two to three hours every week had a 25 per cent lower risk of developing BPH than did men who only walked 1.5 hours per week or less. Men with a greater degree of moderate physical activity had an even lower risk. Conversely, a sedentary lifestyle was found to increase the risk of BPH. Men who watched TV for 41 hours/week or more had twice the risk of developing BPH than did men who watched for five hours/week or less. The benefits of physical activity applied both to men who had undergone prostate surgery and to men who had not had surgery.
Platz, Elizabeth A., et al. Physical activity and benign prostatic hyperplasia. Archives of Internal Medicine, Vol. 158, November 23, 1998, pp. 2349-56

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