"The shin bone's connected to the knee bone. The knee bone's connected to the thigh bone. The thigh bone's connected to the ..."
You know how it goes. And while "Dem Bones" is just an amusing kids' song, it also makes a very important point about health in general. One condition often is connected to another, and may serve as a clue to other, possibly larger, health issues.
Take male infertility, for instance. About 15 percent of all couples have fertility issues, and in half of those cases it's because the man's semen (the ejaculate that contains fluid and sperm) is abnormal in some way.
Stanford University researchers looked at 9,000 men ages 30 to 50 who had fertility problems, and found that even in this relatively young sampling, about 44 percent also had some other significant health issue, such as hypertension, vascular disease, or heart disease.
In addition, they found that as the number of defects (such as lower semen volume, sperm concentration, motility, total sperm count, and morphology scores) in a man’s semen increased, the more likely he was to also have an endocrine disorder or skin disease.
Researchers are analyzing the data to determine which specific endocrine and skin conditions were most often associated with fertility problems.
Because the average age of study participants was 38, the researchers suggest that man younger than that with fertility challenges should get checked out for cardiovascular, endocrine and skin problems.
The good news is that resolving those issues may help resolve fertility problems and dodge other serious health challenges down the road.
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