Aging Forces: Hormone Deficiencies
As we age, certain hormone levels decline, creating hormone imbalances that increase our risk of many degenerative diseases. These hormone imbalances and deficiencies accelerate the rate of aging.
As women age, they produce less estrogen, progesterone and testosterone hormones. As men age, they produce less testosterone and frequently produce excessive estrogen. In addition, both men and women often produce less HGH (growth hormone) and DHEA (dehydropieandrosterone).
It is crucial to acknowledge that insufficient levels of some or all of these hormones result in hormone deficiency states that will adversely influence health and aging.
Let’s review what hormones do in the body and understand the diverse role they play in our health and well-being. Hormones are chemical messengers that control all of the body’s functions. Our hormones have multiple functions throughout the body. They support brain function, cardiac function, skin health, bone health, and influence cell function as well as cell communication.
Hormones support body composition by their effect on bone density, muscle mass, and fat distribution. They influence libido and sexual function. Hormones control our metabolism and energy production, and positively impact our mood and memory.
Hormones direct cells throughout the body by giving cells chemical messages, or instructions, to carry out cellular function. Every cell in the body requires interactions with hormones for optimal cell function and health. If hormone levels are deficient, cell function and, subsequently, organ function will suffer. Given the myriad of actions that hormones exhibit in our bodies, it becomes evident that quality of health and quality of life suffer when hormone deficiencies exist.
COMMON HEALTH PROBLEMS ASSOCIATED WITH HORMONE DEFICIENCIES:
* Weight gain/obesity
* Muscle loss (sarcopenia)
* Bone loss (osteopenia/osteoporosis)
* Memory loss
* Skin aging
Supplementing with bioidentical hormones can restore hormone levels to youthful levels and restore energy and vitality, greatly enhancing your quality of life.
Understanding the wellness benefits of bioidentical hormones requires differentiating bioidentical hormones from traditional synthetic hormone replacement. Bioidentical means that the hormones used are exact replicas of hormones produced naturally in our bodies: same shape, same structure, same effects. Traditional synthetic hormones are not the same as our own hormones; rather they are chemical substitutes for our hormones: different shape, different structure, different effects.
Hormones interact with cells throughout the body by binding onto cell receptors. Cell receptors recognize the different hormones based on their shapes and structures. If we want a specific hormone effect in the body, we must use a hormone that is biologically identical to the specific hormone, not a synthetic mismatch. By supplementing deficient hormones with the exact hormone, we allow the body to utilize the hormones naturally, usually without side effects.
Heart disease is a leading cause of death. Bioidentical hormone therapy plays a tremendous role in decreasing many cardiac risk factors. For example, both estrogen and testosterone improve cholesterol panels, improve blood flow to the heart, improve blood pressure, improve blood sugar and insulin levels, and decrease the risk of blood clotting. Most of the benefits of bioidentical hormones on heart function also apply to brain function, with improved memory, mood, and decreased risk of dementia and stroke.
With traditional hormone replacement we tend to focus only on symptom reductions, that is, night sweats, hot flashes, and so on, while ignoring the huge impact of hormones on heart and brain health.
Bioidentical hormones are also natural anti-inflammatories and antioxidants. These attributes decrease the risk of age-related degenerative diseases and help slow the rate of aging.
Because of the crucial role bioidentical hormones play throughout the body, it is essential to understand that there is no physiologic benefit to maintaining deficient or suboptimal hormone levels. For optimal health and aging we must measure our hormone levels and correct deficiencies as they develop.
We identify hormone deficiencies by a combination of reviewing symptoms and hormone blood levels. Depending on the hormones that are deficient, we can offer hormone therapy as topical creams, sublingual troches (wafers that dissolve under the tongue), subcutaneous pellets (small hormone pellets placed under the skin), injections and oral capsules. Flexible dosing options allow us to customize hormone therapy programs to meet individual requirements. The multiple dosing and route options make bioidentical hormone therapy a unique, personalized program for each patient. This allows improved patient compliance and results. We monitor each patient with serial reviews of hormone deficiency symptoms as well as with serial measurements of blood hormone levels to ensure patient safety and success.
Bioidentical hormone replacement offers a modality that slows the aging process, improves health and well-being, and decreases the risk of many degenerative diseases. It will add quality years to your life.