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. Continue reading

Aging Forces: Chronic Stress

imagesWe are all familiar with the “fight or flight” response to a stressor. This well-known stress response is activated automatically by our body to help us through any stressful situation. When we are exposed to a physical or emotional stress, our sympathetic nervous system is turned on and stimulates our adrenal glands to pump out epinephrine, norepinephrine and cortisol. These hormones released from the adrenal gland help us acutely to survive the stressor at hand. The stress hormones help focus our attention, heighten our senses, increase our heart rate, increase our blood pressure, and rapidly mobilize energy for fuel. The stress response arms us for action.

The activation of the stress response gives us what our body needs to utilize immediately, whether we choose to “fight” or “run like hell”. Our chances of surviving any stressor are contingent on the activation of this acute stress response. After the stressful event, our body is able to recalibrate stress hormone levels and allow us to return to our baseline. The stress response works extremely rapidly to activate our nervous system, immune system, cardiovascular system and metabolism. After the stressor, when we relax, our body is able to activate the relaxation response and take us off “high-alert ” status. Continue reading

Aging Forces: Inflammation

Inflammation is part of our immune system and is required for healing and tissue repair.

Acute inflammation is the immediate, short-term response to an injury or illness. Acute inflammation results in increased blood flow to the area, increased white blood cell production and increased production of inflammatory molecules called cytokines. This acute inflammation response leads to redness, swelling, pain and warmth to the injured area. For example, after you sprain your ankle you develop swelling, pain, warmth and redness to the injured ankle. This acute inflammatory response improves the healing process and usually resolves spontaneously.

When you have an acute infection, such as the flu virus, the fever and body aches you experience are another example of acute inflammation. These symptoms resolve as you recover from the illness. Continue reading