It’s been years since the medical term hypogonadism was replaced by low testosterone (low T) to aid communication between men and their physicians about this common but frequent condition that affects millions of men as they age. The symptoms of low T include:
- Reduced energy
- Decreased libido
- Increased fat storage around the waist
- Loss of vitality
These symptoms are typically associated with getting older. Because of that, men generally accept them as challenges they simply have to live with. So even though verifying free testosterone levels can be checked by performing a simple blood test, most traditional medical doctors continue to address the symptoms of low T, and ignore diagnosing and treating the condition. The impact on quality of life for men experiencing low T can be devastating.
Hormone therapy for men, and in particular bioidentical hormone therapy, can help alleviate the symptoms of low T, and restore quality of life that many male patients feel they have lost forever. So what is hormone therapy and why does it have the power to make men feel so much better?
Hormones are messengers the brain relies on to tell cells what actions to take. Hormones can tell a cell to grow or stop growing, to reproduce faster or slower, to divide, even when to die. Hormones help the body grow, mature and maintain itself.
In many ways hormones call the “functionality” shots in your body. Hormones come in all shapes and sizes, from small minerals to very large proteins, and can be created from protein, amino acids, fatty acids and even cholesterol. Here are a few examples of the various types of hormones:
- Protein hormones: insulin, human growth hormone, and parathyroid hormone
- Amino acids: thyroid hormones
- Fatty acids: Eicosanoids
- Cholesterol: testosterone, estrogens, progesterones, cortisol, DHEA and others
It stands to reason that if hormones call the shots, they have the power to cause havoc in the body when levels are not optimized. Male cells rely on estrogens (estradiol is the most potent), testosterone, cortisol, and thyroid (the hormone responsible for metabolism).
Maintaining hormone balance is critical to the restoration and the maintenance of health as men age. This is because hormones help maintain muscles and bones, and play a role in preventing heart disease. Hormones may even protect against Alzheimer’s, which is the fifth leading cause of death among men aged 65 and older. As the body ages, the levels of important hormones naturally decline. Hormone replacement therapy can help sustain the structure and function of the body and the treat many diseases that are often associated with aging. It also can be used as a preventative healthcare strategy to help slow the aging process by maintaining more youthful hormone levels. This approach can help restore the body to earlier vitality if the therapy is started after the symptoms have impacted the patient.
Bioidentical Hormone Therapy & Its Benefits
We know that hormone therapy is most effective, and associated with fewer side effects, when we use identical hormones to replace those we have lost. Bioidentical hormones come from the Mexican yam, which contains a chemical called diosgenin. Laboratories then change diosgenin to human hormones (steroids). Many studies, especially those in the European literature, show the marked superiority of natural hormones over their synthetic counterparts. Natural bioidentical hormones are approved by the FDA for the treatment of low testosterone in men.
Bioidentical hormones therapies can be customized, which is an important factor in any treatment. The same dosage of hormones is not appropriate for every man because every man’s testosterone levels, for example, are different, so one approach or treatment does not fit all.
Compounding pharmacies specialize in making natural bioidentical hormones. These hormones are medications that can be customized for the unique needs of each individual patient.
For more information on how you can get well, feel well and age well, contact an Ageology physician near you today.
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