Mind & Body
The physical and psychological toll of long-term stress on men can be detrimental to the quality of life they live as they age. When men are faced with a stressful situation, they tend to react with the aggressive “fight or flight” response. When this response is activated, a man’s body concentrates on immediately getting energy to the muscles. Heart rate, blood pressure and breathing rates all rapidly increase. After the threat is gone, it takes between 20 to 60 minutes for the body to return to its pre-arousal levels. If a man is repeatedly stressed from demands at work, family responsibilities or other personal issues, he may never return to pre-arousal levels and this can cause significant wear and tear on his body.
Although you can never completely eliminate stress, you can reduce it immensely by incorporating a few simple lifestyle changes to balance your stress hormones. Stress hormones can disrupt almost all of a man’s body’s processes and put him at increased risk of numerous health issues including:
- Heart disease
- Sleep problems
- Digestive problems and ulcers
- Depression and mood swings
- Prostate cancer development
- Memory impairment
- Worsening of skin conditions, such as eczema
- Decreased facial attractiveness
- Reduced testosterone levels
- Increased likelihood of infectious diseases
- Erectile dysfunction
- Lower sperm count
A Multi-Dimensional Approach to Healthcare
While Ageology physicians believe that a customized medical treatment plan of vitamins, nutrition, exercise and hormone therapy, and prescribed medications as needed, is essential to help men achieve optimal health, they also believe the mind and body are inextricably linked with a man’s state of physical health. Most traditional medical doctors do not explore the link between symptoms and the emotional and mental well-being of their male patients. Nor do they seriously offer strategies for patients to manage the impacts of challenges such as prolonged stress, depression and anxiety beyond prescribing medication.
Men do need to stick to an exercise regime, eat healthy and nutritious food, take vitamins to supplement their diet, and possibly undergo bioidentical hormone replacement therapy in order to age well physically, emotionally and mentally. But men also need to understand there’s another side of keeping themselves healthy. Men also need to be able to laugh at themselves, sleep away stress (even if it’s only for a few hours), practice yoga or meditate, and be honest with their friends, family and themselves.
Ageology physicians can and do prescribe, and help male patients manage medication, but they also work with them one-to-one, using non-traditional approaches to managing mind/body health, and helping to restore the critical balance between physical and mental self. Here’s a few examples of a mind/body approach for men:
- Eat well: The connection between the brain and the gut cannot be understated. Every day, new research is being released on what Ageology physicians and other integrative metabolic medicine physicians have known for a long time. What you eat affects how you feel and how you think. Too often, male patients get shuffled from doctor to doctor looking for the cause of their unknown malady. After an adjustment to a low allergen (gluten/dairy/nut/sugar/fruit and alcohol free) diet, within days the patient starts to finally feel better, possibly after many years or a lifetime of feeling poor.
- Get regular exercise and plenty of sleep: Exercise is a natural de-stressor. When men are engaged in physical activity their brains can partially refocus on the task at hand vs. the 1,000 other things that seem so pressing.
- Get plenty of sleep: Quality sleep will stabilize men’s hormone levels and give them a chance to “wind down” to normal levels after a stressful day.
- Practice relaxation techniques: There is nothing better than yoga to release stress. Like other exercise it gives men’s brains a distraction from stressors. But any exercise is even better if you can combine meditation into your practice.
- Foster healthy friendships: Having friends and taking care of animals has been proven to be enormous de-stressors. If you can take your dog to work with you, do it and don’t forget to make time to connect with a friend each and every day.
- Have a sense of humor: Instead of fretting over problems try to find the humorous side of them. Friends and your partner, girlfriend, fiancé or wife are often especially adept at helping you find the lighter side of your challenges, no matter how big they may seem.
- Balance your hormones: Your Ageology physician will use saliva testing to help determine your cortisol levels and based on the results, will help you balance those levels, using a combination of stress reduction techniques, personalized nutrition and fitness regimens, pharmaceutical-grade supplementation and bioidentical hormone therapy.
For more information on how you can get well, feel well and age well, contact an Ageology physician near you today.
Learn more about men’s health issues and how Ageology can help:
Read Ageology’s recent blog posts and library resources to learn more about men’s hormones and integrative metabolic medicine:
- Is 60 Really the New 30?
- Hormones and Stress: Dr. Paul Savage offers 6 Tips to Help Reduce Stress
- 10 Ways to Sharpen Your Brain