Many people in their 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s attribute their symptoms to aging. This idea may come from their physicians who sometimes in response to their patient’s questions about the origin of their symptoms may respond with "What do you expect? You’re 50 years old."
It is an error to attribute physical decline to aging alone without first evaluating other potential causes. Because chronological age is not reversible, blaming a condition wholly on age is tantamount to saying nothing can be done about it. Despite their age, many patients may improve by implementing life enhancement programs, no matter how old. There is an enormous variability of function in people of all ages, and many important influences on function are not fixed, but are modifiable. No one expects to stay young forever, but everyone would like to be as functional mentally and physically as long as possible
Aging effects can be mimicked by:
Each of these factors can be addressed and improved. We look at all of them, and offer ways of correcting deficiencies and imbalances. Many people of middle or older age are prescribed three, four or even more daily medications by their physicians, all of which could generate side effects, and, in combination, further aggravate symptoms.
Fatigue, forgetfulness, and lack of energy are common consequences of drug therapy. When drugs are reduced or eliminated these symptoms may improve. Many drugs are able to be discontinued when poor lifestyle choice are changed.
Treating the root cause of a disease is far better than just treating the symptoms. Hormone replacement is just one way to avoid the need for certain drugs, such as bisphosphonates for osteoporosis, sedatives for anxiety, and antidepressants for depression.
Since both men and women have hormones that decline with age and estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone are measured when indicated. Other hormones including thyroid, DHEA, and adrenal may also be measured if needed. Optimal therapy includes various combinations of hormones depending on the patient’s response to initial treatment.
Both men’s and women’s response to hormone replacement can be variable but most are usually rapid and dramatic. Improvements in sleep, sense of well-being, mood, energy, libido and cognitive function can occur within days to weeks. Many patients state they did not know how bad they felt until they started feeling so good again. Many comment that they feel like their younger selves.
Cardiovascular benefits of hormone replacement are documented. Estrogen maintains arterial elasticity, preventing arteries from becoming stiff. Stiffness is the first measurable defect in arterial function. It precedes the onset of vascular events such as heart attacks and strokes by several years. The same process helps slow the visible signs of aging including reducing skin wrinkling. In men, higher levels of testosterone are also protective against cardiac disease.
The gains from hormone replacement therapy are so effective in decreasing and even reversing some of the aging process that it is a shame to manage any patient with age-related conditions without exploring the benefits of hormone replacement.