NATURAL BIO-IDENTICAL HORMONE REPLACEMENT THERAPY
Hormones are molecules that are synthesized and secreted by specialized cells in our body called endocrine glands. These hormones are released into the blood stream and exert effects on target cells. Hormone action is determined by the presence of specific hormone receptors located either on the cell surface or intracellularly in the target cells. Hormones turn on the cellular machinery and therefore cause increased metabolism, cellular repair, cell replication, and an increase in protein synthesis.
All aspects of aging are influenced by our body’s hormones. As we age, not only do our hormone levels decrease, but the cellular receptor sites become less sensitive to stimulation by hormones. Commonly, blood testing of our hormones will show that our levels are normal. Normal levels are based upon the age of the individual being tested. These so-called normal levels can still be quite low. Couple these low levels with decreased receptor site sensitivity, individuals may require an increased hormone level to have an affect on cells. This is precisely why people need optimal levels of hormones, not just normal levels. Even though their levels might be normal for their age, an increased level is needed to feel and function better. Research has now proven that hormone therapies are a valid means to improve and prolong quality of life. Deficiencies in hormones and endocrine dysfunction are a major cause of the signs and symptoms of getting old.
“Hormone replacement may not add years to life, but it will add life to years.”
Nothing we know of to date can reverse aging. Hormones however, can slow down the process, help us maintain our good health, potentially decrease illness, and promote a better quality of life.
Hormones decline in all people as they age. Many physicians assume this is part of the natural aging process. I recently talked to a patient who attended a conference on aging and was told that you can expect increased medical problems as you age along with a decrease in the quality of life. At no point was an alternative to just accepting the aging process given to this person. This woman felt that there was no way to avoid aging. She accepted that she would gradually stoop over, become more forgetful and eventually die. I asked if hormone replacement for patients was discussed and was told that it was not mentioned. If a younger person were diagnosed as having a hormonal deficiency, the problem would be quickly corrected. However, the same low level in an older individual is considered normal for their age and would not be treated. I believe that normal is a relative term. Who wouldn’t want the “normal” hormone levels of a 30 year old? Who would want the “normal” hormone levels of an 80 year old? Despite lower hormone levels, labs report this low level as “normal” even though it might be only 20% of the level of a 30 year old. Researchers from around the world have now shown that the hormonal deficiency associated with age should be corrected to that of a younger person. When patients see and feel the improvement, they embrace it.
It has been shown that many of the changes seen in normal aging, including osteoporosis, muscle atrophy, sleep disorders and decreased sociability, are in part caused by a decrease in hormones. The aging process is associated with reduced protein synthesis, decreased lean body mass, decreased bone mass, and increased body fat. These aging changes in the body are consistent with the progressive decline in the blood levels of hormones. Replenishment of these hormones to physiological levels (optimal, but within normal limits and not excessive) has been shown to alleviate these age-related changes. Much of what goes wrong in old age can be attributed to the effect of our hormones, which can no longer maintain the balance that they once did. In fact, the diseases that have become associated with normal aging, such as diabetes, heart disease, and hypertension, are largely a result of what happens when the correct balance of hormone levels is upset. Restoring the proper hormone balance can prevent many of the diseases associated with the aging process.
In summary, research has shown that declining hormone levels can cause many ailments associated with aging. Hormone replacement is the only current solution to alleviate many symptoms. Patients on hormone replacement are typical, middle-aged, healthy people who had experienced gradual decreased energy levels, decreased sense of well-being, laziness and lack of desire for common daily activities. These patients tended to lose muscle tone, gain fat around the mid section and experience thin hair and thin skin. In addition, they showed more signs of aging such as increased cholesterol as well as signs of heart disease and arthritic changes. Within six to twelve months of hormone replacement therapy, patients have noticed reshaped bodies, disappearing fat, increased muscle tone, and the energy of a younger person. These patients noted an improved sense of well-being and an enhanced outlook on life.
Our goal, at Kovak Dermatology & Laser Institute is to give direction to men and women seeking to improve their physical appearance. Our practice of Cosmetic Medicine enables us to treat our patients in a variety of ways, whether it is externally using a laser or internally by allowing the optimal use of hormones. Bio-Identical Hormone Replacement Therapy makes women who go through menopause notice a dramatic changes in skin thickness, texture, hydration, and tightness. Literature in dermatology journals demonstrates that loss of thyroid, estrogen, and testosterone hormones are responsible for this detrimental effect on skin. The only way to treat and prevent the changes in skin, collagen, and elastin, and to prevent wrinkles is through hormone replacement. More importantly, however, are the changes within. The outside skin clearly displays signs of the deterioration of aging, but the inside also incurs significant deterioration that is not visible. This may be the reason that so many mid-life women and men say they just don’t feel as well as they would like. So much of this can be helped if treated early. When you go to that high school reunion, you’d rather hear, “Wow, you look great!” instead of fearing how much you’ve aged.