Our hormones have a huge affect on our overall health and well-being, as well as aid us in preventing and defending against chronic diseases. And although there are more than five diseases that optimized hormones help to battle and prevent, in this post we will discuss the big five – Diabetes (specifically Type 2), Obesity, Osteoporosis, Prostate Cancer, and Alzheimer’s.
Diabetes (Type 2)
Type 2 Diabetes is a big one because it is a disease that comes with some very unsavory symptoms, as well as can also lead to further diseases. So, by preventing one, we can also work to prevent others.
So, what exactly is type 2 diabetes?
“Diabetes is a disease in which levels of glucose (sugar) in the bloodstream are too high. The body produces glucose from the foods you eat. The liver also releases sugars when you are not eating. The pancreas produces the hormone insulin, which allows glucose from the bloodstream to enter the body’s cells where it is used for energy. In type 2 diabetes, too little insulin is produced, or the body cannot use insulin properly, or both. This results in a build-up of glucose in the blood.” – hormone.org
People with diabetes are at risk for developing serious health problems (complications). If your blood glucose level stays too high for too long, complications can include:
- Kidney disease and failure
- Nerve damage can result in nerve pain or injury to the feet or other extremities without feeling pain
- “Silent” heart attacks (without symptoms)
Many individuals are able to bring their blood glucose levels back to normal through weight loss that results from proper diet and exercise. However, sometimes diet and exercise may not be enough which is why there are several medications and hormone interventions that are available to those who may require a little more help with managing the disease. An important first step is to get screened. Enjoying a long and healthy life should be no problem if you know your blood glucose levels and regularly work with your doctor to keep those levels as close to normal as possible.
Did you know that around 30-40 percent (or over 2.1 billion) adults are estimated to be overweight or obese? And both being overweight or obese can significantly increase the likelihood that you will develop serious health complications.
Obesity, like Type 2 Diabetes, is a disease that can lead to additional highly dangerous and complicated health issues. Additionally, obesity can either cause or be caused by diabetes, and vice versa. Pretty ironic, huh?
“Obesity is very complex and not just a simple problem of willpower or self-control. In general, it results from a combination of eating too much, getting too little physical activity, and genetics. Overweight or obesity occurs when, over time, the body takes in more calories than it burns. However, some people do gain weight more easily than others.” – hormone.org
A hormone imbalance could be another cause of obesity. Although rare, this is the case in hypothyroidism (under active thyroid gland) and Cushing’s syndrome.
Another potential cause of obesity is a hormone imbalance. One of the more common instances of this correlation is hypothyroidism (or underactive thyroid gland). However, these cases are relatively rare.
It is important to note that hormone replacement therapy, properly paired with dietary changes and healthy lifestyle, could also help with combating obesity and the prevention of related diseases.
Most likely, this is a disease you have definitely heard about. And, if you are a woman, you probably have even been warned about it. This disease is relatively common, especially among post-menopausal women.
In the United States, 44 million Americans are at risk for osteoporosis. Ten million already have the disease. Women make up 80 percent of cases. Certain risk factors make it more likely that you will develop osteoporosis.
Other factors that can lead to osteoporosis include:
- Hormonal conditions (such as hyperparathyroidism, hyperthyroidism, diabetes, hypercortisolism, or hyperprolactinemia)
- Anorexia nervosa (a condition associated with very poor nutrition and abnormal ovarian function)
- Too much exercise or stress that leads to loss of menstrual periods
If you’re concerned that you might have osteoporosis, there is a test called the DXA Scan (bone density test) which can help determine your risk of fracture. If you’re a woman over 65 or a man over 70, it’s a good idea to have a DXA Scan done.
Fortunately, with the proper administration of Hormone Replacement Therapy, bone density can be improved, as well as the prevention of further bone loss which is often experienced in post-menopause.
Despite common misconceptions, this disease is not specifically reserved for women:
“Hypogonadism is a major cause of secondary osteoporosis in men. Up to 20% of men with symptomatic, pathologic vertebral fractures and 50% of men with hip fractures are found to be hypogonadal. In a study of 72 hypogonadal men, testosterone replacement was associated with an average 39% increase in bone density in the first year. Bone density eventually increased into the normal range and was maintained there throughout the study.” – Indian Journal of Urology
Speaking of the Indian Journal of Urology, they published a fantastic study in 2012 which covered the safety and efficacy of testosterone replacement in men with relation to prostate cancer. This is one of the more ominous diseases we’re faced with and as many as 1 in 6 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during their lifetime. Don’t get too worked up, though, for as serious as the disease is, about 1 in 33 will die of the disease.
In short, this study and countless others addressed patients presenting with prostate cancer and how testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) might have a positive impact. This could be especially true of those with cancer that is directly related to hypogonadism. Additionally, there is a strong indication that TRT has no negative impact on the level of risk of developing prostate cancer, which, previously, had been a widely debated and contested topic.
A very scary and sad disease that I am sure you have heard of is Alzheimers.You may even know someone who has or is currently living with the neurodegenerative disease. There is currently no known cure for this disease and it continues to be one the greatest medical mysteries of our time.
That said, fantastic strides have been made in medical research regarding the prevention and reduction of Alzheimers. One of the most promising discoveries being results of studies and meta-analysis which indicated that estrogen therapy does have beneficial effects on neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s Disease. Notably, neurodegenerative diseases are associated with internal energy and material metabolism disorders, which are not limited to reproductive hormones.
So How Do I Get Started?
If Hormone Replacement Therapy is something that interests you, it is important for you to locate a provider that only prescribes bioidentical hormones. This helps ensure that you receive someone who specializes in the treatment and not someone who simply dabbles in it. Your health is important and you deserve someone who will invest in you as much as you invest in them. And with careful planning and monitoring, there should be no reason why you can’t enjoy healthy and long-lasting benefits.
Contact our office to learn more about how we can help you. Our staff will be glad to go over the services that we offer and answer any questions you may have. We look forward to hearing from you.