"Treat the disease, you win some, you lose some. Treat the patient, you always win."
~Patch Adams~

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween to all!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

For Older Men, Lowered Testosterone May Mean Muscle Loss

Today's article from MedicalNet.com is for the man in your life----partner, parent, sibling, friends. A study done at Kaiser Permanente in Oregon studied 1200 men age 65 and over, and found that the men with higher levels of testosterone were less likely to suffer from muscle mass loss than those with lower levels of testosterone.

Makes sense, since testosterone is what builds muscle in both men and women----I would venture a guess that the majority of women on bioidentical hormones are on testosterone (most doctors who are proficient in bioidentical hormones know that true balance is more than just sticking an estrogen patch on a woman and sending her on her way). I know in my own case that the testosterone has helped me build muscle tissue in my back, thus stabilizing it and giving me better core strength---crucial for me because of spinal abnormalities. I even have a hint of muscle definition in my arms, not Michelle Obama arms by any means, but I will now occasionally wear a sleeveless shirt now, something in the past I wouldn't have dreamed of.

Back to the men ------ muscle strength for men as they age will help reduce the chances of falling, and if they do fall, will enable them to get back up unassisted. People with more muscle mass burn fat more efficiently, and testosterone is also important for bone health (men tend to not develop osteopenia/osteoporosis until a little later in life than women, but by the age of about 65 their risk is as great as women.) It's important to note that after the age of 65, 1 in 4 people who fall and break a hip will die within one year of the injury. Those statistics alone are enough to keep me in the gym.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Women Experiencing Menopause May Not Get Enough Vitamin D

The study that this article from BetterHealthResearch.com refers to has been all over the Internet in the last week or so. over 3500 Spanish women were included in the study and it was determined that only 39% of this group were getting the "recommended" amount of Vitamin D every day. As most of you know, Vitamin D is essential for bone health and for a variety of other health concerns. Additionally, the "recommended" daily amount of Vitamin D is considered by many doctors (including my own) to be woefully inadequate, somewhere between 600-800 IUs (International Units) daily. I take 5,000 IUs of Vitamin D3 daily, and still struggle to get my blood levels up the optimal 70-100 ng/ml per day. We do not absorb Vitamin D as well as we age, even with sun exposure. As always, check with your doctor/healthcare practitioner before starting/increasing a supplement.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Is There a 'Best' Exercise?

I've been exercising regularly for about 5 years now----and it still amazes me that I can say that. I'm not setting any records, and for me it's partially about overall health and partly about being able to stand up and walk; I have a very screwed up back, pelvis and hip from a long ago car accident so my exercise routines are actually physical therapy. I am a big believer in combining cardio/aerobic exercise with weight training. I cured my osteopenia with regular weight exercise, Vitamin D and testosterone, and I don't want to go backwards. I love to walk, but right now I am dealing with a pretty bad case of Achilles tendonosis (both ankles), so I have had to substitute riding the recumbent bike (yawn) as a safe alternative.

I love to listen to the conversations at the gym about what everyone else does as their favourite form of exercise, a lot of what they are talking about I have never even heard of! People can be really passionate. Check out this article from the Huffington Post, and also from The NY Times. I agree with the statement that the best exercise is different for each person----do what you can, what you enjoy, and what won't eventually bore you to death. I think one of the hardest things for me to adjust to was that I need to constantly change up your routines, like most of you, I am a creature of habit and get comfortable with doing the same routines over a period of time.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend! It's gorgeous but cold here in NC----Fall is making a statement!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

'Our Bodies' Gets an Israeli Makeover

This article from the Jewish Daily Forward really caught my attention because I have owned at least two versions of the book "Our Bodies, Ourselves". I remember when it came out in 1970 (I was 12), it was groundbreaking and very controversial. My mother did buy me a copy, but told me I was not to share it with my friends. As I remember, we had to go to a bigger city to purchase it, as the bookstore in our small town did not carry it. Times sure have changed.

I'm fascinated with the terms used for menopause in Arabic and Hebrew. The book coined new words for this time in our lives and I like them much better. I didn't realize in Israel that fertility treatments are covered by the government and therefore widely used. I am sad to say I do not know very much about the Israeli culture, but this article makes me want to learn more.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

I kid you not-----

Today is World Menopause Day! Get out there and celebrate! Here's the link to the International Menopause Society --- I'm not one of their fans, as they are not supportive of bioidentical hormone therapy.) I am, however, happy that we "get" a day in our honour!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Massage Therapy For Menopause

I don't do massages for a couple of reasons: 1. I have had post traumatic stress disorder in the past, and having someone I am not familiar/comfortable with touching me in such an intimate way can sometimes flip me out, and 2. I have very sensitive parts of my back, that if touched the wrong way can exacerbate big time pain (I would be so stressed that someone would set off the back pain that I could never relax enough during the massage to actually enjoy the massage!)

However, a number of women have told me that they have used massage therapy to help with menopausal symptoms, especially the stress and anxiety that so often accompanies the peri/menopausal transition. Check out this article from TheHuffingtonPost.com for some of the ways that massage therapy can relieve menopausal symptoms.

This is how I feel about bioidetical hormone practitioners:

"Great things are accomplished by talented people who believe they will accomplish them."
- Warren Bennis

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Male Testosterone Levels Influenced By Genetic Makeup

Good morning! I'm up early to hit the gym today (weight workouts and 30 minutes on the bike.) It's a nasty, miserable day here (but we need the rain)---I really wanted to just stay in bed this morning!

I'm reading a good book on testosterone replacement therapy for men called Testosterone For Life by Abraham Morgentaler, MD. Dr. Carr recommended it to me. I'm about two thirds of the way through the book, and will have a full review when I finish (I'm usually reading two or three things at once, and so it takes me longer).

This morning's article is from Medical News Today, and it discusses how testosterone levels in men are influenced by genetics. Since I know many of you have partners/family in the age group where testosterone deficiencies start to occur, read this article yourself and then share it with the man/men in your life!

Friday, October 7, 2011

A little off topic this morning----

Like so many of you, I am very saddened by the death of Steve Jobs. I cried Wednesday night when I looked at my IPhone. I was heartened this morning to see that my hormone practitioner, John Carr, was featured in a story about the reaction from every day people to Job's passing on ABC News.

I am off to a quilt show today with a friend----so I will post over the weekend. Beautiful day here in NC, hope it's the same wherever you are. Enjoy your day!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Vitamin D deficiency might be common in fair skinned people: Study

Hi everyone, computer problems (needed a new malware program) are fixed and I'm back up and running----still catching up a bit.

With the days getting shorter (boo, hiss)----I thought this article from News-Medical.net was timely. A study done in Great Britain with 1200 participants concluded that fair skinned people are more likely to be have deficient Vitamin D levels. Low levels of Vitamin D (and regular readers of this blog know that Vitamin D is a prohormone) are associated with increased risk for skin cancer, breast caner, osteopenia/osteoporosis, just to name a few. Fair skinned people tend to get less sun exposure, and use higher SPF sunscreens.

Depending on what lab/doctor you use, you will get a huge range of what is considered an optimal Vitamin D range--- my own physician uses 70-100 nmol/L. I struggle in the winter to maintain that level, even with 5000 IUs of Vitamin D daily (and we bump it to 10,000 IUs every other day and 5,000 on the alternate days from December to March). Summertime I'm usually fine with 5,000 IUs----I'm out doing water aerobics in our condo pool 4-5 days a week.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Sorry I haven't posted in a couple days-----

Computer gremlins (I think my 'puter is peri/menopausal). I'm almost back on track, working through the backlog. Hopefully will be caught up and posting again by Friday, thank you for understanding!

Monday, October 3, 2011

5 Infuriating Fibs About Women Over 50

Good Monday morning! Not exactly a "hormonal" post this morning, but I was fascinated by some of the statistics in this article from TheHuffingtonPost.com. No, we are not invisible----we (women over 50, I would broaden that to include women in the per/menopausal stage of their lives) are visible, vocal, and a driving force in today's society (some of society just hasn't gotten the message yet!)

Saturday, October 1, 2011

10 reasons why you need to change doctors

Those of you who have read my blog for any length of time know I am all about patient empowerment----choosing a doctor carefully, asking questions, etc. Good article from the KevinMD.com blog today, written by Dominic A. Carone, PhD, neuropsychologist who blogs at MedFriendly.com. It's important reading, it lists 10 different reasons you might need to change doctors.

Pay particular importance to #10 ----- checking out your doctor on the state medical licensing board, and with his/her appropriate certification board. I am amazed at the number of patients who tell me "well, I picked this doctor out of so and so's book (insert celebrity name here) but then I found out he had his board certification suspended, lost prescribing privileges...". One of the West Coast's "top" BHRT specialists has lost his medical license in the last two years. You think it can't happen to you, but it can, and I absolutely stress checking out any new practitioner. All of the reasons listed in the article are important-----be sure to check this one out.