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

Sunday, November 10, 2013

This and That.......

Good afternoon from sunny and relatively warm NC!  A gorgeous fall weekend out there, but we are likely to get nailed with a cold front by mid week. Ah, such is the season here in the Southeast.

Today I am going to address a few "hormonal issues":

  • I'm sure nearly all of you have either heard or read about the study done by the Veteran's Administration regarding testosterone and men over 60.  I understand the study was featured in a segment of Good Morning America, and USA Today and a number of other newspapers did articles about the study findings.  First of all, all of the men in this study were at the VA for cardiac catheterizations, which means most of them already had confirmed heart disease.  This is not 8,700 healthy men we are talking about.  Many had other risk factors for heart attacks, including diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity.  Also, although not discussed in the USA Today article, another article I read said the men who were given testosterone were using the gel form of administration, which is known to have widely varying effects on raising men's testosterone levels. Nowhere have I seen any discussion of the levels of testosterone in the men who were taking testosterone, either before or after they were given testosterone. The study is absurd and I am sad that it has gotten as much press coverage as it has....it drives me nuts when so little real, valid information is shared about these studies. Dr. Carr has taught me so much about reading past the headlines, and even reading past the contents of the article to ask questions about risk factors, methodology of studies, and even who might be sponsoring the study (if it's a drug company, be very skeptical.)

  • Not hormone related, but since a significant number of middle aged women and men have knee problems (me included!) I thought you might find this interesting.  According to NBC News, doctors have discovered a new ligament in the human knee called anterolateral ligament (ALL). My first thought was "great, one more ligament for me to worry about popping!" 
  • Yes, it's time for me to go off on another rant about Vitamin D levels.  The days are getting shorter, the sun isn't as strong as it is during the spring and summer, and almost all age management/bioidentical hormone specialists will tell you that anyone over 40 needs to be supplementing their Vitamin D3, that you cannot keep your levels in the optimal range with food and sunshine alone.  Dr. Carr likes his patients to be between 70-100 ng/ml (blood test), and the last time mine was checked in late September it was a nice, healthy 78.  I am often asked how much Vitamin D I take.  From April to about early October, I take 5000 IU's daily, and the rest of the year I take 10,000 IUs daily.  I take it with Vitamin K for better absorption.  I do not use drugstore brands of Vitamin D, right now I am taking Life Extension brand, but have used OrthoMolecular with good results.  The only reason I don't use Ortho right now is because it looks EXACTLY like my DHEA capsule, if I drop one on the floor (a common occurrence since I fractured my arm in August), I have no idea which one it was to replace it.  My jaw dropped when I read this article from NBC News Health about an uptick in rickets in the UK, which is caused by Vitamin D deficiency.  In this day and age, in an industrialized country like the UK (with health care for all), this is an entirely preventable problem!  I know my bones are stronger because of my Vitamin D optimization, and there is considerable evidence that Vitamin D helps with seasonal affective disorder (SAD).  I also believe it has helped boost my immunity, as I am very rarely sick, I have had maybe two very light colds in the last 7 years, have not been on an antibiotic in at least 8 years.   As always, check with your doctor, but if he/she blows you off about getting a Vitamin D blood test, stand your ground and insist on getting one!  I've had a number of people tell me their doctor says they don't need a Vitamin D test because they (the doctor) are sure it's normal.  Number one, normal and optimal are two different things, and secondly, if your doctor can tell by looking at you that your Vitamin D level is normal than he must have some sort of superpower. 

  • There's a "new" drug out for hot flashes called Brisdelle.  It is not a new drug, it's simply Paxil (an antidepressant, and an old one at that) that has now been FDA approved for hot flashes. Check out the list from Web MD of side effects for Paxil, you will note it includes sweating, which is kind of ironic since the drug is being given for hot flashes.   We have a hormone deficiency, ladies, we do not have an antidpressant deficiency.  I am continually astonished (and appalled) at how many women are taking antidpressants, have been for 10 years or more, and don't think it's a big deal.  I took them for years before I got my hormones balanced, and am happy beyond belief that I do not take them anymore.  As always, do not, and I mean NEVER, go off an antidepressant cold turkey......weaning off an antidpressant should always be done under the supervision of a doctor.  
I think that's about it for today.  Happy Veteran's Day to all of you who have served our country.  My mother, as well as her sister and brother, were all in World War II at the same time.....I cannot imagine what my Grandma went through.  

My mom, circa 1942

Mom's sister, my Aunt Rocky (Betty), not sure of the date but about 1942 also.

Mom's brother, my Uncle Jack.  Again, circa 1942-1943.  I never met Uncle Jack, he died of a lung ailment when I was two years old. I am told I have his (and Aunt Rocky's) sharp, wicked sense of humour, and for that I am grateful!