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Aging is a State of Mind

Written by: Dr. Fred Harvey, MD

I’ve heard it said that age is just a state of mind. “If that’s true then why am I feeling so old?” you may ask yourself. Aging is a process that can be swift and devastating or slow and graceful. I look at aging as an accrual of damage from imbalances in metabolism that result in loss of organ reserve and present as symptoms of some dysfunction or disease. In some cases, our genetic inheritance drives our aging. In most however we are the ones doing it to ourselves intentionally or unintentionally. For example, cigarette smoking results in damage to collagen and elastin metabolism of the skin and increases the speed that the skin ages causing premature and severe wrinkling. Cigarettes are an obvious source of body damage and thus accelerated aging, and so I bet that you do not smoke if you are reading this, but have you considered some less obvious targets?

Many people have been sold a hormone replacement and supplementation paradigm of better living through modern chemistry by doctors who focus their practices on “anti-aging” medicine. Although in many instances, the client feels better initially, eventually they begin to deteriorate in vitality because hormones can become toxic in the patient when the underlying cause of hormone deficiency is not addressed. The hormones treat the symptoms and numbers of lab values but they do not fix the reasons for hormone imbalance that could range from sleep apnea to lack of zinc. I diagnosed a pituitary tumor in a patient who had been treated with testosterone for a low level that was not fully evaluated by the initial doctor.

In the right individual, however, hormone replacement can be the answer to a vibrant full life. This patient is one in whom we have diagnosed low hormone levels. We have looked deeper for the cause with comprehensive history and targeted diagnostic testing. The results of the diagnostic evaluation will be used to formulate an individualized lifestyle and medicine program. The patient is then treated and reevaluated regularly to assess response and to assure safety. Sometimes we find that the non-hormonal therapies restore the hormone levels before we intervene, but when needed they are highly effective.

Some of the lifestyle measures are to implement and are critical for success. These include stress reduction techniques. They are important due to the way hormones are related in the body. Excess cortisol production in stress imbalances the other hormones. Exercise is crucial to help clear the system and reset many intracellular processes that boost energy. There is nothing like some high intensity interval training to boost my energy and mood! Eating organic is the other critical leg of the foundational health platform that reverses heart disease and prostate cancer and turns on your rejuvenation and vitality genes.

If you want to know more about what may accelerate your aging and how to promote better vitality join me for the next “Ask the Doc” discussion for men only in June.

Brews & Bros June 21, 6-8pm.. For more information or to purchase $10 tickets please contact the Harvey Center for Integrative Medicine at 941-929-9355. Please note this is a casual MEN ONLY discussion group on health and wellness. Gluten Free beer and snacks will be served at State Street Gin Library in Sarasota

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