April 9, 2014
Are anti-aging hormones killing you?
By jane sadler firstname.lastname@example.org “Mike” arrived in the office looking super-fit! The best I have ever seen him in the last 15 years. He was muscular, lean, and appeared incredibly healthy. But he felt “terrible” and wanted me to take over the management of his care. Mike has been seeing an anti-aging physician specialist outside of town and has been on a combination of three different hormone medications. But his medicine could kill him. Lab work demonstrated thickening of the blood which could put him at risk for blood clots in the legs, lungs or even heart. For example, normal hemoglobin (blood concentration) is between 14-17 and his was over 19. The testosterone level was elevated beyond detectable lab values and his kidney function was on the decline. Luckily, Mike was quick to be proactive and notify his specialist immediately for dosing adjustment and he has elected to wean off the medication under supervision and transfer back to our clinic for ongoing care. Risks of multi-anabolic (muscle-enhancing) steroids include infertility, breast development, shrinking testicles, rage, aggression, mania, liver disease or tumors, stroke, heart attack. Outside of the prescribed physician’s office and needle sharing among users, other risks include Hepatitis or HIV. We know that exposing mice to 6 months of anabolic steroids significantly decreases lifespan. As a young college student at Texas A&M, I was an active member of the Weight Lifting Club. Many of my friends were “juicing” with Dianabol (a muscle-enhancing steroid). Black-market suppliers were plenty. I remember one friend injecting the steroid directly into his leg so that his “stork legs” would look stronger and match his large upper torso (He reminded me of the father star of Walt Disney’s The Incredibles). His legs still looked awkwardly small in comparison to his over-sized chest musculature and he became both physically and emotionally aggressive. Despite warnings, anti-aging hormone therapy is a thriving enterprise. Therefore, there must be a large number of people more interested in quality of life over quantity? I think Mike would disagree based on how poorly he feels right now. Yet, if there were responsibly managed balanced multi-hormone therapy, would it be worth it to feel great for a few years in exchange for years of life potentially lost? Unlike Mike, a few of my patients have been pleased with anti-aging hormone treatments prescribed by experienced physicians in the metroplex. However, anti-aging medicine is an evolving specialty not yet recognized by mainstream medicine (such as the American Medical Association). Dr. Perls review of anti-aging hormones is a good eye-opener to practicing physicians. Perhaps physicians are not listening to the needs of our patients and administering to their concerns. Perhaps there is a place for anti-aging hormones, however more research to ensure patient protection, standardized treatment protocols and concentrated patient monitoring are needed to ensure benefits outweigh risks. http://healthblog.dallasnews.com/2014/04/are-anti-aging-hormones-aging-you.html/