Has your doctor ever come back with a stack of lab results and told you that you were “normal,” yet you still don’t feel like your old self? Did you just assume that your doctor was right and that you just had to learn how to put up with it? Maybe you should have just turned around and run instead!
Conventional wisdom always held that fatigue, poor sleep, sluggish recovery from exercise and lackluster libido is a “normal” part of aging. Lab tests that measure testosterone and other hormones seem to back up those claims that you should feel “normal.”
Except that you don’t. You may feel tired, dull and listless. But why? A lot of it depends on how you define normal.
A lot of doctors define normal by what they see on a lab result – literally. Laboratories usually report their findings in numerical values, and then assign a normal range to those numbers. Many clinicians only glance to see if test results are abnormally high or abnormally low, and ignore everything within normal range.
Let’s take testosterone levels, for example. Medical professionals report testosterone in nanograms per deciliter, or ng/dL. A nanogram is one-billionth of a gram; and a deciliter is 1/10th of a liter of fluid, so nanograms per deciliter is a very specific measurement.
The normal range for testosterone is 300 to 1200 ng/dL. If your testosterone falls anywhere within this range, your doctor might just brush off the normal results by saying that everything is “fine.”
But it’s not fine. Sure, the numbers on the lab results are within normal ranges, but you don’t feel like the energetic, focused and vibrant person you used to be. That’s because there are three big problems with relying solely on normal laboratory ranges to define “normal.”
Problem 1: The Gap
300 to 1200 ng/dL is a huge range! It is basically saying that someone with a 300 ng/dL testosterone level is the same as someone with four times as much testosterone.
It also ignores the normal range for YOU. What is normal for you might not be normal for me.
You might be having symptoms because your levels are lower than they used to be, but your doctor doesn’t recognize it because your test results come back within the normal range. In fact, your level may have been three or four times higher a few years ago
Problem 2: Generic definition of “normal”
Scientists came up with the normal range for testosterone years ago by measuring the testosterone of a bunch of guys who ranged in age from about 19 to 90. The researchers noticed that the healthy 19 year olds had higher testosterone levels than did the older guys, so the scientists concluded that it is “normal” for older men to have much lower testosterone levels than younger men.
The big problem is that the scientists didn’t factor overall health and fitness levels into their equation, so they were lumping in healthy and unhealthy guys into the same reference range. I don’t want my hormone levels compared to someone with a health problem or who is twice my age – or even half my age – and I’m sure you don’t either. I want my hormone levels compared with healthy men operating at peak performance.
More importantly, I want my hormone levels measured against how I feel. Optimal hormone levels are those that provide the highest quality of life, offer maximum relief from symptoms, the lowest risk of degenerative disease, and the best health outcomes possible. That’s where I want my “normal” hormone levels to be.
Problem 3: Checking the wrong hormones
Checking the right hormones is essential for an optimal outcome, yet many doctors order the wrong test. Most general practitioners (GPs) look at total testosterone, which does not give them the information they need. Doctors should be ordering free testosterone, which is the hormone that actually does all the things you want it to do.
For the most accurate assessment and optimal outcomes possible, go to a physician who specializes in Age Management and Hormone Optimization. These clinicians stay up on all the latest research on hormone therapies and know how to treat hormonal deficiencies. Age Management specialists take the time to develop a comprehensive treatment plan that fits the needs of every patient they see.
If your doctor tells you that fatigue, low sex drive, depression, increased body fat, loss of muscle mass and poor quality sleep are “normal” for your age, you know what to do –
Free Quiz: Are You At Risk For Hormone Decline?
Want to find out if you’re at risk for hormone decline? First, take our scientifically based hormone decline risk assessment – completely free (takes no more than 5 minutes).
After completing it, you will find out your risk level for hormone decline and, most importantly, how to proceed with beating your symptoms. Click here to take the male version, and click here to take the female version.
Then, if you’re interested in learning more about our comprehensive Age Management & Hormone Optimization program, contact us through this form to schedule your free consultation, or call us at 323-874-9355.