The field of Age Management Medicine is fairly new to the medical world. In fact, many physicians haven’t even heard of it. Or they just assume it’s “Anti-Aging” Medicine, which has a sort of built-in connotation of vanity or the quest to live forever. There often ends up being an immediate reaction that it’s not “real” medicine, but a luxury reserved for Beverly Hills housewives and people who fear death – or at least fear looking old.
So I’d like to clear up a couple of myths about it.
Age Management Medicine, Defined
To start, I’d like to dispel the myth that Age Management is simply a “vanity” sort of medical field. A good place to begin is simply by defining Age Management Medicine.
Age Management Medicine is a proactive, preventative approach to healthcare for an aging population. It is focused on preservation of optimum human function and quality of life, making every effort to modulate the process of aging prior to the onset of degenerative aging. The basic tenets of Age Management Medicine are patient evaluation through extensive medical history, lifestyle assessment, physical examination and laboratory evaluation to establish personalized, proactive treatment plans consisting of proper diet, exercise, stress management and appropriate medical interventions.
So Age Management Medicine is not about living to be 120 or 130 years old. It’s about helping you look and feel and function as good as possible for a long as possible. It’s about enjoying a very high quality of life as you age, continuing to do what you love without becoming increasingly reliant on the care of others – which most of us fear.
The key difference between Age Management Medicine and most other medical specialties is that its approach is proactive. In most fields of traditional medicine, the medical community’s approach is: wait until you get sick, then prescribe treatment. Age Management’s interventions are intended to preserve for you the highest quality of life for the longest period of time.
Is Age Management Just Prescribing Hormones?
Another myth is that Age Management just means prescribing hormones. While hormones play a key role in aging as well as in disease prevention (or progression, depending on the hormone), there are many other factors at play.
If you’re like most people, levels of key hormones begin to decline in your late 20s to early 30s (Note to women: this is way before menopause!). And some hormones, like melatonin, start to fall as early as your late teens. So a key component of Age Management is restoring the hormones that decline as we get older to levels that are associated with the highest quality of life and lowest incidence of bodily decline and degenerative diseases.
We do this by focusing on key areas that affect hormone production or decline:
Nutrition: I can’t emphasize enough the role of nutrition in supporting optimal hormone levels. When you think about it, virtually every cell in your body gets its building blocks from what you eat. There are certain types of foods and patterns of eating that increase hormone production and utilization and types of foods and patterns of eating that decrease hormone production and utilization. An Age Management physician will educate you on how and what to eat to support healthy hormone levels.
Exercise: Did you know that there are ways of exercising that increase hormone production and ways of exercising that actually decrease hormone production? This depends largely on the type and amount of exercise you do as well as your age and current level of fitness. A knowledgeable Age Management physician will make specific, personalized exercise recommendations to optimize hormone production and your body’s utilization of its key hormones to burn fat, preserve lean muscle mass, and prevent degeneration of your body.
Lifestyle: Things like stress and sleep also play a key role in determining where your hormone levels are. Chronic stress, both mental and physical, increases the levels of fat-storing, disease progressing hormones and decreases the levels of fat-burning, disease preventing hormones. And sleep – the amount, time, and quality – plays a key role as well. Understanding this will help your body maximize the production and use of hormones.
So What About Prescribing Hormones?
Even if you’re eating right, exercising right, and have a low stress lifestyle, you will experience a drop in key energy producing, disease preventing hormones as you get older. It’s called age-related hormonal decline. Either the cells that produce hormones are dying off, or the enzymes that convert less active forms of hormones to their more active forms, are working less efficiently. This loss is what takes away the look and feel of being young and makes you more susceptible to chronic degenerative disease.
This is when individualized, targeted hormone therapy is used. Optimizing your hormone levels is key in increasing your quality of life and level of functioning as well as decreasing your risk of degeneration, decline, and disease.
Specific Benefits of Age Management Medicine
The most common benefits of Age Management are:
- Maintaining healthy body composition and lower body fat
- Improved sleep
- Increased sex drive and performance
- Increased energy and decreased fatigue
- Maintaining bone density and muscle mass
- Decreased risk of heart disease, cancer, diabetes and other serious ailments
- Maintaining healthy brain function and prevention of dementia
- Increased overall feeling of well-being – you just feel better!
Age Management’s Role in the Future of Medicine
Age Management is growing in popularity. I regularly attend conferences on the relevant science and studies and keep up on the latest research related to the field. More and more physicians are interested in it. Because it works. But the movement is largely patient-driven. People are tired of the approach traditional medicine offers, and its high failure rate in preventing the incidence of decline and disease. Patients are looking for solutions that work in making them look and feel better as they age. They want their bodies to be strong, attractive and vigorous and their minds to be sharp. I believe so strongly in providing this for my patients that I have dedicated my entire practice to the specialty.
I have a vision that Age Management will become the “standard of care” in medicine. That means that the medical community will implement its principles in caring for all patients, routinely. You deserve better than what traditional medicine has to offer. You deserve to look and feel as good as possible for as long as possible.
So Which Is It…Live Longer or Live Better?
The real answer is that you don’t have to choose. Age Management Medicine can provide you with a personalized protocol for your health that will give you the tools you need to live both longer and better. So you can feel like you did in your 20s and 30s when you’re in your 70s, 80s, and beyond.
I have seen it. And believe it can be true for you as well.
To schedule an Age Management/Hormonal Optimization evaluation with Dr. Mike Carragher, call 1-323-874-9355.