AGE-RELATED ENDOCRINE AND METABOLIC CHANGES

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The endocrine and metabolic control systems offer many of the greatest opportunities for preventing disabilities associated with aging. Thyroid disease is common and often undiagnosed, but early detection and treatment can prevent unnecessary disability. Diabetes mellitus is extremely common, and normalizing blood glucose levels reduces its devastating vascular and neurologic complications. Hyperparathyroidism, hyperthyroidism, and hypothyroidism are clinical masqueraders. Early diagnosis by screening for hypercalcemia leads to proper treatment, preventing disability.

Menopause, a normal state of ovarian hormone deficiency, dramatically affects older women, often producing disabling consequences. But estrogen replacement therapy can largely eliminate them.

Hypogonadism in older men has been less thoroughly studied, but many cases of male sexual disability can be improved by proper diagnosis and treatment. Furthermore, a growing knowledge of the importance of lipoprotein (particularly cholesterol) metabolism disorders has led to improved prevention and treatment, helping reduce the incidence of atherosclerosis and its consequences.

Changes in Hormone Levels

With aging, many aspects of the endocrine system change. Some endocrine organs and axes become hypoactive, either from diseases or physiologic down-regulation; some change little or not at all; and a few become hyperactive. These diverse and at times striking changes result from changes in hormone production and secretion rates, metabolic clearance rates, and tissue responsiveness or sensitivity (based on changes in hormone receptors or postreceptor mechanisms). Thus, an analysis of observed changes may be extremely complex.

Serum hormone levels reflect the sum of all these changes . Many changes are interrelated, one often serving as a compensatory response for another. For example, pituitary gonadotropins rise as gonadal hormones decline; insulin rises because of age-associated insulin resistance.

Raising your hormonal levels back to your youthful levels can be a crucial step in anti aging.

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