Aging in Miramar is difficult enough for women without having to deal with declining hormones. Women in Miramar often complain of a diminished sense of well being, chronic fatigue, and a loss of libido just to mention a few symptoms of hormone imbalance.
For many women there is a tremendous void in treatment of menopausal symptoms. Hot flashes, mood swings and low or no sex drive are just the tip of the iceberg. Some earlier hormone imbalance symptoms of estrogen deficiency are frequent waking at night. Many others are present, including “mental fogginess.” A woman’s short-term memory retention may be dwindling and her concentration and focus isn’t as good as it used to be. Frequently, women may experience some loss of energy to the point that they actually slide into symptoms of chronic fatigue. In addition, women may experience some mood swings and irritability, and at the extreme may actually develop feelings of depression. With the loss of energy and chronic fatigue, females find themselves unable to exercise as much as in the past, or to recover as quickly when exercising. Women often find themselves increasing weight gain in spite of attempts at exercising. One hormone imbalance symptom that is not frequently discussed is the loss of sex drive and diminished libido. Not only is energy level and sense of well being diminished, but anticipation and enjoyment of sexual activity is waning as well.
Are You Curious About Testosterone?
Are you one of those guys who are burning the candle at both ends and maybe only getting 4 or 5 hours of sleep a night? Are you also one of those guys having problems with his sex drive and feeling out of sorts? Well, recent studies done in the last 3 years show that these symptoms could all be due to the effect of sleep on testosterone - just how, though, may be a chicken and egg question!
While it's true that lower testosterone levels can be the cause of a sluggish sex drive and irritability it seems to be a matter of research opinion whether low sleep levels cause low testosterone or low testosterone causes lack of sleep.
Here's what we know about sleep, and testosterone to date as it relates to men:
After age 30, men's testosterone levels drop between 1 and 2% a year! By the time they reach 40 they start experiencing trouble sleeping. They complain of less deep sleep time, the period of sleep where the body repairs itself.
In fact, as a man gets older, the most recent studies assert, he can lose deep sleep time altogether! That means the older a man gets, the more his testosterone levels continue to decline, the less deep sleep he gets, the more his body's repair mechanisms decline and the higher his risk climbs for disease!
The reason for this decline in deep sleep time is thought to be due to a loss of neuron activity, which synchronizes brain activity. These neurons are responsible for about 20% of achieving deep sleep. They are intact in young men and get further scrambled as a man ages.
To further complicate things, low testosterone levels are thought to contribute to this loss of neuron activity in the brain. The take away of these studies, then, whichever perspective you come from, seem to say that restoring testosterone to healthy, youthful levels would likely help a man not only achieve deep, restorative sleep again, but also keep him healthier, re-invigorate his sluggish sex drive and keep him in a happier frame of mind.
Do You Have Symptoms of Low Testosterone?
One of the most frequent complaints I hear from my over-40 patients is that their sex drive has diminished significantly from when they were younger. One of the first things I do is to check a testosterone level and most often find that it is decreased. Interestingly, as well, is that they also often complain of not sleeping very much and are depressed!
Now whether their lack of sleep is from a too hectic lifestyle, stress, or from their decreased testosterone level, is not clear. However, when I recommend that they try to get between 6-8 hours of sleep a night their testosterone levels seem to naturally increase and their mood is brighter!
But decreased testosterone levels don't just affect men over 50, it can start as young as the 30-40's! Many men don't seek treatment because they think it's just a part of getting older and they're embarrassed to talk about it! Like menopause in women, low testosterone is not something men have to suffer through just because it's associated with getting older. Here are some other symptoms you may not associate with low testosterone levels:
•Emotional changes, like depression, irritability, "grumpy old man" syndrome
•Decreased muscle strength
•Loss of height
•Weight gain, especially belly fat
What Does Cause Low Testosterone?
Low testosterone levels can be caused or aggravated by a number of things both nutritional and environmental. For my patients who have lower than optimal testosterone levels, here are some other things I tell them to pay attention to in their diet and lifestyle:
•Xenoestrogens - in food and water supplies. These are "environmental estrogens" from soy products and plastics that get into our food and can decrease testosterone levels. Stay away from foods containing soy, most notably protein bars and soymilk. If you buy frozen foods, transfer them from their plastic container into a glass dish before heating.
•Lack of Protein - men need between 0.5 to 1 gram of high quality protein per pound of body weight per day to both build muscle strength and testosterone. Sources include pork, beef, and chicken, which also have higher levels of zinc, which is testosterone friendly.
•Lack of Cholesterol - many men over 40 are watching cholesterol intake for the sake of their arteries, but too little cholesterol will stop testosterone production. Aim for about 30% fat, mostly monounsaturated (nuts, olive oil) and some saturated (red meat, eggs) to build testosterone. Go very light, or leave out, polyunsaturated fats (fish, vegetable oils) as studies have shown they can decrease testosterone perhaps because they may contain xenoestrogens.
•Lack of Nutrition - zinc is a major building mineral for testosterone. The B vitamins, especially B1, B6, and B12 are helpful in keeping testosterone levels healthy. Be sure that your vitamin/mineral supplement includes these.
•Too Much Alcohol - alcohol increases blood sugar levels, which decreases testosterone. Limit to a few drinks per week.
•Lack of Sleep - as mentioned earlier, less than 6 hours of sleep a night can seriously rob your body of its repairing mechanisms and this includes the re-manufacturing of hormones like testosterone. See that you get at least 6-8 hours of sleep at night, more if you have been ill or under a lot of stress. Try some natural sleep aids like Valerian, calcium/magnesium supplements with some warm milk before bed. Cut back caffeine to not past 4 pm, and limit heavy meals to 2-3 hours before bedtime.
Researchers may finally decide which comes first; low testosterone then poor sleep, or poor sleep then low testosterone. In the meantime, I'm going to continue to counsel my patients that adequate sleep is at least a significant factor in low testosterone levels. However, before you start thinking dangerous steroids or prescription testosterone replacements, try the natural suggestions offered here. I believe your T-levels will be up to optimal levels and your sex drive and pleasant mood back on track in no time!
Mark Rosenberg, M.D.
Institute For Healthy Aging
Testosterone Replacement Therapy or a Testosterone Booster?
Breast Cancer is the cancer that develops in the breast tissues mostly in the inner lining of milk ducts or in the lobules which supply milk to the ducts. Depending on the place of origination, they are known as ductal carcinoma, if originated in the milk ducts or lobular carcinoma when originated in the lobules. Breast cancers are also classified as hormone-positive or a hormone-negative cancer which is decided based on their sensitivity to hormones like progesterone and estrogen.
The options available for breast cancer treatment depend on the type of breast cancer and the staging results. Staging is the process in which the disease spread and its progressive extend is determined. Though it is the most common non-skin type of cancer in women and is considered one of the fatal types of cancer, there are many advanced breast cancer treatment options which can help cure this disease if detected early.
Breast Cancer Treatment Plan
Once the cancer has been diagnosed, the doctors evaluate the pathology report and form a plan that would suit the type of cancer and the stage to which the disease has progressed. Treatment modes aim at reducing the spread of the disease, destruction of the diseased cells and reduction of chances for re-occurrence in future. The doctors would choose a single or a set of treatment options based on the patient's medical conditions which they may evaluate periodically.
Types of Breast cancer treatment methods
The treatments available are in general classified as standard methods and clinical trial methods. Standard methods are those that are currently practised for the cure of breast cancer while clinical trials are those that are currently being tested for more efficient results. The standard methods of breast cancer treatment include surgery, hormone therapy, chemotherapy, radiation treatments and targeted therapy.
Surgical method of Breast Cancer Treatment
Surgery is one potential option for removing the cancerous cells from the body. The entire breast or a partial portion of the breast is removed depending on the level of spread and the stage to which the disease has progressed. Based on the level of operation that is required to remove the cancerous cells, the surgeries are differentiated into three types as below.
* Breast-conserving Surgery - This is an operation where only the portion of the breast that contains the cancer is removed and not the breast itself. If the surgery requires removal of just the tumor in the breast and a little amount of tissue, it is known as Lumpectomy or is known as Partial mastectomy if it includes removal of partial amount of the breast along with a considerable amount of normal tissues. These kinds of surgeries may also include removal of lymph nodes under the arm which are used for the purpose of biopsy. Such dissection done either along with the surgery or after it is known as lymph node dissection.
* Total Mastectomy - This kind of surgery targets on removing the whole breast which is infected with the cancerous cells. This also requires removal of lymph nodes for the purpose of biopsy.
* Modified radical Mastectomy - This is the surgery that removes extensive portions to get rid of the cancerous cells. The complete breast affected by cancer along with certain lymph nodes under the arm and the chest muscle lining is removed by this process of surgery. In certain cases, even part of the chest wall muscles that are affected are removed by this surgery.
* Radical Mastectomy - This surgery removes the complete breast, chest wall muscles and all the lymph nodes under the arm. This kind of surgery for breast cancer treatment is also known as Halsted radical mastectomy.
These surgeries can also be followed by other modes of breast cancer treatment methods like chemotherapy, hormone therapy or radiation therapy to kill any presence of cancer cells. Such kinds of treatment that helps in prevention of cancer re-occurrence is known as adjuvant therapy. Some patients can also consider the option of breast implants to rebuild the removed breast shape after a mastectomy.
This kind of treatment helps in killing the cancerous cells or prevents them from growing by means of internal administration of drugs. The way of drug administration can be either through the blood stream that spreads throughout the body which is known as systematic chemotherapy or is placed directly in the cerebrospinal fluid or any specific organ which is known as regional chemotherapy.
This kind of breast cancer treatment includes the introduction of substances that negate the effect of hormones which induce cancerous growth. Estrogen has been known to induce the growth of breast cancer in certain cases. One of the treatment methods includes prevention of ovaries from secreting the hormone estrogen and such a method is known as ovarian ablation. The hormonal therapy includes the usage of aromatase inhibitor which decreases the estrogen secretion in the body. Aromatase inhibitors are given for hormone-dependent breast cancer patients who are in postmenopausal stage while tamoxifen is used in cases of metastatic breast cancer. Aromatase inhibitors are also in general used as a means of adjuvant therapy after continued use of tamoxifen for two years or more.
High energy x-rays are in general used as an alternative for drugs to kill the cancer cells and prevent them from growing.
Another type of treatment that helps in destroying the cancer cells without any harm to the normal cells is called targeted therapy. The targeted therapies used in breast cancer treatment are in general of two types, Monoclonal antibodies and Tyrosine kinase inhibitors.
* Monoclonal Antibodies - These kinds of substances are antibodies that are made from a single type of immune system cell which has the potential to identify and destroy cancer cells. They are also sometimes used to carry toxins or drugs to the cancer cells to bring in effective destruction of the cells. Trastuzumab is a monoclonal antibody that is used in treating patients of breast cancer. This method can be clubbed along with chemotherapy as a means of adjuvant therapy.
* Tyrosine Kinase inhibitors - These drugs block signals that are needed for tumor growth and are in general used in combination with other anti-cancer drugs. Lapatjnib is one such inhibitor which helps block the HER2 protein inside the tumor cells and is used effectively for treatment of HER2- positive breast cancer patients.