Charleston, SC (PressExposure) March 01, 2009 -- With the topic of hormones often associated with overuse and abuse, these potentially life-altering chemicals tend get a bad rap, according to Mickey Barber, M.D., CEO of Cenegenics Carolinas. The Charleston, S.C.-based physician says increasing hormones to safe, appropriate levels in people who are deficient can make life-saving changes to their health and overall quality of life, something that is often overlooked by traditional medical practices.
With Oprah igniting the discussion about hormones on several recent episodes, especially as it relates to women, the benefits and drawbacks of hormone replacement and optimization therapies is suddenly a hot topic. âWhen Oprah Winfrey talks, people tend to listen, and Iâm so excited sheâs chosen to bring hormones to light,â says Dr. Barber, who offers hormone assessment and therapy as a part of her practice. âHormones can make a world of difference in the quality of peopleâs lives if handled safely and under the guidance of a physician.â
According to Dr. Barber, there are several myths that need to be debunked when it comes to hormones:
1) Hormones are not safe. âWhen used at very high levels, as many athletes do with steroids and human growth hormone, there may be detrimental effects,â says Dr. Barber. âHowever, when used appropriately, under the guidance of a physician, studies have shown that the benefits tend to greatly outweigh most potential side effects. Of course, every case should be considered on an individual basis.â
2) Hormone supplementation is the only way to alter hormone levels. There are lots of things you can do to improve hormone levels besides adding the hormones themselves, such as getting better sleep, reducing stress, increasing physical activity and eating different foods. âIn patients who are deficient, we try all of these methods in conjunction with hormone replacement to get their levels to where they need to be,â says Dr. Barber.
3) Hormones have little impact on your health and quality of life. âWhen you think about puberty, PMS, pregnancy, menopause and andropause (the male version of menopause), itâs clear that hormones affect our behavior, our emotions and our bodies,â says Dr. Barber. âStudies have shown that when used at safe levels, growth hormone, for example, reduces body fat, helps us retain calcium for healthy bones, improves immunity and more. So hormones can have an extremely positive impact on our health and quality of life.â
4) We donât even need to think about hormones until weâre into our senior years.
âHormone levels fluctuate throughout our lives, and we ideally recommend patients come to see us at about 35,â says Dr. Barber. âThat is the time when hormones tend to decline due to lifestyle, age and other factors.â
Patients at Cenegenics Carolinas undergo a comprehensive health evaluation, which includes measuring hormone levels. Physicians then determine whether hormone levels are deficient and if the patient needs hormone replacement therapy. The key, Dr. Barber points out, is combining hormone replacement therapy with a complete lifestyle management plan that includes proper nutrition and exercise.
Dr. Barber, 53, has been interested in hormones since she entered perimenopause â a sort of pre-menopause â about 10 years ago and has attending training led by Dr. Christiane Northrup, author of âThe Wisdom of Menopauseâ and âWomenâs Bodies, Womenâs Wisdomâ and frequent Oprah guest. Dr. Barber began her practice after hypertension, high cholesterol, stress and possible chemical exposure left her in the Intensive Care Unit at age 42. After recovering, she became certified in the practice of age management medicine and now helps others be as healthy as they can during the aging process to live their lives with renewed vigor.
About Cenegenics Carolinas Cenegenics Carolinas is a Charleston-based medical institute that helps patients manage the aging process through a customized regimen of exercise, nutrition and hormone optimization to improve their quality of life and feel healthy and years younger than their age. Headed by CEO Mickey Barber, M.D., a board-certified anesthesiologist and former assistant professor at Tulane University, Cenegenics Carolinas is one of only seven Cenegenics centers in the country. For more information, call 843-724-7272 or visit http://www.cenegenics-carolinas.com.