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Hormones: Normal vs Optimal

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Hormones: Normal vs Optimal

I went to medical school and residency training and learned my share about hormones. From what I learned in “traditional” school medicine is to look at “reference ranges” (aka “normal ranges”) on laboratory forms when deciding if a test result is normal or abnormal.

Since learning about bio-identical hormone replacements my thinking about lab testing has changed. In age management we differentate “normal” and “optimal”. A “normal” lab value (hormone level) means that the number is within a range of other healthy adults in a similar age group. Yes, normal values depend on what age you are in, so a “normal” test result for a 65 year old may be “abnormal” in an 18 year old.

Going back to the theory that the signs and symptoms of aging (aches and pains, memory loss, fatigue, loss of sexual drive, etc..) may be caused by a decline in hormone levels as you get older, ask yourself: “What would happen if hormone levels would NOT decline with aging?”.

And exactly this is what age management is all about. We don’t consider the “normal” values of laboratory test results, we have a subset of “optimal” that we go for when replacing hormones in aging patients. Actually more important than any numbers on a lab form are signs and symptoms. After all, we treat the patient, not the lab form.

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