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Q: What is age-related hormone imbalance?

Posted September 10, 2014 in Advice Column, West Des Moines

A: While hormone levels may become imbalanced at any given time in ones life, age-related hormone imbalances are among the most common. Regardless of whether the hormone imbalance is a result of aging, stress, lack of sleep, poor lifestyle choices, poor nutrition and lack of exercise can also affect hormone levels. Various forms of therapy are available to optimize and balance hormone levels as one ages. Testosterone,the most prevalent male sex hormone begins to decline for men at 30 years of age. By the time a man is in his mid-40s or 50s, his testosterone has decreased by 35 percent. Upon entering his 70s, he only has about 10 percent of the testosterone he had in his 20s. When testosterone wanes, several physiologic functions may become impaired.

Estrogen and progesterone, the primary sex hormones in females, typically decline a few years prior to menopause. For many women, the transition into menopause is marked by drastic hormone fluctuations that may cause various symptoms such as hot flashes, sleep disruption, fatigue, memory impairment, mood swings and weight gain. Additional hormones that may decline in men and women include DHEA, pregnenolone and melatonin, while insulin and cortisol levels may increase.

Information provided by Stephen Ellestad, D.O., age management medicine, 2910 Westown Parkway, Suite 305, West Des Moines, 225-7900.

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