The physical signs of aging
Perhaps one of the most recognizable signs of aging is changes in how your body physically works and moves. As you get older, you may notice that you can’t move as quickly as you once could or that you wake up in the morning with body aches or pains.
While this is certainly not a unique situation – and some folks will be affected by this change sooner or more intensely than others – most people don’t seek treatment or help for loss of bone or muscle density, mostly because it’s viewed as an inevitable part of aging.
But it doesn’t have to be! One of the causes of bone and muscle loss with age is an imbalance of hormones, specifically, estrogen in women and testosterone in men, so by treating the hormone imbalance, you may notice improvements in those physical symptoms, as well.
Why do our bones and muscles weaken with age?
There are a few different reasons why our muscles and bones weaken as we get older, but hormones play more of a role than you might think. For example, estrogen – the female sex hormone – plays a key role in bone density, and as estrogen levels decrease, bones can become weaker and more prone to fractures or breaks.
In fact, research has shown that up to 20% of bone loss happens during menopause and post-menopause stages, putting women over 60 at a much higher risk for osteoporosis and other bone-related issues.
On the other side, testosterone – the male sex hormone – also plays a role in keeping our bones healthy and strong, and decreasing levels can lead to the loss of bone density. On top of that, testosterone also plays a key role in muscle health, and not having enough testosterone can lead to loss of muscle mass or make it harder to put on muscle mass through strength training.
While bone and muscle loss tend to be more prevalent and noticeable in women than men with age, both sexes can be affected by lost muscle and bone density, which can lead to a lot of other health and lifestyle issues.
How does hormone therapy help avoid muscle and bone loss?
Hormone replacement therapy (or HRT, for short) is a great treatment option for anyone suffering muscle or bone loss with age. Since these significant losses are a consequence of decreasing levels of sex hormones, by replacing those hormones to a normal level, we can significantly slow – or even avoid altogether – muscle and bone loss.
The goal of hormone therapy is to normalize your hormone levels either to treat specific symptoms or simply to optimize your system and rebalance all the bodily functions that rely on estrogen or testosterone. In the case of muscle and bone loss, replenishing estrogen to optimal levels slows down bone and muscle decay while replenishing testosterone makes it much easier to build muscle mass and increase strength.
Other benefits of hormone therapy
While avoiding loss of muscle and bone mass is oftentimes enough of a selling point for folks to consider hormone therapy, HRT has a lot of other great benefits that can help people feel and look their best as they get older.
Other benefits of HRT include improvements in:
- Memory retention
- Mental clarity
- Muscle recovery
- Muscle building
- Fat loss
Our endocrine system – that’s the system that controls all the hormones in our body! – can be sensitive, and even a small change in hormone levels can throw our whole system out of whack. That’s why it’s important to keep track of hormone levels so we can catch imbalances early and treat those imbalances before any significant symptoms emerge.
Think you may be struggling with symptoms of a hormone imbalance and want to see if HRT is right for you? Contact our team to schedule a comprehensive blood test and meet with one of our health and wellness providers to get started on your journey.