How Do Hormonal Changes Affect Senior People?
As one ages, the hormone’s secretory pattern changes. Similarly, the sensitivity of the hypothalamic-pituitary axis to the negative feedback from hormones drop. Besides, as you age, glucose homeostasis shifts towards equilibrium. Elevated fat mass, loss of muscle strength and mass, loss of bone strength and mass accompany the hormonal alterations.
It may be challenging to disentangle age-related effects from factors common in old age, such as low nutritional status, inflammation, and chronic diseases that directly influence the endocrine system. A drop in hormone levels as one ages is associated with a decline in the body functions.
Hormones Affect Our Body Through the Whole Life
Each part of the body, from your muscles to your kidneys, heart, and skin, has a different specialization. They receive signals from the endocrine system to do their jobs. The endocrine system releases hormones to every part of the body. Informing them on what to do, when to carry out the task, and for how long. Hormones are critical for your well-being and health.
Hormones are the chemical messengers of our bodies. To reach the sites of action, they travel via the bloodstream to organs and tissues. Hormones work slowly and overtime affecting various processes such as:
- Sexual function.
- Growth and development.
When there is an imbalance in hormone levels, problems such as weak bones, infertility, diabetes, loss, or weight gain may result. If you observe hormonal imbalance symptoms, it is advisable to speak to an endocrinologist or your physician. They assist you regain balance.
Hormones Involved in Aging Process
Hormones produced from the hypothalamus regulate other endocrine system structures. On the other hand, the pituitary gland has both posterior and anterior parts. The posterior pituitary gland stores hormones from the hypothalamus, while the anterior pituitary gland releases hormones that influence breasts, testes, ovaries, adrenal cortex, thyroid gland, and growth.
As you age, your thyroid may get lumpy or nodular, causing a decline in metabolism rate. Parathyroid hormones control phosphate and calcium levels. With aging, there is a rise in the parathyroid hormone levels, which may predispose one to osteoporosis. Aldosterone also declines with aging, and the drop may lead to light-headedness and orthostatic hypotension.
Most Essential Hormonal Changes in Senior People?
Estrogen and Progesterone
A permanent stop in the menstrual period is one of the clear signs of aging. The perimenopause period may start many years before the last menstrual cycle, and it is associated with the following symptoms:
- Alteration in the menstrual flow.
- Shorter or longer menstrual periods.
- Frequent periods initially followed by missed periods occasionally.
Menopause is part of the aging process in women between the age of 45 and 55 years. During menopause, the ovaries stop producing progesterone and estrogen. Note that the ovaries cannot produce oocytes after menopause. Hence, pregnancy is impossible. Other changes within the reproductive system associated with the decline in estrogen include:
- Thinner and less elastic vaginal walls.
- Lower sexual response and reduced libido.
- Insomnia, moodiness, hot flashes, and headaches.
- Increased osteoporosis risk.
Progesterone or estrogen hormone replacement therapy is vital in reversing the changes caused by a decline in these hormones. In some instances, a combination therapy of these two hormones would help manage symptoms such as hot flashes.
Hormone replacement therapy is not the ideal solution for every patient. Hence, the need to consult your physician on the benefits and risks. Application of topical estrogen within the vagina may assist in thickening your vaginal tissues while increasing sensitivity and moisture at the same time.
The pituitary gland produces and secretes the natural growth hormone. Together with hormones such as Insulin Growth Factor 1, they ensure your body’s development in the initial stages of development. In life, HGH ensures that your body obtains energy from the fats and assists in producing proteins. As you age, the quantity of growth hormone released from the pituitary gland drops naturally.
At age 55, the blood’s growth hormone concentration is a third lower than the concentration in individuals between 18 and 35 years. The decline occurs concurrently with low muscle mass and an increase in body fat. To reverse the side effects associated with low growth hormone, consider of purchasing HGH injections or other supplements.
The supplement reduces body fat and increases your muscle mass by 6%. Because of the side effects associated with human growth hormones, such as elevated blood pressure, fluid retention, and breast enlargement, it would be best if you sought the guidance of a physician.
Testosterone levels decrease with age as your memory starts to slow. Reducing hormone levels may account for such problems. Low testosterone levels resulting from deprivation of androgen therapy or hypogonadism is associated with depression. Men with deficient testosterone should receive testosterone replacement therapy.
Hypogonadism causes radiation, cancer chemotherapy, alcoholism, severe trauma, mumps, and genetic errors. In some instances, the challenge could be in the pituitary gland caused by brain surgery or tumor. Individuals over 50 years with a concentration of testosterone below 200 ng/dL should receive testosterone therapy.
In slowing the aging process, it is also advisable to consider natural techniques such as resistance and aerobic exercises. They will enhance your vigor and make the aging process smoother. If you experience symptoms associated with hormone imbalance, promptly reach out to your doctor or an endocrinologist.