Why it's so important to have your hormones checked
Within your body you have no less than a dozen endocrine and exocrine glands. All of these glands produce hormones, and hormones regulate the majority of your body's regulatory functions. Above all else, the main organ that controls ALL of your endocrine and exocrine glands is the pituitary, a tiny, pea-sized gland at the base of your brain and located approximately between your eyes and behind the frontal cortex of your brain. If any one of these glands or hormones is "off," it can create a lot of problems. Here are some more reasons why you should have your hormones checked regularly and often, especially after age 40.
Drops in Testosterone and Estrogen
These two hormones, which are frequently associated with the development of secondary sex characteristics, libido and reproduction, begin dropping off after you hit 35 to 40, and dip further after 45 to 50. While these hormones are not missed with regards to reproduction, they can cause other hormones in the body to become imbalanced. Sometimes these imbalances are expected, as is the case with diabetes and old age, but if you are developing diabetes before age 60, it could be a sign of something else wrong.
Add to that changes in skin and muscle tone, loss of hair, loss of libido and inability to perform sexually or discomfort during sex, and you may feel like your heatlh is going downhill. You can actually reverse these issues, or, at the very least, slow them down. Your doctor can test your estrogen levels (if you are female) and your testosterone levels (if you are male) to determine the declining levels and prescribe hormone replacement therapies. Sometimes, serious health issues such as heart disease and high cholesterol can be reversed with HRT, as evidenced by tests performed on men and women who were experiencing mid-life changes and suddenly found themselves very unhealthy.
Elevated Insulin or Drops in Blood Sugar
The pancreas is another endocrine/exocrine gland. It produces insulin, which your body uses to metabolize sugar. People who do not metabolize sugar well are often diagnosed with diabetes. The lack of insulin is treated with insulin taken from pig pancreases, although more recent efforts have been made to create biologically identical hormones to those your body already uses, including insulin.
Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis and takes place when a joint's cartilage, breaks down and cartilage is needed because it protects the joints. Non-alcohol fatty liver disease is when the amount of fat in the liver cells goes up which, in turn, may cause inflammation and scarring of the tissue. In the worst of cases, an excess of scarred tissues may bring on cirrhosis, a very bad condition that may result in liver failure or liver cancer. Sleep apnea is also caused by obesity.
Tests for this hormone are as simple as a pin-prick and a diabetes meter. You can either do it outside of a doctor's office with over-the-counter meters and products you can buy, or in your doctor's office with a meter your doctor can temporarily code for you. Fasting blood sugar in the morning should not be less than 60 mg/dl, and after you eat breakfast, it should not be above 160 mg/dl. There can be some mild variations in this, but you should either A) eat if your blood sugar in the morning is a tad low, or B) take your blood sugar again a half hour after getting a reading that looks high. Not knowing or keeping track of your blood sugar and insulin levels can lead to shock, injuries from fainting and hitting your head or other body parts, and coma. If you are not discovered for hours after passing out, death is also possible.