The Older Middle Aged Man: Part 1

To begin this blog on “Functional Medicine” I would like to first describe to you an experience of which many of you are probably already well versed.

The story begins with an older middle aged man who has been noticing that he is beginning to gain weight around his midsection and hips and seems to be developing breasts. This might be easy enough for him to ignore, which he has for some time now, but he is also getting tired and depressed and it is starting to affect his golf game. Not to mention that his wife is complaining of his lack of stamina in bed. In fact, let’s just go a step further and say that his wife makes the doctors appointment for him and tells him if he doesn’t go she’ll leave him and take the dog with her! In my experience this is often the way it goes. But nonetheless, an appointment with a doctor has been made and he actually attended though the older middle aged man is filled with dread of what he might be told. After all, his manhood is on the line! The following is a likely scenario of what might occur at the appointment.

Once he is admitted into the exam room he is told to undress and put on this loose gown. He never did like wearing gowns. Meanwhile the man’s eyes are darting left to right, ever scrutinizing each and every drawer looking for some offending instrument that will most definitely occupy his body and feed the ever growing anxiety of what’s to come. In comes the doctor. Blood pressure 155/80, pulse 80, weight 210 lbs, height 5’9”. “Now bend over please.” Oh boy, here we go! Prostate slightly hardened and enlarged. “Any trouble urinating?” The doctor asks a few more questions, glares down his nose a little and decides to order a blood test. He wants to know about this man’s cholesterol, testosterone, and some other stuff. Now for the needle. Two vials should do the trick. At least the nurse is good at taking blood!

Exactly seven minutes after the doctor entered the room he was gone again. Besides a little small talk to break the ice the older middle aged man didn’t know much more than when he walked in and he leaves not feeling any better about himself to say the least.

The tests are in. Total Cholesterol 210. Some slightly decreased liver function. And slightly low testosterone. The doctor prescribed Lipitor, Androgel (a testosterone replacement gel), and what the hell some good old Prozac to fend off the mild depression. Done… Case solved right? As far as the medical establishment is concerned that’s what this older middle aged man needs. He will continue on this course of therapy until death. And if he is a really good patient he won’t ask any questions.

That tends to be the story for a lot of people. The same is also true for women and children. I just used the story of the older middle aged man because I wanted to work in the prostate exam somehow. It is a fun topic! But the bottom line is that this patient’s needs have not been met. Care was not given to find out what was going on “functionally” to lead to these apparently unrelated issues. He has been made yet another victim of “replacement medicine.” And I say victim because in my practice I see people harmed this way all of the time. And by harm I mean that these people are often made dependant of these medicines with no easy way to get off of them. What people need to realize is that these types of medicines work to weaken the body’s natural ability to regulate itself and then they end up weaker than before starting the treatment. Hint: Why do you think there is no exit strategy for a lot of these medications?

So that's my first blog entry... I will follow this entry with a follow up on why this patient's needs were not met, and offer some of my own opinions of how to better address the situation. Please stay tuned for more info on this older middle aged man as I pick apart the problem and explore what the root of the problem really is.

I look forward to starting my blog. I can only see wide open skys for different concepts and interactions with people pertaining to health. I hope to be a great resource for you. Enjoy and learn! And for heaven's sake... comment!