Dr. Mark E. Richards with Ageless Impressions Plastic Surgery Institute is a nationally recognized plastic surgeon, and has been certified in both general surgery and plastic surgery. Every day at his plastic surgery in Washington, DC, he sees people who want to improve their appearance in some way to hopefully, look and feel better than ever about themselves. Aesthetics and appearances are part of his daily professional life – and now he wants to provide patients with the other half of what they are missing. “Cosmetic surgery can improve the way we look… bio-identical hormone therapy can improve our physical quality of life and feelings of youth.”
(Vocus) July 21, 2009 -- While bio-identical hormones have been known and available since the 1930’s, medical treatment with time release pellets has only been available in the United States since approximately 1990. Dr. Mark E. Richards, a Washington, DC plastic surgeon, is on a mission to educate his medical brethren and the general public about the magnitude of age-related ailments that can be reduced with time-release pellet bio-identical hormone therapy. As a plastic surgeon in the forefront of his profession, Richards is looking to improve a person’s quality of life in addition to their outside appearance.
Dr. Richards wants to help people overcome traditional physical and psychological ailments that occur with age, and believes the answer lies in bio-identical hormone therapy. As people get older, they are prone to: decreased bone density and muscle mass; increased body fat, blood sugars, and cholesterol; lack of energy; decreased libido; type-2 diabetes; and many other ailments. Many also begin to suffer from anxiety, symptoms of depression, and sleep disturbances. Dr. Mark Richards' research into these topics led him to discover that a large part of these common afflictions that occur as we get older are likely due to a decrease in the levels of our natural hormones – particularly testosterone and/or estradiol. “There’s been a search for anti-aging treatments for millennia. The answer lies within us. Many maladies are clearly linked to depletions in our hormone levels. Supplemental hormones can restore energy, health, and reduce the risks of developing some of these debilitating conditions.”
In fact, Dr. Richards says, increasing hormone levels could possibly eliminate 70-to-80% of osteoporosis, which leads to hip replacement, back pain, and other conditions. While decreasing hormone levels are often thought of as a “female” problem responsible for sleep disturbances, hot flashes, and fatigue, Dr. Richards states that osteoporosis rates are climbing in men along with complaints of lack of energy, depression, and erectile dysfunction. All these problems may significantly improve with increased hormone levels. Many conditions can be alleviated in people who start to exhibit symptoms and signs of the aging process once they hit their 40’s or 50’s, and sometimes even earlier. Dr. Richards says bio-identical hormones help in diminishing a host of problems, not only physical and psychological, but even financial. “As a result of preventing age-related health conditions, you could conceivably cause a dramatic cut in the cost of Medicare, and at the same time increase the percentage of seniors who are productive and contributing to our economy instead of draining away health care dollars for preventable diseases.”
Bio-identical hormones are hormones of the exact same chemical structures as those found in the human body. They are traditionally derived from an ingredient found in soy beans and yams. Dr. Richards says non-bio-identical hormones – those that have a different molecular structure than hormones produced by humans - are responsible for the known health risks and side effects when “hormones” are used in humans. Bio-identical hormones are just that: identical. “There has never been a single study showing bio-identical hormones are harmful when used in reasonable dosages.”
The treatments are administered to patients several times a year by inserting tiny, time-release pellets into the fat under the skin. Over a period of months, a steady stream of hormones is released into the bloodstream. Dr. Richards says this ultimately leads to the re-establishment of hormones’ protective benefits after our original levels have decreased, and can reduce the occurrence of the common diseases of aging, leading to a better long-term quality of life.
Even though Europe has been leading the way on this type of therapy for years, why isn’t bio-identical hormone therapy more popular in the U.S.? Dr. Richards says there are three main reasons: “Lack of appropriate physician education about bio-identical hormones (currently, hormone education is often funded by pharmaceutical companies with competing non-identical products); the prohibition on patenting human hormone molecules which explains the lack of widespread commercialization and distribution; and the inexplicable lack of attention being given to well done scientific studies suggesting the enormous health benefits of this cost effective therapy.”
Dr. Richards says he’s seen patients start to feel better after only a few weeks with the hormone pellets. The response so far has been enormously positive. “Both male and female patients have just been ecstatic. They tell me their moods and energy levels have been dramatically increased and that they feel refreshed when they wake up. Cholesterol and blood sugar levels have dropped. Women, particularly those near or after menopause, have called up giggling, saying they feel great.”
Dr. Richards says treatment with bio-identical hormone therapy needs much more serious attention, as the potential benefits both for individuals and society are too big to ignore. In addition to the relief of the above mentioned symptoms, he says there is credible evidence that these hormone supplements are prophylactic in the prevention of such illnesses as breast cancer and heart disease. “I feel that it’s a huge error that we’re not routinely testing hormone levels in people as soon as they display symptoms attributed to “aging”. Many costly and debilitating conditions can be prevented with bio-identical hormone therapy. We need to establish national prospective studies on this treatment, perhaps in conjunction with the National Institutes of Health’s Division on Aging.”
For more information on bio-identical hormone therapy in Washington DC, Dr. Mark Richards can be reached at Ageless Impressions - Plastic Surgery Institute, 11300 Rockville Pike, Suite 912, N. Bethesda, Maryland 20852 – (301) 468-3669; or via his website at www.plastic-surgeon.us.
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