Published on March 3rd, 2017 | by Dr. Doug Pucci0
Just Getting Old Versus Something is Wrong
by Douglas J. Pucci
Feeling tired, weak or depressed is not just an inevitable sign of growing old, it probably means something is wrong with our body. Societal assumptions and cultural norms about aging can get in the way of proper treatment. Our bodies may gradually change as we age, but that there are also common concerns that should garner attention and a thorough clinical workup.
Symptoms like appetite loss and depression should be addressed by a doctor, particularly when they interfere with a patient’s mobility, create a sense of isolation or lead to early death. Common symptoms like muscle wasting, irritability, fatigue, chronic pain, fear of falling and brain fog may be indicative of blood sugar dysregulation, thyroid toxicity or medication side effects that debilitate many patients.
Our bodies have a desperate need for sugar (glucose), because it is the fuel that gives our cells the energy they need to keep us alive. Problems occur when the ongoing supply of simple sugars in the bloodstream and our body’s ability to usher it into the cells with insulin is disrupted. With a notable drop in blood sugar, such as in the morning and before breakfast, low blood sugar will cause sudden irritability and by midday, dizziness and fear of falling. How well a patient can stabilize blood sugar into old age is a good predictor of healthy aging. Balance disorders, seizures, ischemic attacks, Type 2 diabetes and Alzheimer’s all can be exacerbated and/or masked by inability to control blood sugar and insulin as we age.
Thyroid hormones govern metabolism and even though a slowdown in thyroid activity can be expected as the decades pass, extreme fatigue, gut problems, loss of bone density, constipation and mental fogginess are all indicators that something is wrong.
As people age they become more susceptible to autoimmune disease that progresses from one target tissue to the next like wildfire. A thyroid disorder such as Hashimoto’s can progress to cerebellar ataxia in the brain, rheumatoid arthritis in the joints or celiac disease in the gut. An easy way to stop the madness is by altering our diet and providing additional nutrients that also reduce inflammation and heal target tissues.
Statins, antibiotics, NSAIDs, blood thinners, high blood pressure pills, opiates all have side effects. Muscle weakness, gut problems, thin skin, bruising and skin outbreaks, disorientation and worsening pain should all be cross-checked with the medications that are being prescribed. In many cases, two or more medications are being prescribed for the exact same reason. Worse, many drugs for chronic pain cause severe discomfort and can become addictive to patients.
In past decades, natural healthcare experts that sounded the alarm about medication’s apparent role in causing pain, muscle weakness and heart disease have usually had their arguments drowned out by peers with research funded by the pharmaceutical industry and related groups. To combat the signs of old age, reexamine lifestyle and diet, and get checked by a qualified functional doctor.
Doug Pucci, DC, practices in Oradell, NJ, and is the author of You Are Not Your Diagnosis. For more information, call 201-261-5430 or visit GetWell-Now.com. See ad, page 13.