Can Hormone Imbalance Lead to Dementia?
There has been a lot of speculation surrounding the prevention of dementia and Alzheimer’s through hormone replacement therapy. Can HRT be the answer to the mentally debilitating effects of dementia? Here’s what you need to know.
Studies have demonstrated both dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease have been found to be more prevalent in menopausal and post-menopausal women due to the sharp decline in estrogen production following the onset of menopause. While both men and women experience a decrease in estrogen production in their fifties and beyond, the estrogen in men is supplied through a conversion from their testosterone supply, softening and steadying the decline. Studies have also shown that women who are on or have been on hormone replacement therapy (HRT) possess a lessened risk of developing Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia because their body has a healthy balance and steady supply of brain-boosting estrogen.
What is Dementia?
Not a specific disease, but rather a group of disorders, dementia is categorized as a group of conditions characterized by the diminishing of mental acuity of at least two brain functions – memory loss and judgment. Dementia also comprises cognitive and social symptoms that interfere with daily functioning and reasoning. The following symptoms are commonplace for those battling all stages of dementia:
- Limited social skills
- Compromised mental acuity
- Loss of language skills, articulation
- Inability to problem-solve
- Inability to make decisions
While dementia is a general term used to describe a group of conditions, Alzheimer’s is a specific disease of the brain characterized by symptoms of dementia that gradually worsen over time. Dementia is caused by irreversible damage to or loss of nerve cells and their connections within the brain. Depending on the specific area of the brain that’s damaged, dementia can affect those differently and cause different symptoms. In other words, no two cases of dementia are alike.
Dementia and the Estrogen Link
Besides being the primary female sex hormone, estrogen is intrinsically linked to healthy cognitive function and memory retention in both men and women. However, estrogen production drastically declines once women reach menopause, putting them at serious risk for developing dementia – and at a much higher rate than their male counterparts. However, estrogen therapy, or estrogen replacement therapy, has been shown to improve brain functionality in some women. The risk of developing Alzheimer’s Disease and dementia were less in these women on estrogen therapy relative to those who were not receiving treatment. Another woman’s study revealed women using the traditional, “oral combined” HRT showed a 42% reduced risk of neuro-degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, and women on transdermal estrogen therapy had a 73% reduction in dementia and a 55% reduction in multiple sclerosis (MS), compared to women not using HRT or BHRT.
Hormone Therapy to Help Prevent Dementia
Landmark research has also concluded estrogen may help protect the brain from Alzheimer’s Disease by blocking some of the harmful effects of the amyloid-B protein. One of the best ways to prevent the life-changing effects of dementia or slow its degenerative progression is through hormone replacement therapy or bioidentical hormone replacement therapy. At truMD, after a patient undergoes a proprietary, 360-degree medical evaluation, the results are sent to a lab that will design a unique, hormone treatment plan and dosage. The bioidentical hormones are molecularly identical to those produced by the human body, eliminating risks and increasing efficacy, and come in pellet form that can be inconspicuously inserted in-office in a matter of minutes. Patients will begin to feel the brain-boosting effects within a few weeks, with each dosage lasting a few months before another evaluation is required to determine further treatment. In conjunction with BHRT, there are several ways to increase one’s estrogen production and halt the progression of dementia in all its forms, including:
- Getting regular exercise
- Eating a healthy, wholesome diet
- Limiting sugar and processed foods
- Social engagement
- Getting 7-9 hours of uninterrupted, quality sleep per night
- Engaging in mental stimulation, such a reading, games, and puzzles
- Managing stress through yoga, reading, meditation, etc.
- Improving vascular health
- Getting regular check-ups, especially of hormone imbalances
If you are a man or woman entering menopause or andropause and suspect you may be suffering from a hormonal imbalance and fear you may be at risk for developing dementia or Alzheimer’s, we invite you to contact our office to speak with any of our friendly hormone specialists to help address any concerns you may have. Our expert staff can also set-up a personal consultation with Dr. Setareh to undergo a full, medical analysis to determine the best hormone treatment plan just for you.