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Dr. Stockkwell Podcast

HOST: Dianna Klein

Why did you choose to specialize in endocrinology? 

Endocrinology always fascinated me. I like the challenging nature of endocrinology. How different glands in your body work and how its connected to your brain. Different effects of various hormonesin our body and how it changes with age. managing some of these issues can be very challenging like Diabetes, Menopause, Osteoporosis. Also major portion of endocrinology is Diabetes management which has been my area of interest.

Give we laypersons a brief overview of what our endocrine system is and what it does for our bodies.

Endocrine system is composed of various glands in the body. These glands produce special chemicals called hormones. Hormones are essential for our day to day survival. They control various specialized function in the body like growth, metabolism, mood, sleep, fertility, sexual function, digestion and stress. Sometimes there is excess or defficiency of these hormones due to a problem in the gland making them. Endocrinologist are doctors who deal with the diagnosis and management of hormone related disorders. some of the diseases that we manage are thyroid disorders, diabetes, adrenal disorders, pituitary problems, osteoporosis

How does our endocrine system affect how we age? How does it change?

Effects of aging in Endocrine system

Levels of most hormones decrease with aging, but some hormones remain at levels typical of those in younger adults, and some even increase. Even when hormone levels do not decline, endocrine function generally declines with age because hormone receptors become less sensitive. The question is does hormone replacement reverse aging. Generally,unless there is a defficiency of a hormone due to a medical an actualmedical problem with the gland, hormone replacement does not appear to reverse aging or prolong life. This becomes very important in perimenopausal period in women when there is a massive shift in hormones. For example, a lot of people are using growth hormone gel for antiaging purposes. Use of growth hormone when not medically necessary can also have side effects. Like for e.g. some stable tumors can grow under the influence of growth hormone.

What are some changes that occur around menopause and how would one know if she is getting close to menopause?

Menopause can occur anywhere from 46-51 yrs. of age but it can also occur little before or after. There is a lot of anxiety in perilmenopausal women regarding the onset of menopause.so for most women they will experience missing one 2 periods a year, they will progressively skip more and more periods until it stops completely. In some women this process can last unto 4-5 yearswhere as in other it can happen with a year or 2.Currently the test that is being used to see if you are menopausal will not tell you when you will have menopause, it only tells you if you are menopausal. There is a new test coming up checking anti mulleinhormone that can tell you about menopause more precisely in women between 40-50 years of age.

What are some of the things that we should worry about around menopause?

Menopause comes in a package In addition to having the mood swings and the hot flashes that everyone talks about there are many other things that happen with menopause. Normally the estrogen in women has some protective effect for women from heart disease. However, because estrogen levels decline after menopause risk of heart disease increases, same with bone health, estrogen has a protective effect on the bones, bone density starts declining. Women tend to gain weight which predisposes them to increase risk of diabetes.

What are some warning signs that not all is well with our endocrine system? 

The symptoms of an endocrine disorder vary widely and depend on the specific gland involved. However, most people with endocrine disease complain of fatigue and weakness., sudden weight loss or weight gain, if your periods suddenly stop or you start lactating and you are not pregnant that’s usually a first sign in many endocrine disorders.

What can women do to keep this system as healthy as possible? 

Going regularly for routine checkups, eating a balance diet, staying physically active and get appropriate screening tests for various cancer, osteoporosis, calcium and vitamin intake is advised in all post-menopausal women,
What about supplements. Should women take supplements:
You have to be careful in what supplements you are taking. Anything in pill form you must check with your doctor before you use it, depending on the manufacturer pills can sometimes have fillers that can be harm full for liver or kidneys or sometimes taking supplements like thyroid or adrenal can make things worse.

Tell us about your non-profit, the Kisat Diabetes Organization. 

Kisat diabetes organization was formed with the mission of creating awareness and preventing diabetes and its complications by early screening and education. I formed this organization after my father passed away for deadly complications of diabetes.

Isn’t diabetes genetic: 

Diabetes is genetic but there are many other factors involved, one can prevent diabetes even if they have a family history by modifying their lifestyle and if you have diabetes you can control it and delay or prevent complications. That where diabetes education comes into play. Educating yourself about your disease plays an important role in how well you are able to manage it.

Tell us something about your book;

My book provides a comprehensive guide on management of Diabetes. its will include everything one needs to know about their diabetes from understanding diabetes as a disease to, diet management,medications, doctors visit, supplements etc. even if you don’t have diabetes but are at increased risk of diabetes it will be useful tool to learn about diabetes and prevent it.

What medical advice would you give your closest female relative or friend?

Recommend to go for regular yearly checkup ups, get age appropriate screening tests, such as mammograms, pap smear, colonoscopy, routine physical checkup.

Pay attention to your diet, eat healthy, have a routine physical activity schedule. Avoid risk y habits like smoking, use of illicit drugs,

No matter what stage of life, a mom or a grandmother or daughter,a woman often wears many hats deals with a lot stress. Take a few minutes for yourself every days and get your perspective back.

Currently with the covid-19 pandemic. Stress is at its peak. Adjusting to new schedules with every one home can be very challenging, sometimes you lose tract of time and end up working longer hours.

Keeping a daily schedule, waking up and sleeping at your routine times, getting dressed every morning, just a simple act of planning and prepping your day gives your brain a signal that it’s not weekend and you are not sick Take care of your mental health and don’t hesitate to seek help if you need. If you are not emotionally stable you won’t be able to take care of yourself or your family.

Hot flashes

2/3 will get hot flashes, mostly will last 7 years can lastunto 2 yrs. Some won’t get it. Can be prevented but can avoid certain triggers like Caffeine, alcohol, spicy food, stress, tight clothing, smoking Plant estrogens found in certain products can give you some estrogen likely soy products, tofu, edamame

For most women they are not as bad and they will wait it out for other it can be devastating. If bothersome low dose hormone replacement therapy can be given to help with hot flashes. There are also certain other medications such as SSRI (anti-depressant that can be used. Some natural products like essential oils, lavender prim rose, sometimes helps mainly by relieving stress. products like ginger tea, pomegranate and flax seed have phytoestrogens which also helps with hot flashes

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