You have probably seen the billboards and internet advertisements about testing for low hormones like testosterone, or DHEA. They often appear with a middle aged man or woman proudly posing their young twenty something physiques, suggesting a simple test a simple pill and boom you are young again. But are these tests even accurate? Are they worth the money? Well, blood tests ordered by a physician are still the most accurate way to assess most hormone levels before it is advisable to begin any hormone therapy. However, saliva tests for cortisol, the adrenal hormone that mediates stress responses, are now considered reliable. In addition, there is evidence to suggest that saliva tests can also accurately measure levels of testosterone and DHEA (a precursor to male and female sex hormones, including androgens and estrogens). These tests should still be conducted and interpreted by a physician and you should avoid home tests and suggestions of self -assessment often promoted on the internet. Many insurance companies will not cover salivary hormone tests for the diagnosis of issues associated with aging but will only cover the tests if it is a salivary cortisol test for the diagnosis of Cushings Disease. Therefore, check with your insurance carrier before you undergo any testing if you are planning to have the costs covered. There is still no way to prevent aging and no substitute for a healthy lifestyle for aging healthfully. Discuss any symptoms or concerns you have with your physician to determine the best course of screening and or treatment
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