What is a Hormone Imbalance? Symptoms, Treatment and Steve Jobs
Steve Jobs has been making lots of news today with the announcement that he has a hormone imbalance and is thus opting out of participating in MacWorld events. But what exactly does that mean? Don't hormone imbalances fall within the reign of pre-teen adolescents and menopausal women?
Well, not necessarily. Hormonal imbalance can occur within just about anyone; usually, the hormone fluctuations are minute and therefore, the effects these changes have on our body are seldom noticed. As we age, the effect of hormonal changes on our body intensifies and as such, many men and women will notice a marked difference in their physical and mental well-being when they reach middle-age.
Hormones are chemicals produced by the human body and mobilized by the pituitary gland to work together in various ways, playing a major role in the efficiency of our immune system and other vital bodily functions:
There are female hormones produced by the ovaries. These hormones are estrogen, progesterone and testosterone. These hormones regulate a women's menstrual cycle during her reproductive years. The male hormone produced is testosterone. It is about 95 percent produced by the testes and the rest the adrenal glands. When man gets older the testosterone drops and estrogen rises. The adrenal glands produce three types of steroid hormones. One is cortisol it helps the body react to stress. Alderstrone balances salt and water in the human body. Androgens secreted by the adrenals gland supply the DHEA for men and women. Thyroid hormones control the body's metabolism. Insulin is secreted by the pancreas it converts sugar to energy. The growth hormone GH controls a child's height. Most of these hormones have imbalances associated with them that causes disease and problems in the human body.
Hormone imbalances within women may result in weight gain, depression or irritability, difficulty sleeping, hot flashes, bone loss, and other complications such as osteoporosis and breast cancer.
Hormone imbalances within men may result in bone loss, impotence or erectile dysfunction, depression or irritability, weight gain, weight or muscle loss, memory loss, breast enlargement, and other complications.
If one suspects a hormonal imbalance is the cause of certain health issues then a blood, urine and/or saliva test can quickly determine if hormones are to blame.
Causes of hormonal imbalances in men are varied:
Hormone levels in men can be influenced by dietary factors, such as high levels of fat and low fiber content, which are said to have an effect on the production of testosterone. Hormone imbalance can also be caused by all the things that are part of the modern lifestyle - saturated fats, such as red meats, processed foods and fast foods, preservatives, refined sugar products as well as hydrogenated oils.
Hormone production in men is guided by the important minerals such as copper, zinc and selenium. Selenium also protects the male sex glands from heavy metals and free radicals, apart from helping with testosterone production. Imbalances occur if these minerals are not consumed through diet.
Substance abuse likely plays a major role in male hormonal imbalance, as in the use of drugs, cigarettes and alcohol. Stress is another key culprit, as chronic stress affects the adrenal glands which may then restrict DHEA production and thus, limit testosterone production. And lastly, diet and nutrition also factor in to hormone imbalance.
As Jobs' noted in his letter today, treating a hormonal imbalance is relatively straightforward and can be combated with a proper diet and hormonal supplements. As the Apple CEO noted, it took him many months to lose the weight and the road to recovery will likewise be long, though steady. Jobs will remain on as CEO throughout his recovery process.
So there you have it, folks. Steve Jobs is suffering from male menopause, or 'andropause.' It's unfortunate that while menopause is accepted as a natural milestone within the lifespan of women, there is a certain negative stigma attached with the term 'male menopause.'
Hopefully Jobs' forthcoming nature about his health issues will raise awareness around this 'taboo' issue and encourage other men to take steps toward developing an honest and healthy outlook towards middle-age as well.