Aging with Purpose Means Good Health Maintenance

Upstate Natural Awakenings interviewed Cheryl Middleton, PA-C, of LivingWell Health Care to discuss how to age well from a health perspective.

Q. What is your advice on maintaining a healthy mind and body as we age?

A. After menopause—which for men is termed andropause—it is critical to eat right, exercise, and maintain a healthy balance of good hormones like progesterone, testosterone, estrogen, DHEA/adrenals and thyroid hormones.

Q. How can people know if their hormones are in balance?

A. The secret to balancing hormones safely is to accurately test them. Some hormones may be better measured through saliva or urine than through a blood test. The method of testing is often a function of how the hormone is being taken: oral, topical, injectable, etc. You are never too old to have your hormones tested.

Q. What should individuals watch out for when receiving hormone replacement therapy?

A. It isn’t safe for someone in their 70s to be given the hormone dosage appropriate for someone in their 30s. Also, we advise against taking certain hormones by mouth because of studies indicating toxicity to the liver. (Bassil N, Alkaade S, Morley JE., 2009)

Q. As we age, what other areas need to be monitored in order to maintain good health?

A. Another issue that can occur at any age is inappropriate thyroid medication and dosing. Most doctors’ offices test only TSH, but at LivingWell we look further and test T3, T4 and reverse T3. We also may test thyroid antibodies to see if a patient has Hashimoto’s, an autoimmune disease affecting the thyroid gland. If a patient needs treatment, we often use combination medications like Armour or Nature-throid.

Q. Is there anything else you want to add?

A. Age with purpose and live life to the fullest no matter where you are on the journey.

Cheryl Middleton, PA-C, is on staff at LivingWell Integrative Health Care in Easley. For more information, call 864-850-9988 or visit