Treating Menopause with Hormone Replacement Therapy
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“Outliving Your Ovaries” is written by endocrinologist Dr. Marina Johnson, medical director of The Institute of Endocrinology and Preventive Medicine. Dr. Johnson, a pharmacist and a physician, describes a wide body of research showing that pharmaceutical topical bioidentical hormones are safer than the most commonly prescribed hormones.
It’s estimated that 6000 women in the U.S. become menopausal every day. That is four women every minute! According to the U.S. Census statistics, 50 million women are expected to be menopausal by 2020. In spite of these vast numbers, because every woman goes through menopause, it is often not even considered a medical problem. Fewer than 20 percent of American post-menopausal women take hormones. Of those women given prescriptions for hormones, half discontinue therapy after their first year.
Estrogen deficiency is associated with increases in heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, osteoporosis and many other medical conditions that markedly affect both the quality and quantity of a woman’s life. Why do women deny themselves the benefits of hormones? Dr. Johnson contends it is fear and misinformation. While there are some risks from estrogen, it’s important to emphasize there are more risks from NOT taking estrogen. Heart disease kills more women each year (316,000) than the next 16 causes of death combined, including diabetes, all forms of cancer, AIDS and accidents.
In her book, Dr. Johnson provides poignant stories from her 29 years of clinical experience during which she has managed over 100,000 female patient visits. These stories depict the tragic consequences of estrogen deficiency and the joy of transformation that occurs when a woman is made whole again. “Outliving Your Ovaries” helps a woman evaluate the risks and benefits of HRT in clear, easy-to-understand terms so she can better work with her own physician to determine what’s right for her.
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“Finally-a clear concise prescription for women as they navigate the challenges of menopause.”
“Dr. Johnson’s book is a great benefit to women struggling with hormones. A must read for all women.”
“There are perhaps only 1% in any given field that are truly the best at what they do & Dr. Marina Johnson is part of this elite group.”
“‘Outliving Your Ovaries’ is a well-written book that will help empower women to make educated choices about the use of postmenopausal hormone therapy.”
“Women who read Outliving Your Ovaries and use the information to take estrogen will enhance the quality of their lives.”
“Dr. Marina Johnson is uniquely skilled in navigating the treacherous combat zone of the midlife maladies known as MENOPAUSE. Her ground-breaking research, leading-edge treatments and philosophy allow women to go through this phase of their lives with dignity and hormonal balance.”
“Outliving Your Ovaries is an excellent, comprehensive resource on hormone therapy for women considering this as an option. Medical decision making should be made as a collaboration between the physician and a well informed patient.”
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Dr. Marina Johnson utilizes her skills as an endocrinologist, pharmacist and medical writer who has researched over 450 articles from main-stream peer-reviewed medical journals so women and their physicians can see there is a sound, scientific basis for her recommendations.
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CREDENTIALS - EDUCATION
Before medical school, Dr. Marina Johnson practiced as a pharmacist and went on to become Assistant Editor for the American Hospital Formulary Service-Drug Information (AHFS-DI), a drug reference book published by the American Society of Hospital Pharmacists.
After completing medical school at UCLA, she served a residency in internal medicine at St. Mary Medical Center, a UCLA affiliate, and a fellowship in endocrinology at University of Southern California. Board-certified in Endocrinology & Metabolism and Internal Medicine, Dr. Johnson has been in private practice for 29 years.
CREDENTIALS - PRACTICE
Dr. Johnson’s practice arose from traditional mainstream medicine roots. Over the years, her quest to seek the safest, most effective therapies for her patients has led her to explore other therapies. There is a definite role for traditional prescription medicines, but many chronic, milder conditions respond just as well to safer, natural therapies.
CREDENTIALS - PATIENT EDUCATION
Believing in giving her patients the best of both worlds, Dr. Johnson has the utmost respect for the self-healing potential of the human body. In some instances, less is more when it comes to achieving the best and safest response. By stressing patient education, Dr. Johnson involves the patients in their own care thus working together as a team in order to find the best solutions.
CREDENTIALS - CONTINUING MEDICAL EDUCATION
Physicians are only required to attend 12.5 hours of continuing medical education (CME) hours each year. Each year Dr. Johnson attends educational programs in endocrinology as well as preventive and functional medicine and often averages over 65 hours of American Medical Association (AMA) Physician's Recognition Award (PRA) Category 1 continuing medical education.
CREDENTIALS - ADDRESSING THE CAUSE OF THE DISEASE
Rather than simply treating symptoms of disease, Dr. Johnson focuses on a preventive medicine approach that deals with the actual cause of the disease. For example, if a nutritional or hormonal deficiency is diagnosed and treated, this may lead to resolution of a chronic illness like high blood pressure and eliminate the need for prescription drugs. Dr. Johnson’s strong background in internal medicine and pharmacology, gives her the ability to evaluate the patient’s medication regimen. Her training in endocrinology provides a solid foundation for developing and prescribing sophisticated hormone protocols that are customized for each patient.
CREDENTIALS - A PROVEN TRACK RECORD
Dr. Johnson is particularly interested in menopause and has personally managed over 100,000 female patient visits in her 29 years of practice. She has been prescribing “pharmaceutical” bioidentical hormones for over 25 years. In addition to her expertise in andropause (male menopause), thyroid disorders, PMS and adult growth hormone deficiency, Dr. Johnson offers therapy for prevention of diabetes mellitus, coronary artery disease and hypertension.
CREDENTIALS - JOHNSON MENOPAUSE METHOD™
The Johnson Menopause Method™ is a comprehensive program that reduces symptoms and health risks of menopause. Not treating menopause leads to an increased risk of heart disease, osteoporosis, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes and colon cancer. Multiple clinical studies have shown Prempro ®, still a commonly prescribed hormone therapy, is linked to an increased risk of breast cancer, heart disease, strokes, blood clots, incontinence and dementia. All estrogens carry risks but risks associated with topical bioidentical hormones are fewer. Compounded bioidentical hormones are not required to meet FDA standards for quality or efficacy; therefore, the need to use pharmaceutical bioidentical hormones.
PERSONAL STORY - BACKGROUND
Growing up in Orange, Texas, a small town 100 miles east of Houston. I never saw a female physician until I was 25 years old, so it never occurred to me to become a doctor. Like many women in medicine, I got into medicine through another profession. In my case, it was pharmacy, and while I loved it, it was simply the beginning of my journey to a better understanding of the world within each of us.
I have been practicing as an endocrinologist since 1983. When I completed medical training at UCLA and USC, I did not plan to practice other than traditional endocrinology. My focus on natural hormone replacement simply evolved from my intense curiosity about the human body. The more I learn, the more I am in awe of what a perfect system we have been given. The endocrine glands are powerful allies in maintaining good health; having them function in optimal balance throughout life is my goal what I strive to achieve for each of my patients.
Women often ask me, “Why should I take hormone replacement?” Many of them think it’s better to go through menopause naturally, however it isn’t exactly natural for women to be living this long! As it is today, in 1900, the average age of menopause was 50. However, the average life expectancy in 1900 was only 50 because many women at that time died in childbirth. Now as a result of modern medicine, women’s life expectancy is approaching 80! In essence, we are now routinely outliving our ovaries. We have been given this gift of 30 extra years of life. Do we cherish that gift by caring for ourselves so that we can extend our productivity and enjoy those years? Or rather, do we let Mother Nature take its course and watch the relentless deterioration of our bodies as hormone levels decline?
If you need a compelling preview, simply go to any nursing home and see the hollow, lost faces of those men and women who stare back at you. If I can play a part in preventing that sad outcome, then I have fulfilled my purpose. I made sure that my mother’s gynecologist prescribed hormone therapy for my own dear mother throughout her menopausal years. She had such a zest for living and maintaining her independence. Even in her 80’s, she lived in her own home, did her own cooking and loved to read. Everyone around her admired her constant energy. She and my father had a big garden and she loved to give away vegetables to all the neighbors.
One day she got up, did her daily 30-minute walk, went to a garage sale (one of her favorite past-times) and had lunch with a good friend. That evening she had the worst headache she ever had. By the time she got to the emergency room, she was unconscious from a massive stroke.
She lingered on for three days until the last of her five children had all gotten there, and then, she quietly passed on. It was a shock for us to see her go so suddenly, but later after I had the chance to process what had happened, I realized that we should all be so lucky.
We have a responsibility not only to ourselves, but also to our families and society to take care of ourselves and maintain our productivity as long as possible. Our goals should not be to just live longer, but to live better. No therapy is without risks, but there are safe, effective ways to minimize those risks. Baby boomers by our sheer numbers will bankrupt the healthcare system if we do not take charge of our own health. Imagine the cost to the healthcare system when 76 million of us baby boomers hit 80. Contrast that with the enormous potential savings to society if we each take preventive medical measures, which enable us to not only enjoy our independence, but to also compress those pre-terminal health costs to a few days instead of several years.
The word doctor in Greek means teacher. And so, it gives me great pleasure to see that sparkle of enlightenment in the eyes of a patient when I am teaching them to care for their own body.
Poor lifestyle habits and nutrition are often the source of many serious chronic diseases such as diabetes and hypertension. Our inattention to these issues is already seen in the growing epidemic incidence of diabetes, which is even occurring in our children. My hope is to inspire people to take responsibility for their own health and actively participate in the process with their doctors.
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Institute of Endocrinology
and Preventive Medicine
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The Institute of Endocrinology and Preventive Medicine is a unique medical practice, which takes the expertise of endocrinology, and applies it to preventive medicine and healthy aging. Endocrinology is a systems-based study of disorders caused by deficiency or excess of hormones, which are powerful mediators of all body systems.
Preventive medicine aims to prevent the occurrence of disease by finding the root cause. The Institute provides innovative science-based therapies, which respect the extraordinary potential, which comes from utilizing the intrinsic, healing abilities of the mind, body and spirit..
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“My mission is to engage the patient in the active pursuit of optimal health and to provide personalized superlative care with an emphasis on preventive medicine and healthy aging.”
Marina Johnson, M.D., F.A.C.E.
The Institute of Endocrinology & Preventive Medicine