The key to longevity via an Anti-Aging health program is to find a physician with a deep understanding of and commitment to Anti-Aging Medicine. How do you find a doctor who qualifies? In December of l997, the American Board of Anti-Aging Medicine (ABAAM) began the process of certifying physicians in the new specialty of Anti-Aging Medicine. Certification by the ABAAM will assure you that a doctor has attained the proper knowledge and experience necessary to practice Anti-Aging Medicine. The following are some steps to guide you in your search for an Anti-Aging physician.
Find a doctor in your area.
The first step is finding a doctor in your area. If you do not know of a doctor in your area, the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine has published a directory of physicians. However, we cannot make specific referrals and instead recommend that you be diligent in the selection of any personal medical provider. For more information about the Physician Directory and Resources Guide, call the offices of the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine.
Interview your choices.
Ask to speak with them about their methods of treatment. Remember that doctors can be very busy and you may be asked to call back at a more convenient time. Do not let this discourage you from continuing your search. If you feel intimidated or uncomfortable with a specific physician, try another doctor on your list. A doctor’s attitude and accessibility will determine how often you see him/her and how much you trust him/her. These are two vital factors in ensuring that your Anti-Aging/longevity program is right for you.
Ask questions and listen to the answers.
Ask questions that will reveal your doctor’s attitude toward Anti-Aging and preventative medicine. You want a physician who truly believes that diseases and debilitation due to aging can be delayed, prevented, or reversed. It is important to find a physician who will try to prevent future illness and debilitation, not just treat it when it occurs. An Anti-Aging doctor will also practice complementary medicine – the integration of traditional medicine with natural therapies. To see if your doctor practices Anti-Aging Medicine, following are a few questions to ask:
- Can aging and age-related diseases be delayed?
This is the most important question. Avoid doctors who seem dismissive of the debilitation associated with aging and say, “You’re just getting old.” An Anti-Aging physician believes that it is possible to postpone or reverse many of the biochemical changes associated with later life disease, such as heart disease, cancer, stroke and diabetes.
- What is your personal Anti-Aging plan?
Look for a doctor who practices what he/she preaches – someone with a well-developed personal Anti-Aging program including regular exercise, high-quality multi-vitamin and mineral formulas, and antioxidant supplements.
- How many of your patients are currently being treated with Anti-Aging programs like Cenegenics?
While most patients in a doctor’s practice are seeking relief for illness or pain, a dedicated Anti-Aging doctor should have 30 or 40 patients involved in a committed Anti-Aging program.
- What are the latest advances in the Anti-Aging field?
Look for a doctor who stays up-to-date on the latest Anti-Aging developments. Physicians should read Anti-Aging periodicals such as the International Journal of Anti-Aging Medicine, Total Health Magazine and the Anti-Aging & Longevity Newsletter, along with other mainstream scientific journals. Anti-Aging physicians should also attend scientific educational conferences, such as the annual ones sponsored by A4M and the American Aging Association.
- How often do you follow up with your patients?
It is important that your physician believes in regular follow-up visits (every three to four months) to check for adverse side effects, adjust dosage and details of your program and gauge the efficacy of your Anti-Aging regimen.
Listen to the questions your doctor asks you.
Just as important as the answers your doctor gives you are the questions he asks you. Does he/she ask when your symptoms began? Does he/she ask what has helped you in the past? Does he/she ask for a family history and for information about your lifestyle? These questions are important in finding the causes of your problem, and in determining the treatment that will be right for you. It is important that your doctor view you as an active participant in your treatment and not as the passive recipient of his advice.
What first step would your doctor recommend ?
Look for a doctor whose first action is to recommend thorough testing and assessment of your current condition. The first step would be a general work up which would include a measurement of your blood cholesterol, blood glucose and blood pressure. Before beginning hormonal therapy, a doctor should perform a thorough assessment of the current levels of your hormonal profile. Ideally, you should test not only for the levels of the hormones, but also for breakdown products. Finally, your doctor might recommend testing the Biomarkers of Aging. A series of tests called the Biomarker Matrix Protocol, developed by Dr. Vincent Giampapa of the Longevity Institute International in Montclair, N.J., measures aging on four levels – overall body function, skin analysis, molecular analysis and DNA analysis. Many of these tests are expensive however, and you may not wish to have them all done at once.
Be an informed patient.
Learn all you can about Anti-Aging Medicine. Read up on the latest advancements in hormone replacement therapies, the newest discoveries about Alzheimer’s disease and other Anti-Aging Medicine developments. By educating yourself in this field, you will make be more knowledgeable in finding and anti-aging doctor that is right for you.