In this second part of my interview, Arlene Weintraub offers further insight into the confusion of the anti-aging industry. Plus, she shares some of her personal strategies for a healthy lifestyle; an exlcusive for Menopause readers!
Q: Websites where patients can share comments on their healthcare professionals indicate a lot of patient frustration; patients complain of poor bedside manner and always feel rushed at their appointments. Could this be playing a part in traditional doctors ‘driving’ patients to seek out alternatives and pay someone who will listen to and not rush their patients?
Patients want to be heard, and Weintraub understands why some people will spend money if that is what a good bedside manner costs. General practitioners are overwhelmed and overscheduled. However, there are traditional medical practitioners that can offer thorough appointments and provide comprehensive care.
Weintraub suggests seeking out the North American Menopause Society’s list of Certified Menopause Practitioners, or consult with an Endocrinologist. For those who still want to seek out alterative therapists, Weintraub says, “Get a second opinion from an Endocrinologist for a more sound approach to understanding hormones. Be cautious with treatments purported to treating aging as a disease.”
Q: If women (and men) perceive the customized approach (bioidentical hormones, compounding pharmacists) more appealing than traditional approaches, are there any safeguards in place to resources to ensure legitimacy?
In short, Weintraub has difficulty putting compounding pharmacies and legitimacy in the same sentence due to the challenge of overseeing this industry.
“Here in the United States, there are many gray areas when it comes to regulating compounding pharmacies. This is usually done at the state level, although enforcing regulations varies from state to state. Most state task forces are quite small and underfunded, resulting in some questionable practices falling under the radar.”
Weintraub is wary of using saliva tests to ‘measure’ a person’s hormone levels as part of the compounding hormone process. “As menopausal women know, hormone levels are in a constant state of flux; a saliva test is not accurate enough to tell the whole picture, and in fact amounts to little more than a snapshot in time. Any treatment option will require some trial and error to get the right dose for an individual. Traditional practitioners rely on more extensive testing to tweak doses until a woman feels better.”
Q: We get so much information that we are often overwhelmed and want to throw up our hands! Are there any particular sources you trust for information?
As a journalist and experienced scientific reporter, Weintraub recommends the following sources for women who want to learn more about menopause, HRT, and related health issues:
*The Mayo Clinic
*The Red Hot Mamas
*The World Health Initiative
*The National Institutes of Health and its subsection National Institute on Aging
Q: For menopausal women, what is the one message they should take from reading your book Selling the Fountain of Youth?
“That there is no magic pill, lotion, formula, or injection that will slow, stop or reverse the aging process. Aging is a process and not a disease. Diet and exercise may not sound glamorous but they are the best measures anyone can take to manage their health. Be careful and be mindful of what you put into your body. The last thing anyone wants is to shorten their life by ingesting unregulated substances.”
Q: Would you mind sharing any of your personal approaches to living a healthier lifestyle now and for the future?
Weintraub practices what she preaches and offers some practical if not glitzy sounding advice. “For me, having a dog is a reason to get out everyday which is no small feat during our recent blizzards. (Weintraub lives in the Northeastern U.S.) Though daily walks, I have lost 10 pounds without resorting to gimmicks or empty promises.
Additionally, I have naturally high cholesterol levels and have had to adjust some eating habits. In my case, by eating two vegan meals a day, I have lowered my cholesterol levels by 30 points.” Weintraub shares this information to demonstrate that even small changes can provide some great results and give your wallet a break.
A very special thank you to Arlene Weintraub for our telephone interview.
Learn more about Arlene Weintraub and her research by visiting www.arleneweintraub.com