About five years ago, Dr. Speros Hampilos realized he didn't feel well. He wasn't sick exactly; it's just that he didn't sleep through the night; he had difficulty concentrating; his libido was decreased; and he was becoming increasingly intolerant. He was only 50, far too young to be suffering the effects of old age. He thought he might be depressed and need medication, but before doing that, he had his blood checked for deficiencies and found his testosterone level was off. It was low-normal. He saw a colleague and was prescribed testosterone gel. In about six weeks, he found he was sleeping better and his libido and mood had improved. He joined the American Academy of Anti-Aging and Regenerative Medicine and soon changed the way he practiced medicine. Instead of responding to illnesses, he started finding ways to head off illnesses — with supplements and vitamins and lifestyle changes — and hopefully put a passion for living back into the lives of his older patients. "It's not just how you look, it's how you feel," he said. The St. Petersburg osteopath took some time out of his busy day recently to answer some questions for us. Patti Ewald, Times staff writer
1 What is the most common aging ailment you see and how do you treat it?
People come to me because they are tired, have a lack of passion and sex drive and disrupted sleep patterns. We evaluate them and then treat with hormone-replacement and vitamin therapy.
2 What aging problem do people live with, not realizing there is a treatment for it?
Perimenopausal women — women who have not yet started menopause — who are still menstruating but feel miserable because their hormone production has slowed. We treat with hormone-replacement therapy and they feel much better.
3 How has your practice changed over the years?
My whole view of medicine has changed. We need to start thinking more about how to keep people healthy instead of just treating them after they are sick. Doing that has made me a much better doctor.
There is a much greater emphasis on how hormonal deficiency can affect how we act, feel and think.
4 Give us advice on how to stay youthful.
Optimize and balance your hormones. Sleep seven to eight hours a night. Add vitamin supplements and exercise.
5 Is there a funny or touching story you can share that we can all relate to?
One therapy I offer is for women with a low sex drive, which is caused by the drop in hormones as we age. Everyone's hormones drop at a different rate at different ages.
This therapy involves inserting pellets under the skin of the buttocks. They release hormones.
A patient who came in to me complaining she no longer had an interest in sex agreed to have the therapy and the pellets were inserted.
Not longer after that, her husband came to me for treatment.
He couldn't keep up with her.
Patti Ewald can be reached at email@example.com or (727) 893-8746.