http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aldosterone Babelfish translation into English, please.

Because of my age (wrinkly going on crinkly) my skin has thickened and lost its elasticity. Apparently the same effect causes my endocrine glands to function poorly. Chemicals, specifically the hormones find it more difficult to pass through the cell walls in these glands.

The consequence is that I am now experiencing hormonal problems.

My thyroid can’t squeeze out as much thyroxin. This is a chemical, which encourages cells to convert food into energy. When there’s not enough of it, you become sluggish. i.e. instead of skipping down the street, you become a couch potato and grow fat (your glands are making you fat).

I take thyroxine to help keep me active, but I’m still fat, partly because my weight makes damage to my joints more likely, if I try moving too energetically.

The worst hormone problem for me relates to the prostate, which considering almost all Western men of my age are sufferers, begs the question of why it hasn’t been better studied. it’s really annoying that women can get HRT (hormone replacement therapy) but there is no equivalent for men.  We’ve only just got Gov’t moving on prostate cancer, so it’s unlikely that they’ll investigate the problem of old men’s enlarged prostate’s, any time soon.

I’m on shaky ground here, because the research hasn’t been properly pursued to a suitable level. Consequently, what I’m saying is partly factual and partly conjecture, which is what you’d get from a specialist anyway. The main difference is a specialist wouldn’t speak of “an enlarged prostate”, he’d speak of Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (rough translation: not cancerous-to do with the prostate-excessive-cell reproduction), or BPH. I’ll stick to enlarged prostate, because it’s wrong to call it benign.

As near as I can make out you have two male hormones Testosterone and Di-Hydroxy Testosterone (DHT). The DHT is a cut down version of Testosterone and it is the DHT that causes the enlarged prostate. The problem appears to be either that less Testosterone is actually produced in the Prostate, itself, (and of course in the Testes) or that too much of it is converted to DHT.

Taking extra Testosterone doesn’t appear to help, because it just gets cut down into DHT.

This is where treatment goes awry, because the answer taken up by medico’s is to try to cut down on the production of DHT, which means cutting down on the Testosterone, which was where we came in. The chemical that I’m on is Finasteride, which like the other’s cuts down on the maleness of Testosterone. Basically you become less aggressive and more passive (less of a risk taker), you don’t want to be with every half attractive woman you meet (on the plus side it’s harder for women to manipulate you), even if you did you don’t have the equipment or libido to do it, which is why Viagra works best for younger men, whose equipment is still testosterone fuelled.

There are crass procedures, which can burn away (green light laser, Infra-red Laser, Micro-waves etc) prostate tissue but the problem with these is that they don’t actually cure the cause and can damage other tissues. The main concern is that the nerves controlling this area can be damaged, so you’d still have a good piece of equipment, you’d still have the urges but you wouldn’t be able to use it. Another problem would be loss of bladder control and having to carry a urine bag, strapped to your thigh.

I don’t have a problem with my pancreas yet (diabetes) but you never know, as all of these glands use similar systems.

However I do have Hypokalaemia (Hypo–low, Kal — Potassium   aemia- to do with blood plasma) i.e low levels of Potassium in my blood.

Essentially the kidneys clean your blood of waste protein products (urine)  by controlling the levels of Potassium and Sodium. This works through the effect of two hormones Renin and Aldosterone. It’s a bit more involved than that but, while your kidney’s are working it’s not a problem.

In my case the Aldosterone levels are too low, possibly/probably the result of the fact I have “benign” lumps on my adrenal glands. I thought that the adrenal glands were to produce adrenalin (needed in flight or fright and boosted to actuate the heart in a heart attack) but apparently this is an important function and explains why they are situated next to the kidneys. (sounds a bit like the Testes /prostate set-up) .

Anyway; the upshot is that the aldosterone -renin balance is out of kilter and I’m excreting Potassium, instead of Sodium, which is bad news for my heart.

I’ve not looked into this yet but it’s to do with muscles needing Potassium and whilst too much Sodium (salt) is bad for the heart , so is too little Potassium. I have to take extra Potassium but be wary of taking excess, because this, too, is bad for the heart.

I need to check this out and will do so, because Heart attacks are more likely during exertion, so even if my prostate problems were cured, it would put a dampener on the most fun part of that cure and would obviously have an associated impact on my ability to produce adrenalin. This could negate the point of my carrying a Glyceryl Trinitrate spray (in the event of a heart attack, spray under tongue to activate adrenalin).

I realise that medico’s will be aghast at my over-simplification’s but  if they’re truthful with themselves, they probably had to think in these low-level terms, until they were more fully immersed in their studies.

What’s the point of this whole sorry saga….. it’s a whinge about the lack of middle level explanations of medical conditions.

When you Google medical issues, you get three levels of reading material. There’s the quackery of the nostrum seller’s, aimed at “Sun  newspaper Reader” level, the medical journal case study level (all study references,bibliographies and dubious statistics or even more dubious epidemiology) and the Wikipaedia entries, which I relied on.

These Wikipaedia entries were almost what I needed but they are written by medico’s and they use their own professional terminology.

Obviously, when writing as a professional you have to use professional terms because they have a specific, precise meaning and associated semantic.

Unfortunately, when a non-professional tries to read them, it’s like trudging through mud. One is constantly being pulled up short in order to translate a particular word. When it is one or two such words per sentence, it becomes difficult to maintain the thread of what is being said.

I need texts that talk of developing breasts  (not Gynecomastia) or enlarged prostate (not Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia). The context is sufficient to compensate for lack precision.

So what do I want? I want Google to have a translation facility. Instead of looking up every other bit of terminology, where I can’t guess its derivation, I’d like to feed a body of text through a sort of Babelfish translator, which would replace all the jargon words with commonplace phrases.

As an alternative to selecting Italian into English, I could pick Medical into English, or Politician into English.

I could read a piece through without losing the thread of what it is trying to tell me.

I realise that the Politician into English is asking a bit much, because they’re always latching onto new weasel phrases to avoid you understanding how they’ve disguised their lies, but medico’s language hasn’t changed much in decades.

A further thought is that maybe it could help the medico’s, also, by helping them to clarify their own thoughts about how these systems interact.

As I said, I want an over-simplified version. I know that Aldosterone increases Blood Pressure, for which I am taking other medications and that the adrenal glands affect adrenaline levels, which can affect heart function. Possibly there are other interactions which also affect the renin levels, which affect something else, which affects aldosterone levels and so on. As specialists chase down one avenue of interaction, they must automatically reject other interactions as an irrelevance to a particular thought process. but by having to take an over-simplified line, this is put in reverse. They are forced to give pause and re-consider those aspects, which they are being invited to ignore. Or maybe not….

 

 

 

 

 

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