CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Like a lot of people his age, Charles Parks said there came a day when getting out of bed became more and more challenging.
“Sleeping one to two nights out of two weeks, tired all the time, eating food to give you energy, gaining weight, lethargic—I remember thinking ‘Is this it? Is it just going to go downhill from here?’”
At 55 years old, Parks did what a lot of people would do.
"I had been to a doctor and they said, after I spent a lot of money, they said ‘You're just old and fat,’” he said.
That’s where Dr. Mickey Barber, the CEO of Cenegenics Carolinas, came in.
"We are a preventative medical practice,” said Dr. Barber. “We focus on helping people stay healthy, preventing diseases that we associate with the aging process like diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke."
According to Dr. Barber, they do that by focusing on exercise, nutrition and using hormone replacement therapy (HRT).
Today, more people are exploring the idea of HRT despite the controversy and concerns a few years ago.
Within the last couple of months, Dr. Barber has opened a new office in Charlotte, in addition to the company’s Charleston, South Carolina office.
The idea of HRT is to look and feel younger and healthier, but the process and the program can be extensive and expensive because insurance won’t cover it.
"The evaluation itself is around $5,000 to come in and be evaluated,” said Dr. Barber.
That evaluation could take around seven hours.
“And then it kind of depends on the patient after wards, but an investment of anywhere between $600 to $1,100 a month is not uncommon" she said.
Dr. Mark Bland, a more traditional doctor, sees the benefits of HRT. Dr. Bland is an OBGYN physician at Rankin Women’s Center in Charlotte.
"I see patients every day that come in with some question about hormones, about their balance, about do they need them, do they not need them," said Dr. Bland.
He admits it’s not always as cut and dry as patients may think.
"Maybe it's not one hormone that takes care of that. Maybe it's not even hormones,” Dr. Bland said.
“Heck, which one of us doesn't want to feel younger and if there's something that can make us do that, then gosh it'd be great.”
As for Parks, who noticed a difference after just a couple of months into Dr. Barbar’s program, things are looking up.
“My kids can't keep up with me and I got 20-something-year-old kids and they can't keep up with me,” Parks said.