Do you take insurance?
No. Insurance typically reimburses doctors very little for the type of work we are doing (particularly diet, exercise, and lifestyle, but also even hormone treatment). Additionally, most practitioners who bill insurance have to either hire another company to do their billing or hire their own office billing coordinator, which adds further costs to the patients (for a service that likely won’t be covered anyway).
Labs and medications typically are covered by insurance, however, although this will vary by insurance carrier.
Can’t my regular doctor do this?
Possibly, but unlikely. Dr. Lemmel has undergone additional training in diet, exercise, and hormone therapy – more than most primary care practitioners – and has chosen to specialize in this area of medicine (in addition to his other specialization in Emergency Medicine).
Are you taking the place of my regular doctor?
No. – All routine health matters such as a yearly physical, scheduling colonoscopies and mammograms, etc, as well as urgent-care matters such as sprains, strains, colds, etc, should be managed through your regular doctor. True emergencies should obviously be seen in the emergency department. Although we do follow some of the same markers as your regular doctor (cholesterol panel, blood pressure, blood glucose) we view ourselves as being complementary to your primary care physician rather than a replacement.
How often do I have to be seen?
We require an in-person initial assessment. For efficiency purposes, this is typically done after a brief phone consultation and initial lab work. If prescribing medications, we typically require follow-up labs 2-3 months after initiation of any medications, and if levels are optimal, follow-up again in 6 months, then yearly. Communication is continuous, typically via email. There is generally more communication and fine-tuning of diet, exercise, and hormonal therapies early on, and within a few months, as steady progress is being made, check-ins can be less frequent.
Isn’t testosterone an anabolic steroid?
Yes and no. Technically, testosterone is “anabolic” in that it promotes the “building up” or accumulation of tissues (muscle). Other “anabolic” substances include things like food (which can promote accumulation of muscle and/or fat) and practices such as resistance exercise (which can promote accumulation of muscle). Testosterone is also a “steroid” in that it has a core chemical structure consisting of seventeen carbons in a 4-ring arrangement, just like estrogen, progesterone, cortisone, and prednisone. So in technical terms, testosterone is a compound in the steroid category that can promote tissue accumulation and therefore yes, it is an “anabolic steroid.”
However, when most people use the term “anabolic steroids” in general discussion there are images of a substance typically purchased illegaly and therefore of unknown purity and concentration, dosed based on “bro-science,” taken soley for the purposes of either athletic or cosmetic purposes, with little (if any) consideration given to general health and longevity.
What we are doing is completely opposed to this. We are using pharmaceutical-grade, precision dosed amounts of hormones for the purpose of promoting greater health, decreasing cardiovascular risk factors, and delaying or avoiding many of the conditions associated with aging. To differentiate between steroids taken for performance and/or appearance and steroids taken for health, we typically use the term “hormone replacement therapy” in regards to the testosterone we prescribe. We are only putting back that which the body used to produce, pushing levels back to where they were in a person’s 20’s or 30’s, not to supra physiological levels chased by users of anabolic steroids. Improved appearance and athletic performance are typically nice side-effects of our therapy, but they are not at all the primary goal.