Dr Chris Airey radio interview on BFBS

In 30 seconds...

Transcript of the radio interview of Optimale Medical Director Dr Chris Airey and TRT patient Graeme Dunn, discussing Testosterone Replacement Therapy on Hal Stewart’s British Forces Broadcasting Service Radio Show on the 31st March 2021.

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Transcript

Hal Stewart – BFBS

I am absolutely delighted to say that Dr. Chris Airey, a former role Marine and now a doctor for the National Health Service in Southampton joins me. Dr Airey would you prefer that or Chris?

Dr Chris Airey – Optimale

Chris is fine Hal!

Hal Stewart – BFBS

We will go with that, Excellent great to have you on.  And Graeme Dunn, a nurse with the NHS; how are you doing Graeme?

Graeme Dunn

Very well, thank you, a nice balmy 22 degrees in central London.

Hal Stewart – BFBS

Excellent. You come from a military family Graeme, so you’ve got some connections yourself to the armed forces going back from your father and I believe your brother? 

Graeme Dunn

Yes, that’s correct, yes. 

Hal Stewart – BFBS

So Dr Airey we’re going to start with you. Now, I’d love to know about your time while you were serving. Can you tell us who you were serving with?

Dr Chris Airey – Optimale

Yeah absolutely, so I joined the Royal Marines in 2001 and was with 14 Commando, until 2006.

Hal Stewart – BFBS

Tell me about your own discovery. This is not going be that easy to talk about. I believe you were 37 when you started to feel not quite yourself, irritable, a lack of energy and genuinely just feeling a bit depressed?

Dr Chris Airey – Optimale

Yeah absolutely. So, I’ve always been quite active. Obviously I’ve been in the military. I then did a lot of exercise; rugby, CrossFit, rock-climbing, kite surfing. I then found when I was at work that was getting really tired, particularly in the afternoon. I kind of stopped doing the things that I used to enjoy doing, which was all the sports. My sort of enjoyment for all this had waned a little bit. My energy levels were quite low and I stopped training and stopped going to the gym, and would find that I would sort of fall asleep in the afternoon or after my tea. At that point I decided to have a look into things a little bit more. I had some blood tests and found that my testosterone levels were on the low side. At that point I had a consultation with a doctor and started testosterone replacement myself. 

Hal Stewart – BFBS

Wow, I mean, you’ve then I guess, made it a bit of a mission, is it fair to say to sort of help men understand how their testosterone levels affect them? And you’re actually in a unique position to be able to action that now?

Dr Chris Airey – Optimale

Yeah, so I think I’ve obviously got an insight from both sides. I’ve got an interest in endocrinology as well as obviously being a doctor in medicine and then I’ve also got the patient side of it where I’ve experienced some of those symptoms myself so I suppose that gives me a bit of insight into what some patients are going through. Obviously, symptoms can be very different for different people so you can’t sort of generalise but there is a classic set of symptoms that can come with testosterone deficiency.

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Hal Stewart – BFBS

Graeme, people may think low testosterone and they may think well, manly men like Chris and yourself. Those two things don’t necessarily equate, but it’s not as simple as that is it Graeme?

Graeme Dunn

No, not at all. No, I mean, it’s something which is very much part of the natural life-cycle and I noticed about five years ago an extreme brain fog. Trying to wake up in the morning which was just getting worse and worse and worse. Dragging my feet at work. I do four or five twelve hour shifts excluding handovers with the NHS and it’s a high acuity, high intensive working and there’s lots of physical work and there’s lots of demands on your brain. You’ve got to think quick, think sharp so you’ve really got to be on your toes all the time. For me it was just getting more and more difficult. I also put on quite a bit of weight which was getting me down and I think the worst thing of all was that my therapy for myself which was going to the gym, I wasn’t doing anything about it. I was getting to the gym once in a week and being utterly drained and exhausted, and my solution to that was kind of like hitting the mattress and sleeping it off. 

I got on therapy about three years ago and lost a lot of weight and got to the gym more frequently and that in itself really lifted my mood and gave me a lot more energy for my shifts. My shifts, I have to mention are about 20,000 to 25,000 steps over 12 hours which is quite a lot!

Hal Stewart – BFBS

Okay so, Graeme what would be your advice to men who are listening now who maybe aren’t feeling quite themselves and maybe concerned about low testosterone levels now they’ve heard you talk about it?

Graeme Dunn

Speak up, it doesn’t hurt to ask.  I would say to any lads out there listening who maybe got the similar symptoms to me, you know, speak to their medical officer speak to their GP and get some medical advice. Be bold, don’t be shy. It might be a contributing factor to what you’re going through, so please do speak up.

Hal Stewart – BFBS

Absolutely. Great advice. Dr. Airey you’ve of course got a lot of background knowledge about treating members of the armed forces. Have you discovered that low testosterone is something that we’re seeing in our military community or is it the case of it’s just as prevalent in men in the general population?

Dr Chris Airey – Optimale

I mean I think it’s prevalent generally across civilians and military personnel. We do have some patients that are in the military, also in the police, in the fire service as well that we look after. I think the important thing really is, if you’re feeling fine, there’s not really any need to check your testosterone levels you know, because you’re feeling fine, but if you’ve got a lot of the symptoms that we’ve discussed then actually discussing them with your doctor and having a blood test to check can be quite useful because if we do find that testosterone levels are on the low side then actually replacement can be life changing for some people.

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Hal Stewart – BFBS

And what actually is the treatment?

Dr Chris Airey – Optimale

Treatment may be delivered in a few different ways. Creams and gels, injectable testosterone, some which are short acting which are taken weekly, fortnightly some which are long acting that can be taken once every 10 to 12 weeks. And there is an option for pellets, that can be placed into the skin that lasts four to six months. So, there are a few different options available for guys once they’ve got a diagnosis. 

Hal Stewart – BFBS

Is there anything for people who are maybe thinking well I feel all right at the moment but, you know, I’m a bloke, maybe I want to have really high testosterone levels. Is there anything that people can sort of naturally take in their day to day with maybe some of their nutrition?

Dr Chris Airey – Optimale

Yeah, absolutely. So, looking after yourself first and foremost, you know, keeping your body weight down, strength training, lifting weights can help a little bit. There’s not much evidence for sort of natural testosterone boosters that you can buy from the from the gym and I think that the main thing is if your testosterone is good and you haven’t got symptoms, and there’s not any reason really to worry about it, you know. But yeah, eating healthy looking after yourself, training getting a bit of cardio in and not overtraining because actually too much physical exercise can cause a decrease in levels.

Hal Stewart – BFBS

Interesting, I didn’t know that. Well, I think a lot of people will hopefully get something from what you’ve shared today even if it’s something just to keep in the mind, for the future. Dr Chris Airey and Graeme Dunn, thank you both so much for joining me.

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