Living the Good Life
Dr. Dennis Bonner offers his patients a way to make the most of their age
by Sharon A. Shaw


According to Dr. Dennis J. Bonner, M.D., director of age management for his Langhorne-based practice, most of the diseases that age us are preventable and treatable. Risks for heart disease, stroke, broken bones and cancer can often be detected through screening and steps taken to minimize their effects. Although we may not be able to stop the clock, the idea, according to Dr. Bonner, is to “live fully and maximize our remaining years.”



After serving as director of Langhorne Gardens Rehabilitation and Nursing Center, St. Mary Medical Center Rehabilitation Unit and Department of Physical Medicine and Rehab, Dr. Bonner has seen firsthand the devastating effects of diseases associated with aging. 



Between the ages of 30 and 50, humans lose one third of their muscle mass. Every 10 years afterward they lose 30 percent more. As we age, our heart, nerve, muscle and lung function also decreases.


“And by age 70,” Dr. Bonner says, “the body is running on about 20 percent of its original metabolic capacity.” If an individual lives to the age of 60, chances are good that he or she will make it to 80. The quality of this stage of life, though, depends on one’s health.



Seeking a means of maximizing these years, Dr. Bonner took an age-management seminar where he learned that for people age 45 and older there is a remedy for the significant decrease in energy levels, bone density, sex drive, metabolism and muscle mass. Excited by these findings, he followed that with 75 hours of classroom time to learn as much as he could about the topic.



What he discovered is that hormone levels play a crucial role in our health as we age. Human growth hormone (HGH) and testosterone are two of the hormones most affecting aging men. HGH is produced naturally by the pituitary gland but its level diminishes rapidly after the age of 30, resulting in increased body fat, wrinkles and even cancer risk. Some studies show that men who are deficient in this hormone have close to a 50 percent higher rate of death from heart disease than those with “normal” levels.



These levels, though, are often subjective and vary for each individual. “The normal range for testosterone levels is between 1,100 and 250,” says Dr. Bonner. “If you were a football player—muscular, fit—and your level drops to 250 you would lose muscle, sex drive, ambition and gain weight. A doctor may tell you your levels are ‘normal,’ but they may not be normal for you. Age management is focused on restoring these hormone levels. We discuss if it is worth trying to raise the levels and determine if we see a difference.”



Either of these hormones, along with nutritional supplements and other health care recommendations, makes up the scientifically based Age Management plan offered by Dr. Bonner.



The evaluation begins with a complete medical exam. This includes cardiac and pulmonary tests, body-fat analysis, a comprehensive metabolic blood panel and other tests to determine each patient’s hormonal, metabolic, mental and physical baseline. Dr. Bonner’s holistic approach to treatment also includes reviewing the patient’s family and medical history, immunization record and lifestyle. Once any medical conditions requiring immediate attention are addressed and managed, Dr. Bonner prescribes a program designed specifically for each patient. “It doesn’t make sense not to take a complete evaluation of one’s health,” Dr. Bonner says. “Get into shape and enjoy your remaining years.”



Dr. Bonner is proof of his program’s success. Since beginning the program two years ago he has reduced his body fat from 30 percent to 12 percent. Although it takes two to three years for the program to achieve optimal results, patients see improvement in as little as 10 weeks, including increased energy and improved mood. With increased muscle mass and ambition, Dr. Bonner has seen heart patients increase their physical capabilities, decrease their triglycerides and raise their so-called “good cholesterol.”



Dr. Bonner points to the experience of another patient, a successful man in his 60s who came into the doctor’s care feeling miserable. The man admitted that despite having a beautiful family, luxury cars and a second home, he had lost his confidence and drive for success. He shared with the doctor that, looking back, he was amazed at all he had accomplished, considering how poorly he felt. After treatment, however, this businessman reported he was once again pursuing deals, not because he needed the money, but because he wanted to.



“If you feel fabulous you don’t need me,” says Dr. Bonner. “But if you are 40, fat and tired, call me. Let’s talk.”


Dr. Dennis J. Bonner, M.D.

St. Mary Medical Center

1203 Langhorne-Newtown Rd., Suite 120, Langhorne


Hours: By appointment