Testostosterone & Men’s Health: Andropause (Low-T)
Testosterone is an essential hormone for men’s health. In order for optimal function, optimal- for-age testosterone levels are needed for maximizing health, vitality and function. A decrease of below optimal levels of this hormone may cause mood swings, sleep disturbance, loss of bone density, fatigue, inability to maintain or grow muscle mass, and decreased libido. Andropause can be defined as a stage in which inadequate testosterone production affects optimal health. Andropause can be a gradual process and varies from one man to another but just like female menopause, andropause can also have severe health consequences in the long-term.
Testosterone tends to decrease in males as they age, however, nearly 40 percent of men over the age of 45 have abnormally low testosterone levels which could be adversely affecting their optimal function, performance and fitness.
Low Testosterone can occur in men for a variety of reasons.
- Lifestyle Factors
- Medical Conditions and Diseases
- Hereditary Conditions
- Certain Medical Treatments and Medications
Low T is a highly misunderstood health condition, and it is imperative to check for and be treated for Low T as it is often a signal that health in other areas of the body also need to be addressed.
Signs and Symptoms of Low T
It is important to understand and recognize the signs and symptoms of Low T in Men.
If you have noticed significant changes to your energy level, sexual desire, or your fat distribution despite your best efforts, it could be a sign of low testosterone levels.
Testosterone is widely understood as its function for producing sperm and driving sexual desire and function, however, it has far more health consequences which are not always talked about.
Testosterone is a key hormone which influences fat distribution across the body, as well as playing a critical role in building muscle and bone density, and red blood cell production.
Low Testosterone can manifest in physical, emotional and mental symptoms.
- Weight Gain
- Decreased Strength
- Loss of Drive and Competitive Edge
- Decreased effectiveness of exercise workouts
- Loss of Muscle Mass
- Loss of Bone Mass
- Stiffness and pain in muscles and joints
- Decreased Libido/Reduced Sex Drive
- Decreased morning erections
- Decreased firmness of erections
- Longer recovery time between orgasms
- Difficulty Achieving or Maintaining Erection/ Erectile Dysfunction
- Increased Breast Size, Fatty Breasts/Gynecomastia
- Urinary Problems
- Hair Loss
- Lowered Sperm Count
- Night Sweats
Emotional and Mental Changes can include:
- Mood Swings
- Diminishing Ability to Concentrate
- Sleep Problems
Risks of Hormone Deficiency in Men
If left untreated, hormone deficiency, especially low testosterone in men, can lead to several serious health conditions including:
Obesity: Men with excess fat are more likely to have Low T, and men with Low T are more likely to be come obese. Obesity increases the risk of Type 2 Diabetes, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease ( COPD ), Heart Disease, Metabolic Syndrome, Insulin Resistance and even some Cancers.
Type 2 Diabetes: Men with Low T are more likely to develop Type 2 Diabetes during their lifetime. Testosterone naturally helps the body’s tissues absorb blood sugar in response to insulin. Men with hormone deficiencies have a higher risk of insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome, a leading indicator of Type 2 Diabetes.
Heart Disease: Testosterone is responsible for regulating cholesterol levels. Low testosterone can cause a build up on LDL ( bad cholesterol ) which is linked to an increased risk of cardiac events.
Neurodegenerative Disorders: Testosterone may have a protective effect on cognitive functioning and visual/motor skills by potentially slowing the rate of cognitive decline.
If you have any of the following conditions, it is important that you speak to your doctor about the possibility of abnormally low testosterone levels
- Type 2 Diabetes
- Chronic Liver Disease
- Chronic Kidney Disease
- Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
- Addiction Recovery Disorders
- Cancer Treatments
- Any medications you may be on which could potentially lower testosterone levels
It is important to discuss your treatment options with a physician specifically trained in hormone optimization as there are various treatment options to address Low-T depending upon the severity of your symptoms and condition.
It is also important to understand that not everyone should be on hormone replacement therapy, and to be under the medical supervision of a physician specifically trained in hormone management and optimization- to better understand the risks and benefits and also incorporate the necessary lifestyle changes required in order to maximize the benefit of your treatment.
Please contact our office to schedule an appointment