Low Testosterone in Men: Health Concerns
Low testosterone (hypogonadism or testosterone deficiency) can occur for many reasons, including age. Other causes of low testosterone is obesity, poorly managed Type 2 diabetes, sleep apnea, and chronic medical conditions such as kidney dysfunction. We now know that low testosterone levels may be among the earliest detectable signs that a man is undergoing the bodily changes that will later manifest as obesity and metabolic syndrome.
At Optimal Hormone Health, it is our job and commitment to our patients to stay informed on the latest research on hormone replacement. Testosterone is the major sex hormone in males and has a profound impact on all aspects of male sexual and psychological health. Let’s review some of the latest research about the association between low testosterone and health.
What is Low Testosterone?
According to recent guidelines from the American Urological Association (AUA), a testosterone level of at least 300 nanograms per deciliter (ng/dL) is normal for a man. A man with a testosterone level below 300 ng/dL should be diagnosed with low testosterone. At Optimal Hormone Health, a review of your labs will help us develop a plan of care tailored to your individual goals.
What are the Symptoms of Low Testosterone?
If you have any of these symptoms, you could have low T, but keep in mind other lifestyle factors contribute to and can cause many of these symptoms.
Reduced sex drive.
Loss of armpit and pubic hair.
Low or zero sperm count, which causes male infertility.
Difficulties with concentration and memory.
Increased body fat.
Enlarged male breast tissue
Decrease in muscle strength and mass.
Decrease in endurance.
Literature over the past 20-plus years supports testosterone replacement in men and women to improve the following:
Promote lean muscle (size and strength)
Remove body fat
Improve libido, quality of orgasm, the quantity of semen, and erectile health
Support tissue growth & repair
Improve anemia of unknown cause
Improve bone density and fracture risk
Impaired sexual desire can result from a wide range of organic, relational, and psychological factors, but it is recognized as one of the most specific symptoms of low testosterone. Testosterone replacement has been shown to improve libido, orgasm, and overall sexual satisfaction.
Other Health Concerns and Low Testosterone
More research is needed, but many studies suggest an association between low testosterone and these medical conditions:
Increased risk of cardiovascular disease and mortality
Overall higher mortality
Obesity and Metabolic Syndrome ( a cluster of conditions that increase risk of heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes.)
Increased risk of prostate cancer
High blood pressure, Hyperlipidemia, Chronic Respiratory Disease, COPD and HIV.
In a nutshell, men with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, chronic lung diseases, prostate disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and type 2 diabetes are likelier to have low testosterone.
70% of men with low testosterone have obesity, type 2 diabetes, or metabolic syndrome.
20-50% of men with type 2 diabetes have low testosterone
70% of patients with cardiovascular disease have a metabolic disorder
Men with co-morbidities tend to have a higher prevalence of testosterone deficiency with the aging process
Low testosterone levels may be among the earliest detectable signs that a man is undergoing the bodily changes that will later become apparent as obesity and metabolic syndrome. But remember that sexual disorders are complicated and can’t be attributed only to a decline in testosterone levels. Other conditions that affect sexual health:
Neurological disorders such as stroke, trauma, and peripheral neuropathy
Psychiatric and relationship issues
Medications and illicit drugs
Obesity and a sedentary lifestyle
Final Thoughts on Low Testosterone and Men’s Health
Testosterone is complicated but the more we learn, the greater it’s importance to men’s overall well-being and health. Low testosterone must be considered in the context of overall lifestyle choices and a commitment to healthy goals. To reach your full potential a holistic approach requires a comprehensive view of every aspect of your life. A good place to start is determining your testosterone levels. Once those are optimized, you will have the energy, focus and dedication to improve your diet, activity level, sexual health and chronic disease management.