Is It Low Testosterone That is Causing My Health Problems?
“Is it low T that has caused my sex-drive to go south?” Alternatively, “Is it low testosterone that has caused my erectile dysfunction?” Doctors have been asked these two questions many many times. While it is normal for a man’s testosterone levels to drop as he ages, low testosterone levels can have a drastic effect on his overall health. Testosterone is what makes a man function properly in all areas of his life. Once he reaches age 40, his testosterone levels decline as much as 2% per year. This is a normal rate of decrease. However, how do you know if your case of low testosterone is just a part of normal aging or some other medical problem that has developed?
Low T, which is generally recognized as less than 300 nanograms per deciliter of blood, will include such side effects as low sex drive, erectile dysfunction, altered moods, fatigue (sometimes extreme), and various sleep disturbances. Andropause, mans answer to women’s menopause, is caused by a gradual decline in testosterone levels over a course of years. Low testosterone can be treated by applying a daily skin gel, or patches worn directly on the skin, oral medications, or injections.
Low Testosterone and its Effects on Your Health
While little is known about the long-term effects of low testosterone, studies have shown a connection with several chronic conditions such as obesity, diabetes, depression, and a high probability of its connection to cardiovascular disease. However, these maladies are also caused by many other factors, thus the question of “is it low testosterone” should be answered through proper testing allowing accurate diagnoses.
To add to the confusion, the causes of medical conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure could also be the same elements that cause low testosterone levels. Some experts speculate that low testosterone levels serve as a distinct warning that other health issues may be present, yet unidentified. Because testosterone is a main element in building bones, low T can often lead to osteoporosis. Physicians have made it a common practice to treat men suffering from low bone density with testosterone treatments, as this practice has shown to improve the patient’s condition under such treatments.
Testosterone replacement, available in its various doses, is generally thought to be safe; however, the long-term benefits and/or the risks are not yet fully understood and some experts feel caution should be the rule of the day. One valid reason for this caution is that different men have shown a wide spectrum of responses to the treatments, with some patients reacting well to these treatments and some not so well. Clinical studies have shown that the majority of men who receive testosterone therapy show improvement in the areas of erectile dysfunction and sex drive.
The Endocrine Society’s clinical guidelines claim that men with certain maladies should not receive testosterone treatments. Those men suffering with prostate or breast cancer unquestionably should not receive treatment for low testosterone, as testosterone usually causes these cancers to grow further. Sleep apnea, severe congestive heart failure, and high red blood cell counts have also been shown to worsen with testosterone treatments.
While clinical trials are ongoing in their pursuit to properly evaluate just what the exact benefits and risks of testosterone replacement therapy are, men who suffer from the various symptoms of low testosterone should seek the professional advice of a physician to find a definite answer to, is it low T? A solid answer to this question will be the very first step in finding a cure for those aliments that have been proven common with low testosterone levels.
However, if misdiagnosed, to treat low testosterone when there is no solid evidence that levels are low, will only cause conditions to worsen thus open the patient up to further risks. So, is it low testosterone? The answer to this question is indeed very important and can only be answered by those who specialize in testosterone therapy.