What is Testosterone and why is it so important?
Testosterone is the primary male sex hormone produced in the testicles and, to a lesser amount, the ovaries. It plays a crucial role in the development and healthy functioning of the male reproductive system, and in secondary characteristics such as muscle and bone mass and body hair growth. Additionally, testosterone is essential for sperm production, making it a vital component of a man's overall well-being.
Although testosterone levels typically decline with age, some men have earlier low levels of this hormone. This condition is known as testosterone deficiency syndrome (TDS) or low testosterone. According to the American Urology Association , low testosterone levels in the blood is less than 300 nanograms per deciliter (ng/dL).
Low testosterone in males can lead to various conditions that may affect daily activities, such as a decrease in sexual desire, fatigue, reduced muscle mass, irritability, erectile dysfunction, and even depression.
What makes low testosterone in men such a common occurrence?
Recent studies have shown that 2 out of 100 men suffer from low testosterone. According to estimates, just 1% of men under the age of 80 have TDS, compared to about 50% of men over the age of 80.
The TDS is more frequent in men with diabetes or obesity. Studies show that 30% of men who are overweight have low levels of testosterone, but this percentage drops to 6.4% in men with normal weight. This also applies to diabetes, where men with diabetes were more likely to have low levels of testosterone than those without the disease—24,5% vs 12,6%.
What are the signs and symptoms of Testosterone Deficiency?
Recognizing the symptoms of TD is crucial for early detection and intervention. Some symptoms are directly associated with low testosterone, such as reduced sexual desire, erectile dysfunction, and loss of body hair and muscle mass. However, other signs might not be unique to TD but could still be connected to it, like low energy levels, memory loss, difficulty finding words, and poor performance at work.
Testosterone Deficiency Syndrome (TD) can cause a variety of symptoms, both physical and emotional. The most common symptoms include lack of sexual desire, reduced erectile function, loss of body hair, reduced beard growth, loss of muscle mass, fatigue, obesity, and symptoms of depression. Other, less specific symptoms may also occur, such as low energy level, stamina and physical strength, memory loss, difficulty finding words, low concentration, and poor performance at work.
It is important to note that not everyone with TD will experience all of these symptoms. The severity of the symptoms can also vary from person to person. If you are concerned that you may have TD, it is important to see a doctor for diagnosis and treatment.
What are the causes of Testosterone Deficiency ?
There are various reasons why a man might experience testosterone deficiency. Some individuals may have conditions from birth, like Klinefelter syndrome, Noonan syndrome, or ambiguous genitalia, leading to low testosterone levels. Others may experience it due to accidents causing damage to the testicles, testicle removal for cancer treatment, pituitary gland disease with hormone deficiency, infections, or autoimmune diseases that attack the body's own cells.
Lifestyle and health factors can also contribute to low testosterone levels. Aging is a natural factor that leads to a decrease in testosterone production. Obesity and metabolic syndrome, which includes high blood pressure, high blood sugar, harmful cholesterol levels, and abdominal fat, can also be associated with low testosterone. Certain medications, such as antidepressants and narcotics for pain, can affect testosterone levels as well. Additionally, men with specific health issues like HIV or AIDS may also experience low testosterone levels.
How can Testosterone Deficiency be diagnosed?
Diagnosing testosterone deficiency involves measuring the blood testosterone levels. Then, after considering various symptoms and using specific warning signs in addition to the blood test results an accurate diagnosis can be made.
However, sometimes the symptoms are not evident and the testosterone imbalances aren’t suspected. This is why adding Testosterone levels to the routine check-up is very important to get a comprehensive wellness check.
What is the treatment for low testosterone?
Treatment for testosterone deficiency aims to restore hormonal balance and alleviate the symptoms that affect a man's quality of life. Testosterone therapy (TT) is a common approach used to increase testosterone levels and address the effects of low testosterone. However, not all men with low testosterone require or qualify for TT.
The decision to undergo TT should be based on a comprehensive evaluation by a qualified healthcare professional. Your primary care doctor will consider various factors, including your symptoms, medical history, current health status, and the results of blood tests measuring your testosterone levels.
Before starting TT, your doctor will discuss the potential benefits, risks, and side effects associated with the treatment. While TT can lead to significant improvements in energy levels, sexual function, mood, and muscle mass, it may not be suitable for everyone.
In addition to TT, lifestyle changes can play a significant role in managing testosterone deficiency. Maintaining a healthy weight through a balanced diet and regular exercise can positively impact testosterone levels. Reducing stress, getting enough sleep, and avoiding excessive alcohol and tobacco use can also be beneficial.
METSI Care is dedicated to helping you regain your vitality and improve your overall well-being. If you suspect you may have testosterone deficiency or are experiencing any related symptoms, don't hesitate to schedule an appointment with Dr. Garrick. We are here to partner with you on your journey to better health, providing compassionate care and personalized solutions to help you thrive. Rediscover your energy and vitality with the support of our dedicated healthcare professionals. Take charge of your health and start living life to the fullest today!