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What is Testosterone and Hypogonadism (Low T)?

Testosterone is a hormone that works to maintain men’s bone density, muscle strength and mass, facial and body hair, sex drive, red blood cell production and sperm production. Testosterone levels generally peak during adolescence and early adulthood. As you get older, your testosterone level gradually declines — typically about 1 percent a year after age 40.

Hypogonadism (low testosterone or low T) is a disease in which the body is unable to produce normal amounts of testosterone. Testosterone replacement therapy can improve the signs and symptoms of low testosterone in this case. It is important to determine if a low testosterone level is simply due to the decline of normal aging or if it is due to a disease.

What are some symptoms of Low T?
Symptoms that can be caused by low testosterone include changes in sexual function such as reduced libido. Low testosterone can also lead to increased body fat, reduced muscle bulk and strength, and decreased bone density. You may also have less energy than you used to. Low testosterone has also been associated with sleep disturbances and/or mood changes.

It is important to note that some of these signs and symptoms can be caused by other etiologies, including certain medication side effects, thyroid problems, diabetes, sleep apnea, and anxiety or depression. It is important to speak with your doctor about any other medical problems you have.

How can I check my Testosterone levels?
Make an appointment with your doctor at Ross Medical Group to check your testosterone. A blood test is the only way to diagnose a low testosterone level. Certain blood tests can also be performed to check for other causes of low testosterone. Because of natural fluctuations in testosterone levels during the day, it is best to check your levels in the morning when you are fasting.

Is Testosterone replacement therapy right for me?
If you think testosterone therapy might be right for you, talk with your doctor at Ross Medical Group about the risks and benefits of treatment. There are many formulations for testosterone, and your doctor will make recommendations depending on what they think is best for you. Your doctor may also likely suggest natural ways to boost testosterone, such as losing weight and increasing muscle mass through resistance exercise.

Benefits of Testosterone therapy
The desirable effects of testosterone administration can include increased libido, muscle strength, fat-free mass, and bone density. Some studies have also shown improvement in mood and cognition with testosterone replacement.

Risks of Testosterone Therapy
Testosterone replacement is not for everyone. Some of the risks include development or worsening of acne, erythrocytosis (increase in red blood cell counts), and worsening of prostate problems. There are no conclusive studies showing an association of testosterone therapy with increased risk of major cardiovascular events, but your other medical conditions and risk factors are taken into account with deciding whether to recommend testosterone therapy.

References:
Bhasin S, Brito JP, Cunningham GR, et al. Testosterone Therapy in Men With Hypogonadism: An Endocrine Society Clinical Practice Guideline. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 2018; 103:1715.

Finkelstein JS, Lee H, Burnett-Bowie SA, et al. Gonadal steroids and body composition, strength, and sexual function in men. N Engl J Med 2013; 369:1011.

Cherrier MM, Asthana MD, Plymate S, et al. Testosterone Supplementation Improves Spatial and Verbal Memory in Healthy Older Men. Neurology 2001;57:80–88. PMID: 11445632.

Isidori AM, Giannetta E, Greco EA, et al. Effects of Testosterone on Body Composition, Bone Metabolism and Serum Lipid Profile in Middle-aged Men: A Meta-analysis. Clinical Endocrinology 2005;63:280–93. PMID:16117815.

Liu PY, Swerdloff RS, Veldhuis JD. Clinical Review 171: The Rationale, Efficacy and Safety of Androgen Therapy in Older Men: Future Research and Current Practice Recommendations. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism 2004; 89:4789–96. PMID: 15472164.

Moffat SD, Zonderman AB, Metter EJ, et al. Longitudinal Assessment of Serum Free Testosterone Concentration Predicts Memory Performance and Cognitive Status in Elderly Men. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism 2002;87:5001–7. PMID: 12414864.

Wang C, Cunningham G, Dobs A, et al. Long-term Testosterone Gel (AndroGel) Treatment Maintains Beneficial Effects on Sexual Function and Mood, Lean and Fat Mass, and Bone Mineral Density in Hypogonadal Men. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism 2004;89:2085–98. PMID: 15126525.

For further inquiries Please call our office at 305-279-7677 or email us at info@rossmedicalgroup.com to set up a consultation with Dr. David Ross.

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