Low Testosterone and General Health
August 8, 2021
Low testosterone isn’t just about feeling crummy, difficulty with erections, low libido and difficulty maintaining muscle mass. Research shows that low testosterone may also be a predictor of earlier mortality rates.
Testosterone levels in men slowly decline with age. Levels typically decrease 1% each year, beginning at age 40. However, testosterone may drop quickly due to medical illnesses such as stroke, trauma, diabetes, liver disease, kidney disease, obesity, heart attacks or medications.
Studies suggest that men 50 years of age and older with low testosterone levels may be at higher risk of death within 20 years than men with normal levels of testosterone. Men with low testosterone had a 33% higher risk of death from any cause than men with normal testosterone levels regardless of age, physical activity, or lifestyle. More research is needed to examine an in-depth link, but the benefits of normal testosterone to cardiovascular health, healthy weight and bone health are well-established.
Research is starting to show that the relationship between low testosterone levels and mortality is somewhat explained by metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is an increasingly common condition and doctors are becoming more aware of its large-scale affects on deteriorating health. Metabolic syndrome is a condition defined by multiple risk factors for cardiovascular disease including high blood pressure, high blood sugar, and a waist diameter greater than 40 inches in men.
With all the research we are learning that low testosterone may not be the sole culprit, but rather an indication of other medical conditions. It’s the classic “chicken and the egg” conundrum: Does low testosterone cause the problem or does the problem cause low testosterone? More research is needed to tease it out. But knowing that metabolic syndrome can be treated and low testosterone levels can be elevated into normal ranges to benefit overall health is half the battle in understanding this complex relationship.
If you’re interested in learning more about low testosterone and treatment options, contact Austin Urology Institute at 512.694.8888.
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