Why It’s Important to Treat Low Testosterone

August 6, 2021

From mood to sexual performance, testosterone plays a critical role in many aspects of a man’s life. It might also play a vital role in promoting longevity. Testosterone promotes muscle building which increases metabolism or the rate that muscle burns calories; this can ward off the fated metabolic syndrome that encompasses the big three – cardiovascular disease (including high blood pressure), high blood sugar (often leading to diabetes), and obesity (a waist diameter greater than 40 inches in men).

Testosterone levels in men slowly decline with age. Levels typically decrease by 1% each year beginning at the age of 40. However, testosterone may drop quickly due to medical illnesses such as stroke, trauma, diabetes, liver disease, kidney disease, obesity, heart attacks or medications.

While testosterone can be protective in metabolic syndrome, bone health and cardiovascular health, studies have shown testosterone may also cause an expenditure of energy that could potentially shorten the lifespan of men. Much more research is needed to be clear, but evidence is emerging that testosterone might be a double-edged sword. A 2014 study noted that older men taking testosterone were more likely to experience an acute, non-fatal heart attack 90 days after initiating testosterone therapy. The consideration behind high testosterone turning its head on health benefits is theorized that although higher testosterone is beneficial for muscle growth, other organs in older men may not be able to tolerate the metabolic burden.

Another thumbs down for testosterone is a hypothesis that is forming in animal studies that suggests that testosterone suppresses immune function. One limited study that might point to this case was performed in 2005. Researchers conducted a study in Honduras which found that testosterone levels were lower in men with malarial infections compared to men that were free of infection. When infected men were treated, their testosterone levels rebounded back to normal levels of uninfected men.

Although new information about testosterone and its potential negative effects on longevity are somewhat disheartening, the information gathered is largely untested on humans and, at best, a hypothesis. Overall, research that includes large studies on men over a significant period of time, has established testosterone providing more benefits vs risks. So although new theories are being presented, don’t discount the protective and quality of life benefits that are well-studied regarding testosterone.

If you’re interested in learning more about treatment options for low testosterone or to be checked for possible low testosterone levels, contact Austin Urology Institute and schedule a consultation with a provider.