Testosterone levels in men tend to slowly decline with age. Levels typically decrease by 1-2% each year beginning at the age of 40. Low t symptoms can include difficulties with erections, low libido, fatigue, mood changes, drops in energy in the afternoons, sleeping problems or difficulty maintaining muscle mass. What a lot of people don’t realize is that it can also have an impact on cardiovascular and bone health.
When using testosterone replacement medications such as TRT (testosterone replacement therapy) or Clomid (Clomiphene Citrate) it is necessary to increase levels to a “normal” range and to stay within a parameter. Labs, doctors and urologists all may have different ranges indicating “normal,” but most agree that higher ranges don’t always mean better results. And sometimes, it can actually be problematic.
What Are ‘Normal’ Testosterone Levels?
Testosterone levels in healthy teen males are usually in the 700 range. For healthy men in their 30s and 40s, levels are typically in the 600 range. Healthy men in their 60s usually have levels in the 500 range and men 70+ are typically in the 400 range.
Most labs will indicate a “normal range” for testosterone for all men between 350-850, not differentiating in age. However, there is no definitive number within the 350-850 range to indicate symptomatic relief. It is very much individualized per patient. On the flip side, it is well studied and agreed upon that testosterone levels that are too high and out of range (over 900+) can actually cause harm.
Often men think the higher they can get their testosterone, the better they will feel and the fewer symptoms of low testosterone they will experience. This is not accurate. Some men feel relief for low t symptoms in the 400 range, whereas others may need to be in the 600s. Once over 900, risks begin to outweigh any benefit and symptoms may worsen.
Risks of Testosterone Replacement Therapy
Risks of having a testosterone level over 900 include mood instability (irritability, edginess, aggressiveness), polycythemia (an abnormal increase in red blood cell concentration putting one at higher risk of blood clots and strokes), an inverse effect on the cardiovascular system increasing the risk of heart attacks and strokes even if healthy, versus, cardioprotective when in range.
Finally, it can turn the benefit of testosterone replacement on its head by increasing estrogen in the body adversely affecting testosterone— meaning testosterone is no longer in play.
Therefore, the importance of monitoring men undergoing testosterone replacement therapy to ensure they are staying within range and are feeling a symptomatic benefit, all the while, monitoring levels to assure that the adverse effects of too much testosterone aren’t a factor. In the case of testosterone, more isn’t always better.
Interested in checking if you have low t and if testosterone replacement is right for you? Let’s schedule an appointment and help you get to the bottom of it.