Testosterone Replacement Therapy Benefits For Men
Hypogonadism Signs and Symptoms in Older Men
Just as women undergo menopause, men can undergo male menopause or andropause. Namely, the older male body changes shape as we get shorter and fatter. It’s not fun to talk about, see in the mirror, or look forward to, but nonetheless, it is reality.
Other symptoms are more difficult to measure and differentiate normal aging from andropause.
Symptoms of Low-T
- A decrease in muscle mass and strength
- A decrease in bone mass with the onset of osteoporosis
- Increase in central fat
- Decreased libido and sexual desire
- Forgetfulness and memory loss
- Difficulty concentrating
- Decreased sense of well-being
What Are Normal Testosterone Levels?
These levels decline at about 1% per year, starting gradually at age 30. Over the ensuing decades, the rate of decrease accelerates. By age 80 over 30% of men are in the low range by laboratory tests. However, just being in the low range doesn’t make a diagnosis or necessarily require treatment.
A simple blood test can indicate if your hormone levels are within a normal range. For men, 280 to 1,100 nanograms per deciliter of blood is the healthy range.
Having symptoms of low libido, erectile dysfunction, fatigue, poor energy level, difficulty concentrating, depression, irritability, low sense of well-being, and other less well-defined conditions are necessary for the diagnosis of low T. Again, just having a laboratory abnormality is not enough to necessitate replacement therapy. Treating the patient and not the lab is an old clinical saw which has held up well even as we have easier availability to a myriad of tests.
Hormone Replacement Risks and Benefits
There are benefits and risks to treatment, which is usually the case with any medical condition. Benefits include improved mood, better energy, a positive sense of well-being, better sexual function, greater muscle strength, and progression towards a leaner body mass. Bone density improvement and increased red cell count also have been observed.
Cognitive function, namely the ability to think, solve problems, and have a better memory, has been examined in relation to testosterone levels in the blood. No definitive correlation was found between poor memory and low levels, although the studies were relatively small and of short duration. Unfortunately, using hormone replacement as a treatment for Alzheimer’s disease was also unsuccessful.