Testosterone deficiency or hypogonadism is the absence or reduction of testosterone hormone in the body. Hypogonadism may occur at any age and may be due to multiple causes, including normal aging, obesity, medications, cancer history, among others. As men age, the serum concentration of testosterone in the body decreases.
Hypogonadism affects an estimated 4 to 5 million men in the United States. Studies suggest that hypogonadism in adult men is often under diagnosed and under treated. This may be because the symptoms are easily attributed to aging or other medical causes, or ignored by patients and physicians. In fact, only about 5% of hypogonadal men receive testosterone replacement. This is why we need to reevaluate normal testosterone levels and lower the diagnostic cutoff for treatment.
Hypogonadism is evaluated with a series of blood tests ordered by your doctor.
Some of the effects of low testosterone levels are:
Sexual dysfunction, decreased libido, loss of morning erections
Decrease in bone density and increased risk of bone fractures
Decrease in muscle mass and strength
Deposit of unwanted fat in the abdominal area
Anemia or low blood cell counts
Depression or irritability
When patients are evaluated for testosterone replacement therapy they have to make sure that a knowledgeable and experienced physician, who understands the risks associated with overdosing, is in charge of their care. The goal is to balance all the hormones with the least amount of side effects.
Risks of inappropriate testosterone replacement are:
Stroke, heart attack or blood clots
Worsening sleep apnea
Damage to the liver
There are multiple forms of testosterone replacement therapy and every patient is different and requires a full evaluation to determine which form is appropriate for them.
What may seem like a “normal” blood work, may not be the appropriate hormone level for your age. Call us today so we can perform a complete evaluation and make sure your testosterone levels are optimal, so you can get the full benefits of this important but often neglected hormone in your body.