We can’t talk about men’s health without covering one of the most important components of it: testosterone. Testosterone is important not just as the primary sex hormone in men, but for also affecting almost all the important functions of men’s bodies, from cognitive functions, to our bones and muscles, to our metabolism. It’s no wonder why having low testosterone can have such a large impact on a man’s overall health.
Low T, or hypogonadism, can occur for a number of reasons. Many of these can be internal, like problems with the thyroid or pituitary gland, kidney or liver issues, inflammatory conditions, illnesses, metabolic disorders, birth defects, and excess estrogen levels. External forces and habits also have an effect on testosterone levels; things like overuse of alcohol, drug usage, and injuries, especially to the head or testicles, are all possible contributing factors to Low T. Medical treatments like chemotherapy or certain medications may also lead to decreased testosterone production.
Testosterone levels naturally decrease by about 1% per year starting at the age of 30, so age is usually the most important factor. Low T is more common the older you get, with about 40% of men over 45 suffering from it, but younger men can suffer from it as well, with about 25% of men over 30 being affected by low T. The condition isn’t common in men under 30, but that doesn’t mean that it cannot occur at that age.
Low T and Chronic Conditions
Chronic conditions in men have a close relationship with low testosterone. In fact, having low T is one of the top risk factors for many chronic illnesses like type 2 diabetes, arthritis, cardiovascular disease, depression, and high blood pressure. Obesity is not only another risk factor for these chronic conditions, it is also a common culprit behind low testosterone. This is in part because of the typical lifestyle choices like inactivity and poor diet that are part of the risks associated with both conditions, but also because fat is able to metabolize testosterone into estrogen, which obviously means that higher amounts of fat in the body will lead to more testosterone being converted and create a recipe for disaster for a man’s health. Most of the time the obvious answer is to eat better and workout more to shed weight, but this becomes more difficult with low testosterone, sometimes making it almost impossible to turn our health around without testosterone treatment.
Symptoms of Hypogonadism
Many of the well known symptoms are of course related to sex. Low T can lead to problems like low sex drive, erectile dysfunction, and even infertility, but the bedroom isn’t the only place symptoms can appear. Decrease in muscle and bone mass is possible, as well as hair loss, fatigue, and sometimes more serious issues like anemia. These symptoms can also occur on the mental side, and those with low T may experience reduced confidence, moodiness, irritability, depression, worsened memory, and reduced cognitive sharpness.
Symptoms aren’t always severe, and it’s actually common for them to be mild enough that you may not even know you have them. This leads to many men ignoring the problems or attributing them to old age or just difficult times in their life. This mindset can be dangerous, especially if a man is already at risk for the chronic conditions that can be related to low testosterone. This is why it is so important to understand the causes and signs of low T, and to understand that it is always best to be safe and get your testosterone levels checked out instead of ignoring the problems.
There are ways to naturally boost testosterone, like exercising (especially lifting weights), getting plenty of good quality sleep, avoiding stress as much as possible, and eating a healthy diet with all the necessary nutrients. These methods often aren’t enough, especially in older men, and testosterone replacement therapy is necessary to correct the problem. Luckily, modern testosterone treatment comes in many forms, so there are many options to choose from when figuring out the best one for you. Some forms of testosterone treatment are designed to coax your body into producing more testosterone on its own, while others just directly replace the testosterone that your body isn’t producing. There are also a variety of delivery methods, from injections to implanted pellets, and even creams or oral medications.
At Ways2Well, we will help you determine if low testosterone is affecting you, and also help you with a customized treatment plan that is best for you. With virtual appointments and home delivery of treatment, we make it easier than ever to combat the negative impact of low testosterone, so you can get back to being the best version of yourself.
Many men accept the side effects of low T as reality of life, but you don’t have to be one of them.