Is Having Low Testosterone Dangerous?
Testosterone is the male sex hormone produced primarily by the testes. Testosterone plays a vital role in the physical development of those characteristics that make men “men”. From athletic builds to facial hair and deeper voices, the influence of testosterone can be easily identified.
Aside from physical characteristics, testosterone impacts a wide range of biological and physiological processes important for optimal health.
Low Testosterone (Low T)
Reduced levels of testosterone are a natural part of the aging process for males. Starting around age 30 most men experience a drop in testosterone of around 1% per year. An estimated 20% of males age 60 and over experience low T. Although many cases of low T are due to age, other underlying conditions can also cause hypogonadism, a condition in which the testes do not produce enough testosterone.
Non-Age Related Causes of Low T Include:
- Injury to the testes
- Radiation or chemotherapy
- Diseases of the pituitary gland
- Certain medications
- Genetic predisposition
Health Concerns Associated with Low T
Especially in men, testosterone plays an important role in a number of biological processes. Over time, low testosterone can cause serious consequences. Although other side-effects are less serious in nature, they can have a dramatic impact on the quality of life. Over time, Low T is significantly associated with various comorbidities such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, osteoporosis, and metabolic syndrome
Low levels of this hormone can reduce bone mineral density, leading to an increased risk of breaks, fractures, and even osteoporosis.
Optimal levels of testosterone also play an important role in cardiovascular health. For example, a study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism demonstrated a link between lower levels of testosterone and an increased risk of death from heart disease.
Other Health Concerns Associated with Lower Testosterone
Difficulty getting or maintaining an erection can be difficult for those with low T. Erection quality can also suffer. Adding insult to injury, low T can greatly diminish sex drive and libido. Although not dangerous, these side effects can have serious mental health implications for those in relationships, wanting a healthy sex life, or trying to conceive.
Weight and Body Mass
Low T is associated with increased fat stores and reduced lean body mass. Aside from aesthetics, obesity and increased fat are well known to be a serious contributor to high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, and more.
Mood and Depression
Low T has been liked to mood disturbances as well as depression. Left untreated, depression can have far-reaching negative consequences including self-harm to addiction, reckless behavior, reduced work and school performance, issues with relationships, and more. Depression can also increase the risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, and reduced immune function.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Symptoms of low T sometimes present in ways that may not be immediately evident, often being attributed to part of the natural aging process. Those suspected of having low T should seek out an evaluation from a physician. A simple blood test is generally all that is needed in order to verify suspected symptoms.
Testosterone Replacement Therapy
For those with low T in North Carolina, hormone replacement therapy offers hope. Spartan Medical Associates has helped countless males optimize testosterone levels, helping improve quality of life and reducing the risk of developing other health conditions.