Low Testosterone Symptoms
Men who are experiencing low testosterone symptoms may be dealing with a number of manifestations that are associated with drops in the levels of this key male hormone. Testosterone is the hormone that gives men most of their uniquely male features. Muscle formation, overall strength, the pitch of the voice, facial hair and the appearance of the body are all determined by this hormone. Libido and sexual function are also controlled by testosterone as well as the production of sperm. While the production of this vital hormone will vary, dramatic decreases that occur earlier than they should may be signs of a condition called andropause, or male menopause. The most common low testosterone symptoms may include a decreased sex drive, tiredness and fatigue, erectile dysfunction, a loss of ability to concentrate, depression, mood swings, irritability, reduced strength, changes in muscle mass, and issues with bone density. As a man ages, a natural drop off in male hormone levels will occur. Deciding the difference between natural declines in male hormone levels and a more serious problem is the job of a trained medical professional. Some medications can also cause a drop in the levels of male hormones. For individuals who are being treated with these medications, a premature hormonal imbalance may result.
When a doctor works with a patient to treat low testosterone symptoms, the first step will most likely be a blood test to determine the amount of testosterone that is currently in the blood. The normal levels of this male hormone can differ from individual to individual. For example, the range that is considered normal for a man between the ages of thirty and forty may run between three hundred and twelve hundred milliliters per deciliter. With such a wide range it is easy to see how it may be difficult to diagnose a significant decrease in the hormone. A patient's complete medical history plus a thorough list of the patient's low testosterone symptoms will be required before an accurate diagnosis can be attempted. A recent PSA test will also be needed to ensure that the patient is not suffering from prostate cancer. Once diagnosed, a doctor may prescribe hormone replacement therapy. If such treatment is needed, over the counter supplements, herbs and extracts are not to be regarded as substitutes for prescription medications. The Bible provides believers with many assurances that in Christ they are not the recipients of God's condemnation. "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit." (Romans 8:1)
Perhaps due to menopause, women are often more educated and aware of hormonal imbalances than men are. If a man feels that he may be suffering from low testosterone symptoms, he should begin by consulting with his family doctor. Men who are dealing with decreased male hormone levels or a hormonal imbalance will most likely experience more than just a decrease in libido. A marked lack of energy or a noticeable decrease in endurance may also be important indicators. After physical exercise, there may also be a noticeable increase in the recovery time that is needed. Some patients may even notice a decrease in height. Beyond just a sense of depression, some men complain of a feeling of loosing their joy for life. A decrease in sexual performance will usually be experienced to some degree. If work performance has suffered or frequent naps are required throughout the day, an individual may be experiencing low testosterone symptoms. Lean muscle mass will usually decrease for men as they age, particularly if they have sedentary jobs. Lowered testosterone levels can speed up the process of muscle mass loss. Once diagnosed, a doctor may prescribe any number of treatments including testosterone replacement therapies involving patches, injections or gels.
There are a number of health risks that may associated with low testosterone symptoms. The loss of muscle mass can mean that a patient will find it easier to put on additional pounds of fat. This is due to the fact that muscle has the ability to burn calories, therefore, less muscle mass equals a lowered ability to burn off calories. Bone density issues can lead to osteoporosis or bone fractures. A loss of bone strength is the reason for a higher risk of broken bones among the elderly. Cardiovascular disease can also accompany a loss of male hormones. This may be due to higher blood pressure measurements and higher cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Dilation of coronary arteries is another serious risk that may accompany these symptoms. Increases in fibrinogen levels can mean a higher likelihood of blood clots or heart attacks.
In some cases, low testosterone symptoms may be addressed through natural alternatives. The most readily available type of natural alternative may simply be found in a number of important lifestyle changes. Regular exercise can help to fend off the loss of muscle mass. Keeping an eye on alcohol consumption can make a big difference as well. A balanced diet can be helpful and is a boon to overall health as well. Vitamin supplements can also be an important part of healthy lifestyle. In addition to these changes, there are a number of over the counter remedies that may be successful. But it is important to consult with a physician before utilizing these products. While these approaches may not completely deal with the problem of lowered testosterone levels, they can help to alleviate symptoms while adding to a patients overall good health.
Low Testosterone TreatmentLow testosterone treatment is available for men who have lost a significant amount of testosterone over a long period of time. In fact, as many as twenty-five percent of all American men have this deficiency but only five percent of the men actually have symptoms of low testosterone (low T) which is called androgen deficiency. From about age thirty on, there is about a one percent drop a year in testosterone levels, unlike women who have a very steep drop in estrogen levels after menopause. So the good news is that while most men have lower T levels, a small percentage of them actually have symptoms. There is often loss of sex drive, erectile dysfunction, bone loss and related symptoms such as sleep disturbance, depressed mood, lethargy and diminished physical performance. So if a man does address his physician with these problems, the physician will run blood tests to see if there is actually androgen deficiency.
Testosterone affects much more than sexual function in men. This substance is actually also found in women at much lower levels, but the T affects the brain, bone, muscle mass, fat distribution, the vascular system and energy levels in both sexes. In 2007, ABC news reported that according to a UC San Diego study, men with lower T levels had a thirty three percent greater death risk during the next eighteen years than those without the lower readings. This low reading might actually be a predictor in the future of how long a man may live. The problem is that no one actually knows what a low reading is. Consequently, without knowing what a real low reading is makes a diagnosis quite difficult for a physician to gauge when to offer low testosterone treatment therapy for a patient.
Some of the symptoms of lower T levels certainly mimic depression traits such as trouble sleeping or wanting to sleep too much, depression, lack of interest in sex and other general malaise. Hot flashes are often thought to be only belonging to women, but not so. Men can also have them. When the deficiency really exists, there is loss of physical strength, decrease in bone mass and decreased muscle mass also. The problem for low testosterone treatment and the physician handling it lies in the fact that these latter symptoms are often quite difficult to ascertain for many years and they might just be attributable to older age. People would love the find the fountain of youth in order to ward or stave off the inevitable coming of death, but it is an assignment we all must face, given to us by God. "It is appointed unto men once to die but after this the judgment." (Hebrews 9:27)
But low testosterone treatment isn't going to be given to those men who are depressed or lethargic. And doctors warn that taking it won't make a fifty year old feel like thirty again. If a man has lower T levels but is not in the area where it is considered androgen deficient, adding testosterone to get higher levels thinking it will mean more energy doesn't square with the experience of others who have tried it. In fact, there are side effects to low testosterone treatment that aren't anything to be ignored. To begin with, sleep apnea has developed in some who have had low testosterone treatment. This has been known to cause heart problems and even strokes and high blood pressure. Additionally, blood has been thickened in many patients and prostate cancer has increased chances for development in those receiving lower T treatments.
What are things that cause Lower T levels beyond the aging process? Medications for depression can sometimes cause lower T levels as well as radiation and chemotherapy. AIDS has been shown to also create low T as well as hemochromatosis which is too much iron in the blood. Additionally, there have been situations in which excessive stress has been shown to bring on lower T levels as well as dysfunction of the pituitary gland. Only a medical professional can determine the causes of lower T levels.
Lower T level therapy will be administered by a physician in the form of pills, patches, gels, creams or intramuscular injections. Testosterone that is absorbed under the skin has been found to be the best delivery system, while the pill regimen taken orally has been found to not be readily absorbed into the bloodstream and may increase the risk of high cholesterol. Additionally an oral regimen may lead to heart and liver issues that are negative in scope. Once the low testosterone treatment has been started under strict medical supervision, the treatment usually takes a number of doctor visits over a period of weeks or months.
One of the temptations a man might have is actually trying to diagnose low T by himself and beginning the use of androstenedione which is a steroid-like substance. This product is often sold as "something just as good as testosterone" only in more saleable language. The recent years have shown that steroids have few upsides physically except for those who want to take on the Fifth Army brigade bare-handed. Steroids cause heart disease, liver damage and a host of other long term physical problems. Androstenedione is not regulated by the Federal Drug Administration and when the substance is taken in large doses ("More must be better") by young or unsuspecting males, the long term effect can be disastrous when self-serve low testosterone treatment is attempted. There is no better advice than can be dispensed to any man than to make one's physician the cornerstone of any drug or natural substance therapy. While men like to go it alone, this is not a time to be alone on an island.