The decline of testosterone levels in men are shown by a number of emotional and physiological changes that many men experience as they age. The consequences of low testosterone (T) occur subtly over time, characterized by a gradual insidious onset and a very slow progression of signs and symptoms. This article will highlight just a few of the benefits of testosterone replacement therapy (TRT).
One of testosterone’s most reliable effects is the way it impacts body composition. One of the signs of low T is decreased lean body mass, along with decreased muscle mass and strength. Testosterone is involved in the making of protein and muscle formation. Not only do higher T levels improve the strength of each individual muscle cell, but testosterone also influences nearby cells into becoming muscle cells.
Sexual symptoms of low T can manifest in different ways such as diminished sex drive (libido), erectile quality or dysfunction (ED), or sensitivity. Those who have responded to treatment, which is the restoration of adequate testosterone concentrations in the blood stream, have stated that TRT has allowed them to feel what they would consider a normal, or at least improved-sex life, as long as his T levels are optimal.
Testosterone plays an activating role in cognitive function throughout life. It elevates neurotransmitters (especially dopamine) which can help to improve low motivation, depression and memory (especially in men). Low T can be associated with a decrease in intellectual activity, increased fatigue or low energy, anger, and anxiety.
TRT not only positively influences risk factors for cardiovascular disease but also appears to have beneficial effects once heart disease has already developed. T dilates coronary arteries, which may explain why studies have shown a beneficial effect on exercise induced myocardial ischemia in men with coronary artery disease. TRT can decrease both total cholesterol as well as LDL therefor helping to regulate cholesterol. T helps control blood sugar by decreasing insulin resistance and improving glycemic control. Studies have shown diabetic men will usually have low T levels.
Other signs and symptoms of low T are low bone density, anemia, loss of body hair, joint pains or stiffness.
Treatment with testosterone in men has not been shown to increase prostate size (if DHT is normal) or the blood test marker for prostate (PSA). In addition, there is currently no evidence from studies of natural testosterone treatment showing that it increases the risk of prostate cancer.
When diagnosing low T, the emphasis should be on symptoms. The blood test is then used to confirm the diagnosis – not the other way around. Measuring T levels in the body is not the only thing that should be tested. Estradiol, DHT, DHEA, CBC, cortisol, PSA, FSH, LH, prolactin and albumin should also be measured.
All of the hormones in the body are designed to work together. If one is altered, or deficient, it will affect the actions of all the other hormones. It is important to understand when choosing T therapy, one size does not fit all and that it is important to have customized therapy.
Testosterone replacement therapy for men is safe and provides an overall sense of well-being. Working with a practitioner who listens to your symptoms, orders the necessary lab tests, and discusses the benefits and risks of your TRT therapy can make an enormous difference in your life.
Maria Musitano, B.Sc.Pharm,
Concession Medical Pharmacy firstname.lastname@example.org