Low Testosterone? How to Tell

Take a look at these questions, and answer each one YES or NO.

A. Have you felt a general decrease in your desire and ability to have sex?
B. Are you continually experiencing a general lack of energy?

Over the last few years…
1. Have you noticed a decrease in your physical strength?
2. Have you noticed you now spend less time in a physical activity before feeling exhausted?
3. Have you lost an inch or two in height?
4. Do you enjoy life less?
5. Are you continually sad or grumpy?
6. Have your erections been less firm?
7. Do you play sports less often because your ability to play have gotten worse?
8. Do you often fall asleep right after dinner?
9. Has your work performance gotten worse?

Did you answer YES to both A & B, or YES to any three of the questions #1-9? Then you may have low testosterone levels. It is quite normal for levels of testosterone to decrease as a man grows older, but excessive declines should be investigated.

When a boy reaches puberty, it’s testosterone that deepens the voice, grows muscles, strengthens bones, gives a kick start to the male libido, and maintains these male traits all through the years of a man’s life. For most men, at about the age of forty, though, the rate of testosterone production by the body begins to decrease, and continues to fall as the years go by. By the age of fifty, almost all men have lower levels of testosterone production, which continue to fall by about 1-2% per year. But, some men experience far greater decreases, and should look into the possibilities of medical treatment.

What are the numbers? Low testosterone is a level less than 300 nanograms per deciliter of blood. Of course, if the symptoms aren’t there, then there is no need to raise what might be considered, by the numbers, a low testosterone level. But, as we’ve just said, a number by itself means nothing — you have to look for the symptoms too: erectile dysfunction, low sex drive, moodiness, and fatigue.

The preferred therapy for testosterone replacement is one that brings the level in the blood up to the normal level. Vehicles for this therapy include skin patches, skin gel, tablets to be swallowed, or injections. Testosterone replacement therapy should be avoided if you have any of these medical conditions:
– metastatic prostate cancer
– metastatic breast cancer
– sleep apnea
– severe benign prostatic hypertrophy
– severe congestive heart failure
– erythrocytosis (high red blood cell counts)

And is there more to low testosterone than those symptoms? Are there other effects on your health? Low testosterone has been statistically linked to several medical conditions: diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease, and mental depression. Now, we’re not saying there’s a cause and effect paradigm here. It may simply be that both low testosterone and these medical conditions might spring from the same source. An unknown physiological process that causes, say, high blood pressure, may also turn out to be the cause of low testosterone levels.

One of the uses of testosterone by the body is the building of bone; therefore, a low testosterone level might lead to osteoporosis, the thinning of bone, in men. Yet, testosterone therapy that restores a normal level to a man with thinning bones seems to have no effect whatsoever on his osteoporosis. Physicians and researchers agree that this is indeed a mystery.

Though prescriptions for testosterone replacement have grown almost 1700% over the last few years, only about 10-15% of the men who would benefit from such therapy are being treated. One reason might be a general reluctance to men to seek medical treatment related to their sexual organs; another might be the wide differences among men in response to such therapy. Records show that about ten percent of men treated experience no improvement; on the other hand, that means that about 90% do see improvement.