Low Testosterone Tied to Poor Health
More than a Third of Men Over 45 May Have Low Testosterone
WebMD News Archive
July 5, 2006 -- Older men with common health problems such as obesity, diabetes, and high
blood pressure may be twice as likely as other men their age to have
low testosterone levels, according to a new study.
Researchers found more than a third of men aged 45 and over had low
testosterone levels, and the odds of having low testosterone was much higher
among those with chronic health problems.
They say the results suggest that common, age-related, chronic health
problems in older men may mask underlying low testosterone levels and
negatively affect their quality of life.
Low testosterone is also known as hypogonadism and affects an estimated 13
million men in the U.S. Symptoms of low testosterone in men include decreased
libido, erectile dysfunction,
loss of body and facial hair, weakened bones, increased body fat, and fatigue.
Low Testosterone Common Among Older Men
In the study, published in the International journal of Clinical
Practice, researchers looked at the prevalence of low testosterone levels
among more than 2,100 men aged 45 and over who visited one of 130 different
primary care practices in the U.S. for any reason during a two-week period.
Overall, the results showed that more than a third of the men had low
testosterone levels (less than 300 ng/dl total testosterone or were on current
testosterone treatment). The odds of having low testosterone were:
- 2.4 times higher for obese men
- 2.1 times higher for men with diabetes
- 1.8 times higher for men with high blood pressure
Men with high cholesterol,
prostate disease, and asthma were also more
likely to have low testosterone than healthy men.
Researchers say low testosterone is often overlooked in men because they
frequently ignore their symptoms or attribute them to other causes, such as
agingor diseases associated with aging.
Researcher Thomas Mulligan, MD, of VAMC GRECC and the division of geriatrics
at the University of Florida, and colleagues say the high prevalence of low
testosterone in this study warrants consideration by primary health care
However, there is controversy about the risks associated with the long-term
safety of testosterone replacement therapy, especially among older men.