Testosterone is the hormone that is responsible for regulating male sex characteristics. While testosterone levels naturally decrease with age beginning at age 30 by about 1 percent every year, they can also decline as a result of another medical condition, such as diabetes, infections, obesity, or other hormonal problems. If you are a male and you are starting to feel out of balance in some way, it may be helpful to know some of the typical symptoms of low testosterone.
Some of the most common symptoms of low testosterone include:
- Decreased sex drive; while libido will naturally decrease below peak levels as a man ages, a complete lack of interest in sex is cause for concern
- Erectile dysfunction
- Broken bones and fragility, as low testosterone can lead to low bone density
- Inability to conceive
- Increased body fat
- Loss of muscle mass
- Decreased body hair
- Swollen breast tissue (gynecomastia)
- Hot flashes
- Sleep disturbances
- Trouble concentrating
- Low iron
A blood test can determine testosterone levels. Men older than age 65 should have a testosterone level of about 300–450 ng/dL. Testosterone levels below 300 affect approximately 40 percent of men older than age 45, including 2 out of 10 men over 60, 3 out of 10 men over 70, and 3 out of 10 men over 80 years old.
Our doctor will also want to rule out other conditions that can mimic the effects of low testosterone. These include side effects of certain medications, obstructive sleep apnea, thyroid problems, diabetes, and depression.
Low testosterone is more common among men who have high blood cholesterol, high blood pressure, or diabetes; those who are overweight or obese; those who have HIV or AIDS; and long-term opioid users (almost 75 percent of whom have decreased testosterone levels).
Testosterone therapy is often the first line of defense for men with low testosterone. Men can also counteract the effects of low testosterone levels by losing weight and remaining physically active. Medications for erectile dysfunction and to help with sleep disturbances may also be beneficial, depending on the situation.
If you’ve experienced signs of low testosterone, talk with our doctor at ProMD Health, with offices in Washington, DC, Annapolis, and Baltimore. Dr. Gavrila can recommend the best course of treatment. Life is too short to go about your days dealing with the troubling symptoms of low testosterone. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and get started.