Understanding Testosterone Deficiency
Testosterone is responsible for the normal growth and development of male sex organs and maintenance of secondary sexual characteristics.
Some men have a lower than normal testosterone level without signs or symptoms. For others, low testosterone may cause changes in sexual function, changes in sleep patterns, physical changes (increased body fat, reduced muscle bulk and strength, and decreased bone density), and emotional changes.
Testosterone production increases rapidly at the onset of puberty and then declines slowly after age 30 and more rapidly after age 50 (to 20–50% of peak level by age 80). Low testosterone, or testosterone deficiency (TD), may result from disease or damage to the hypothalamus, pituitary gland, or testicles that inhibits hormone secretion and testosterone production, and is also known as hypogonadism. A blood test is the only way to diagnose a low testosterone level.
Testosterone therapy can help reverse the effects of hypogonadism. Recent estimates are that approximately 13 million men in the United States experience testosterone deficiency and less than 10% receive treatment for the condition. Testosterone deficiency afflicts approximately 9 million men in the U.S. above the age of 30 with annual treatment expenditures already exceeding $950 million.
The primary treatment for Testosterone Deficiency is Testosterone Replacement Therapy (“TRT”). TRT has demonstrated a number of benefits including effects on mood, energy levels, and libido. TRT has been shown to improve positive mood parameters, such as feelings of wellness and friendliness, while reducing negative mood parameters, such as anger, nervousness, and irritability. Transdermal TRT, in particular, has been linked to positive effects on fatigue, mood, and sexual function, as well as significant increases in sexual activity. TRT is also associated with potentially positive changes in body composition. Additionally, TRT has demonstrated a number of effects, including an increase in lean body mass and decrease in body fat, an increase in weight, and increases in muscle size. Recently, there have been several studies that have linked metabolic deseases such as diabetes and insulin resistance as well as cardiovascular effects to testosterone deficiency.
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