Low Testosterone (Low-T)
Jerry R. Balentine, DO, FACEP
Dr. Balentine received his undergraduate degree from McDaniel College in Westminster, Maryland. He attended medical school at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine graduating in1983. He completed his internship at St. Joseph's Hospital in Philadelphia and his Emergency Medicine residency at Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center in the Bronx, where he served as chief resident.
John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP
John P. Cunha, DO, is a U.S. board-certified Emergency Medicine Physician. Dr. Cunha's educational background includes a BS in Biology from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, and a DO from the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences in Kansas City, MO. He completed residency training in Emergency Medicine at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center in Newark, New Jersey.
- Low testosterone (Low-T) definition
- What are the "normal" levels of testosterone in men?
- What causes low testosterone (Low-T)
- What are the symptoms of low testosterone (Low-T)?
- How is the diagnosis of low testosterone (Low-T) made?
- How is low testosterone (Low-T) treated?
- What are the risks of testosterone therapy?
- What are natural ways of boosting your testosterone?
- Should I take testosterone?
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Low testosterone (Low-T) definition
Testosterone is a hormone required for male development and is produced primarily in the testicles. It is responsible for building muscle and bone mass as well as sperm production and sex drive. It influences male pattern fat distribution, bone density, and red blood cell production.
Lack of or underproduction of testosterone either directly due to decreased production in the testes or indirectly due to lack of stimulation of the testes to produce testosterone by the pituitary gland is called hypogonadism and is a medical condition requiring treatment.
In the normal developing male, testosterone peaks during early adulthood. Once you reach age 30, testosterone levels slowly decline by approximately 1% a year. This is a normal part of aging.
What are the "normal" levels of testosterone in men?
The low limit of testosterone levels in men is about 300 nanograms per deciliter and the upper normal limit is approximately 1000-1200 ng/dl. A low level needs to be investigated further to distinguish it from normal aging.
What causes low testosterone (Low-T)
Some of the conditions that can lead to a low level are:
- Diabetes (type 2)
- Chronic medical conditions (especially liver or kidney disease)
- Hormonal disorders
What are the symptoms of low testosterone (Low-T)?
It is important to distinguish between a normal decline of testosterone levels and hypogonadism.
Signs and symptoms of low testosterone include:
- Change in sleep patterns: insomnia or sleep disturbances
- Physical changes: increased body fat and reduced muscle bulk
- Sexual changes: reduced sexual desires, sexual dysfunction, or infertility
- Emotional changes: decreased motivations, depression
- Worsening of sleep apnea
- Worsening of congestive heart failure
Although testosterone therapy helps with hypogonadism, whether it helps in the reversal or slowing of normal effects of aging and lower testosterone levels is unclear. Several published research articles have conflicting results and more research is needed to make a final determination about the use of testosterone for healthy aging males.
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