As men age, their testosterone levels naturally start waning—in fact, it has been estimated that nearly 40 percent of men aged 45 and older have clinically low levels of testosterone, or androgen deficiency. Low testosterone levels are responsible for everything from the loss of sexual desire, weaker erections, increased belly fat, and breast enlargement to low muscle mass, low energy, irritability, and depression—all symptoms that no man wants to deal with.
And yet, only a third or fewer of these men actually receive treatment for the condition, according to a 2010 paper published in the International Journal of Clinical Practice.
Part of the reason for the under-treatment of testosterone deficiency may be because testosterone replacement therapy has been historically controversial, with some physicians and patients wary about its potential risks given the lack of long-term studies that establish its safety. Some studies have raised concerns that testosterone replacement therapy may increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases such as heart attacks and strokes, yet other studies show that the low testosterone levels themselves promote cardiovascular risk.
The results of a Kaiser Permanente study recently published in JAMA Internal Medicine may finally put some of the controversy to rest. The study not only found no connection between increased cardiovascular risk and testosterone replacement therapy, it also showed that the men who used testosterone replacement therapy had a 33 percent lower risk of cardiovascular events compared to those who didn’t receive the therapy. Based on these findings, this therapy may actually promote heart health in men.
The study evaluated the medical records of 44,335 male patients with low testosterone between the years of 1999 and 2010. Among these patients, 8,808 men were given testosterone replacement therapy, while the rest were not. The researchers discovered that, during the course of about three and a half years, 10.2 percent of the men who never received testosterone had a heart attack or stroke. In contrast, only 8.2 percent of the men who were receiving testosterone replacement therapy had a heart attack or stroke.
Lead study author T. Craig Cheetham, PharmD, MS, remarked that he hoped these findings would alleviate physician’s concerns about prescribing testosterone therapy to their patients with low testosterone levels. The other benefits of testosterone therapy that are increasingly supported by research include reduced belly fat, more muscle mass, increased libido, less depression, and better sexual stamina. Based on this study, improved cardiovascular health may be an added benefit.
If you’re a male, or you know a male, noticing any of the above-mentioned symptoms of low testosterone, known as androgen deficiency, you don’t have to write them off as normal aspects of aging. Bioidentical testosterone replacement therapy may be a great treatment option for you to bring your testosterone back to robust levels so you can reclaim your quality of life and feel energetic and healthy again.
Physicians within the BodyLogicMD network are specially trained in bioidentical hormone replacement therapy and integrative medicine, and they strive to uncover the root cause of your health conditions and treat the source of your symptoms with advanced hormone and lifestyle treatments customized to each individual patient.