You may have opened this article out of mere curiosity or maybe you felt personally challenged by the article’s title. (Perhaps offended by the notion if you are a female.)
Let me say at the outset that I’m not that bully in the neighborhood who challenged you to jump across the obviously too wide creek filled with cold muddy water. That voice in your head that told you to “perhaps go farther down the creek where the crossing narrows” was actually the voice of reason. The other voice chiding you was the voice of someone wanting to see you fall flat on your face in the mud!
No, I’m not about to challenge you in that way.
My goal is simply, but importantly, to introduce a subject that directly affects male aging, overall health, and quality of life.
This article is not just for men, but also for the wives who care about those men. (So please keep reading, ladies)
I’m now going to use a dirty word…Testosterone.
I can just sense the apprehension as thoughts of Barry Bonds and Mark McGwire come to mind. Theiralleged steroid abuse and near destruction of the heart of America’s game (or salvage of depending on who you ask), continues to hit the headlines.
Please put those apprehensions to rest for now. This article has less to do with professional sports athletes’ alleged abuse of synthetic steroids and more to do with health and aging of the middle age man.
This article is about men experiencing advanced aging, loss of quality of life, and increased risk for disease, at least in part, because their testosterone levels decline.
Testosterone levels begin their decline at the advanced age of 30 with common symptoms occurring as early as 40.
I hoped you caught the sarcasm when I referred to 30 as “advanced”. The truth is our testosterone levels are declining faster and earlier than ever before, according to data analyzing levels now and only fifty years ago.
High stress lifestyles, declining nutrient content of our industrialized foods, and environmental toxins no doubt play a role in this decline.
Until recently it was thought that low testosterone in middle-aged men only affected quality of life. In other words, medical thinking was that it contributed only to our feeling tired, experiencing low motivation, and low sex drive as we age.
Newer studies indicate low testosterone predicts future development of Type II Diabetes, cardiovascular disease, declining mobility, frailty, and even death.
Many of the early symptoms of testosterone decline include loss of motivation, depressed mood, poor focus and concentration, low energy, and poor exercise tolerance.
Later symptoms may include problems from erectile dysfunction (ED), clinically relevant depression, and decreased functionality from bone density losses leading to arthritis and weakness from loss of muscle.
As you can see, testosterone therapy goes far beyond young men and their attempts to “muscle up.”
In fact, testosterone is the primary hormone that makes us men. From the time we are conceived until our deaths, testosterone plays a vital role in our sexual differentiation, development, and function.
In my practice, I use bio-identical testosterone. Bio-identical hormones are just that—identical— to that which we would normally produce ourselves. So testosterone therapy is merely increasing natural levels to an optimum range.
Optimizing levels can reverse many of those signs and symptoms of aging (fatigue, lack of exercise tolerance, sex drive and function, body-fat gains, muscle loss.)
It appears testosterone levels are important even for maintenance of health, according to the cumulative research.
For reversal of symptoms, Testosterone replacement should involve nutrition education, lifestyle changes (including increasing activity), and close follow-up with a physician experienced in treating deficiency.
I’m a “numbers guy” to some extent. I enjoy positive feedback as to how my patients feel, but also enjoy seeing objective improvements (Those that can be measured). These include the body composition (body fat, lean muscle mass), bone density and cardiac fitness assessments.
In addition to the initial lab panel, repeat labs at 10 weeks, three months, and biannually are necessary. Further, the body composition, cardiac fitness, and bone density measurements should be repeatedperiodically to monitor progress.
I also feel more confident in our service to our patients if we can help them change some of the dietary and lifestyle habits that may contribute to problems down the road.
These changes are not necessary for improvement but certainly ideal for optimum results. Clinically, we see the best results when our patients fully embrace our recommendations and really put it all together.
For more information please call us (see contact information below). Please forward this article to friends and family.