In men, an awareness of the aging process typically begins sometime in the mid-to-late thirties. The masculine physique may then begin to fade as the abdomen protrudes slightly but surely, the formerly chiseled face softens, energy and sex drive decline, motivation wanes, and sleep goes from an afterthought to a dire necessity.
Several decades of being able to eat what tastes good and stay up late seemingly changes overnight. Often a surreal moment occurs—while staring into the bathroom mirror, you observe the tire that seems to have formed in your mid-section, and you wonder how your body began turning into your father’s!
Some accept these changes while others begin to fight back only to realize it’s not as easy as it once was. At this point a thought crosses the mind that maybe a general checkup is due only to be seen by your family doc and told you are in perfect health.
Some men make lifestyle changes by grinding out thirty minutes on a treadmill several times a week. Others can’t bring themselves to change their habits and settle in to the thought of not looking and feeling great again.
No, this stuff doesn’t just happen in your fifties and sixties anymore—now in the mid-thirties in some cases! These insidious symptoms that are beginning to emerge could be due to declining testosterone levels, a condition also called low T. These early symptoms of low T are often warning signs and could manifest more significantly later on.
You see, low T has travel partners including insulin and leptin resistance. The former leads to increased fat gain, the latter shields the fat you have from being used as a fuel. If we extrapolate from insulin resistance alone, the disease tree also includes heart disease, cancer, and Alzheimer’s, to name a few.
In any discussion of a medical intervention, there must always be a discussion of the risks of that intervention. In this case testosterone replacement therapy or TRT.
In the past, assumptions were made that TRT could lead to prostate cancer. This has soundly been disproven. It was also thought that TRT could lead to increased heart attacks and strokes, but this too was shown to be inaccurate. Some studies are showing a lower risk for cardiovascular problems.
In years past, the word testosterone developed a bad name particular because of the abuse in sports that has occurred. Young, healthy, and prime athletic men taking testosterone for a sports advantage is completely different than an aging male who requires testosterone for health and vitality.
Many ask at what age they should consider having their levels checked. Any male experiencing one or more of the symptoms of low energy, low libido, declining sexual function, poor motivation or low mood, or poor exercise tolerance should consider having their levels checked. Many of these symptoms may be unrelated to low T, but getting into a functional medicine doctor to evaluate and unearth the underlying cause should be a priority for those seeking to optimize health and vitality as they age.