Testosterone is the hormone responsible for a man’s sex drive. When a man is diagnosed with low testosterone, also known as hypogonadism, he may be experiencing low libido, lack of energy, erectile dysfunction, and other symptoms. Testosterone deficiency (Low T) affects more than three million men in the U.S. and the prevalence increases with age. It is estimated that testosterone deficiency can affect up to 38 percent of the population; however, it is estimated that only five percent of affected men receive treatment.
What are the causes of Low Testosterone?
Causes of Low Testosterone include:
- Diabetes (type 2)
- Chronic medical conditions (especially liver or kidney disease)
- Hormonal disorders
- Medications (narcotics, chemotherapy)
What are the symptoms of Low Testosterone?
Common symptoms of Low Testosterone may include:
- Decreased energy
- Decreased libido (sex drive)
- Erectile dysfunction
- Loss of muscle mass
- Decreased exercise tolerance
- Change in mental acuity or cognitive function
- Weight Gain
Low testosterone has also been linked to metabolic syndrome (obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol) as well as decreased bone density, or osteoporosis.
How is Low Testosterone diagnosed?
Low testosterone is an often under-diagnosed condition in men because other psychiatric and medical conditions, as well as medications, can cause the same symptoms caused by Low Testosterone.
A simple blood test to check for a testosterone deficiency, often administered in the early morning, is typically the first way to diagnose the condition. A general recommendation is that a testosterone level of less than 300 is considered low. Low testosterone levels combined with clinical symptoms may warrant Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT).