As you age, it is not unusual for levels of testosterone to decrease, and this occurs in nearly 20% of men aged 70. Testosterone levels gradually decline, usually about 1% each year after age 30 or 40.
Low testosterone levels can cause unwanted symptoms such as:
- Weight gain
- Low sex drive
- Low energy
Hormone replacement therapy can help men with low levels of testosterone, potentially reducing the risk of diabetes and heart disease. Hormone replacement therapy replaces the hormones lost, restoring levels, and reducing unwanted symptoms.
Testosterone is an important hormone produced mainly in the testicles, and it helps to maintain:
- Good muscle strength and mass
- Bone density
- Fat distribution
- Sperm production
- Sex drive
- Facial and body hair
- Red blood cell production
Sometimes low testosterone levels can change sleep patterns, causing insomnia. Low testosterone levels are also associated with metabolic syndrome that encompasses health problems such as elevated cholesterol and triglyceride levels and elevated blood pressure and blood sugar.
If you have signs of low testosterone, our physician can provide a lab test. If testosterone levels are quite low, we may recommend hormone replacement therapy, but we will want to discuss the benefits and possible risks of treatment. For men with very low levels of testosterone, the benefits usually outweigh any potential risks.
However, men with borderline levels may be advised to use lifestyle modifications to increase energy levels, for example, by taking exercise regularly. It is also helpful to make sure you have a balanced and nutritious diet.