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Impact of Low Testosterone

  • When there is less testosterone available in a man's body, target organs that need testosterone cannot function properly, bringing about many changes. There is great variability in testosterone levels among healthy men, so not all will experience the same changes to the same extent. But typical responses to low bio-available testosterone levels include:
  • Low sex drive
  • Emotional, psychological and behavioural changes
  • Decreased muscle mass
  • Loss of muscle strength
  • Increased upper and central body fat
  • Why should Andropause be taken seriously?
  • Apart from the impact Andropause may have on your quality of life, there are other longer-term, silent effects of Andropause that are harder to track, notably increased cardiovascular risk and osteoporosis.
  • Andropause & Osteoporosis
  • In a healthy individual, bone tissue is constantly being broken down and rebuilt. In an individual with osteoporosis, more bone tissue is lost than is regenerated. We've all heard of women suffering from weaker bones, or osteoporosis, after menopause. In men, testosterone is thought to play a role in helping to maintain healthy bones. Between the ages of 40 and 70, male bone density decreases by up to 15% overall.
  • Unfortunately, with advancing age and declining testosterone levels, men seem to demonstrate a similar pattern of risk for osteoporosis as women. What's more, approximately one in eight men over age 50 actually has osteoporosis. The incidence of hip fractures rises exponentially in aging men, as it does in women, starting about five to 10 years later than in women. In Canada, 20-30% of osteoporotic fractures occur in men. Also, the incidence of fractures has been increasing in men, whereas it seems to be stabilizing in women (likely due to the lifestyle changes, calcium supplements and hormone replacement therapies that women are embracing).
  • Why should I worry about osteoporosis?
  • Low bone density puts you at risk of frequent fractures, associated pain, and in many cases, loss of independence. Wrists, hips, spine and ribs are most commonly affected. The consequences of osteoporosis are often seen as a slow but progressive rounding of the shoulders and loss of height. Particularly devastating seem to be hip fractures - up to one third of patients never seem to regain full mobility.
  • Cardiovascular risks*
  • It is now well accepted that women's risk of atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) increases after menopause. Estrogen replacement therapy seems to reverse this trend. New evidence suggests that a similar phenomenon occurs in men as their testosterone levels diminish with age. While research is not as complete as for women, the clinical findings point to an association between low testosterone levels and an increase in cardiovascular risk factors in men.
  • * A cause and effect relationship has not yet been established in large clinical trials. The current clinical work does support further research into this important area of study.

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