ANDROPAUSE: Testosterone is a hormone produced primarily in the testicles and men’s testosterone levels naturally decline as they become older. As this happens, the man may only experience a few symptoms from this lower testosterone level that they can attribute to their age. However, other individuals develop hypogonadism, a disease in which the body is unable to produce normal amounts of testosterone due to either a problem with the testicles or the pituitary gland that controls the testicles. Hypogonadism can cause all the symptoms associated with lower testosterone levels in men younger than would normally be seen. In the case of hypogonadism, testosterone therapy is suggested to help the individual reach a normal level for their age and to improve the symptoms. A simple blood test can determine is low testosterone is due to natural aging or a disease. It is important to note that some symptoms of low testosterone levels can also be a result of other lifestyle factors such as medication side effects, thyroid problems, depression, and excessive alcohol use. (Source: www.mayoclinic.com)
TESTOSTERONE TREATMENTS: Although testosterone levels naturally lower as men age, there is no evidence suggesting that older males need less of the hormone than their younger counterparts; some studies even suggest that since androgens induce their own receptors, tissues receiving inadequate amounts of testosterone are less receptive to the hormone’s effects than those more fully supplied. The testosterone therapies are not praised by everyone. Some physicians avoid treating older men with testosterone for fear that it may promote prostate cancer growth. While prostate cancer growth has not yet been definitely linked with testosterone therapy, other complications exist as well. Other issues include erythrocytosis, possible promulgation of sleep apnea, and a reduction of HDL cholesterol levels. (Source: www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
ANDROGEL: YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED!
1. What are your thoughts on Androgel?
Dr. Power: Androgel is a topical testosterone form that is an alternative to injectable testosterone. I prefer injectable testosterone because the dosing is more reliable and there is no testosterone transfer to women and children, but Androgel is a possible alternative for testosterone replacement.
2. Who is androgel for?
Dr. Power: Men with low testosterone.
3. What is considered a “normal” testosterone level? (what is the range between healthy levels and unhealthy levels).
Dr. Power: The range for "normal" testosterone is very wide: around 250-1200ng/dL (nanograms per deciliter). Men at the lower end of this range; below 400 or 500, or frequently symptomatic but are typically denied treatment as long as their testosterone level is in the "normal" range. Some studies have shown increased risk of heart disease and cancer at levels below 350. Most men feel better and lose weight if levels are raised to the 800-900 range.
4. How is testosterone measured and what are the units used in measuring testosterone?
Dr. Power: A blood test is the most accurate way to check testosterone levels. Both total and free testosterone should be checked.
(Source: Ivanhoe Broadcast News Interview with Dr. Karron Power, MD, MPH
founder of the Youth Renewal Center and creator of the Peak Performance for Men Program