It has been accepted that testosterone is responsible for a man’s libido or sex drive. However, we have now discovered that testosterone is responsible for far more than a man’s libido.
Diabetes, metabolic syndrome, obesity, and high blood pressure have all been linked to testosterone deficiency. Low testosterone isn’t known to cause these health problems, and replacing testosterone isn’t the cure. Still, the associations between low testosterone and other medical conditions are interesting and worth a look.
Does Low Testosterone Indicate Poor Health?
In recent years, researchers have noticed general links between low testosterone and other medical conditions including obesity, diabetes, and hypertension.
Diabetes and Low Testosterone
A link between diabetes and low testosterone is well established. Men with diabetes are more likely to have low testosterone. And men with low testosterone are more likely to later develop diabetes. Short-term studies show testosterone replacement may improve blood sugar levels and obesity in men with low testosterone.
Obesity and Low Testosterone
Obesity and low testosterone are tightly linked. Obese men are more likely to have low testosterone. Men with very low testosterone are also more likely to become obese.
Losing weight through exercise can increase testosterone levels. Testosterone supplements in men with low testosterone can also reduce obesity slightly.
Testosterone and Heart Disease
Testosterone has mixed effects on the arteries. Many experts believe testosterone contributes to the higher rates of heart disease and high blood pressure that tend to affect men at younger ages. Testosterone deficiency is connected to insulin resistance, obesity, and diabetes. Each of these problems increases cardiovascular risk. Men with diabetes and low testosterone also have higher rates of atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries.
Testosterone and Other Conditions
Low testosterone often exists with other medical conditions including depression and erectile dysfunction.
For men with low testosterone levels as measured by a blood test who also have symptoms of low testosterone, such as decreased libido, loss of muscle mass, lethargy, and falling asleep after meals, the decision to take testosterone replacement is one to make with your doctor.
Bottom Line: Testosterone is the male hormone produced in the testicles and is responsible for a man’s overall health. Deficiency can lead to many life threatening disorders that can be treated with hormone replacement therapy.