The Low Testosterone Hype: Don’t Believe It

Posted by Alan Basinger on

Low Testosterone Syringe and BottleThere has been a lot of coverage given to the issue of low testosterone in males which has led men to rush to get testosterone replacement therapy, by the thousands.  While falling testosterone levels are a natural fact in aging men, replacing those levels may not provide all the health benefits that proponents claim – and it may be causing greater harm. Is Low Testosterone in Men Natural? As men age, testosterone – which is responsible for muscle growth, hair growth and the “manly” features that appear in puberty, begin to decline. This is a completely natural process and it does result in some loss of muscle mass, some loss of vigor – but then, really thing about it -  aging men aren’t as young as they used to be.  Seems obvious, but a lot of men have rushed off to the doctor or the hormone replacement clinic for testosterone shots or creams – to regain the vigor of youth. It turns out that low testosterone therapy that we see advertised on television can be putting men at risk of premature death through heart attacks or strokes. The results of two large studies have recently been released which show that prescription testosterone replacement therapy increases the risk of cardiovascular events.  The FDA has even warned medical providers to carefully consider the risks and evaluate whether the benefits exceed the possible harm that these drugs can do. If Hormone Replacement Therapy for Men is Potentially Dangerous, is it for Women too? This follows a similar discovery about hormone replacement in women.  Women were frequently prescribed hormone replacement or estrogen replacement therapy to combat the effects of falling hormone levels during menopause.  If women could get their hormones replaced, well why not men. When HRT for women was carefully studied, results showed that the risk of heart attacks, blood clots and stroke went up – and it wasn’t protective of cancer.  Now the exact same scenario presents itself. Testosterone replacement treatments are a $multi-billion a year business and many physicians aren’t requiring blood levels to be checked to even verify that testosterone levels are low.  Advertising has made it seem that if a man is tired, has a low libido and is developing a paunch – he must need extra testosterone. In fact, there isn’t any research that shows it will reverse those effects – naturally occurring due to aging and lifestyle.  Rather than going right for the testosterone, most medical practitioners should prescribe a change in lifestyle. Exercise, eating right and sleep hygiene will do more for most men than testosterone replacement alone – especially if he doesn’t have low testosterone.  Improving the health will combat those signs of aging – and protect the cardiovascular system as well.

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