What Men Need to Know About Testosterone Therapy
Testosterone is a naturally occurring hormone in your body. Both men and women have testosterone, however, men’s levels are generally much higher. It is responsible for or contributes to the growth of male sex organs, development of facial hair, muscle mass, strength, fat distribution, sex drive, sexual function, bone strength and mood/energy levels.
There is much debate as to what a “normal” testosterone level is, however, the National Institutes of Health indicate that readings between 300 and 1,000 ng/dL would be considered normal. These levels are not broken down by age, therefore, normal for an 80 year old man and a 30 year old man might vary.
Testosterone levels are measured with a blood test.Testosterone levels tend to be highest during the morning hours, therefore it is recommended that the blood test is done between 7:00 A.M. and 10:00 A.M. Because testosterone levels naturally fluctuate, some doctors request that two tests be done on separate days to get more accurate results.
If you have low testosterone levels (often called “low T”), receiving supplemental testosterone will raise the levels to within normal ranges. This can help increase muscle mass, reduce body fat and increase bone density. Some studies have shown testosterone therapy can help with weight loss.
Some studies have shown that testosterone therapy can increase the risk of heart problems. One study showed a 20 percent increase in heart attacks in those who have a heart condition. Other studies have shown an increase in prostate cancer, however, other studies have not found the same results. Overall, the long-term risks of testosterone therapy have not been well studied.