Testosterone is best known as the male sex hormone, but it controls much more than your libido. Low testosterone levels impact your body in a number of ways, reducing your quality of life and potentially shortening your lifespan, to learn more check out our previous blog.
To fully understand the potential benefits of testosterone replacement therapy, it is important to first understand how testosterone, or a lack of it, shapes the male body.
Kicking Off Puberty
While both genders produce small amounts of testosterone, but the hormone first swings into full production as a young man enters puberty. This is when physical characteristics like body hair, a deep voice, and muscles start to develop. Testosterone is also responsible for wide shoulders, strong jawlines, and other structural traits associated with masculinity.
It is normal for different young men to develop at different rates, but significantly delayed puberty may be caused by hypogonadism. Hypogonadism is a disorder where the body fails to produce enough testosterone. It is sometimes related to physical issues in the testes, but it may also stem from the pituitary gland or weight problems. Even ibuprofen is now associated with hypogonadism.
When a teenage boy suffers from hypogonadism, it can impact his development at a critical life stage. For this reason, it is important for parents to monitor their children's growth and take boys to a specialist if they are lagging behind their peers. If low testosterone levels are detected, then a short dose of testosterone therapy may help kick-start natural production.
Protecting Your Cardiovascular Health
Besides your outward appearance, testosterone also plays a role in your internal functions, particularly the functions of the heart. Of course, the relationship between testosterone and heart health is complex and many factors that can impact heart health overall, so blaming any one cause is unrealistic.
What is known, however, is that the increased obesity linked to low testosterone is also associated with cardiovascular disease.
Studies have had mixed results when it comes to the effects of testosterone therapy on the heart. While earlier research pointed to an increased risk of heart attack in certain men after therapy, newer studies have demonstrated no such correlation. Speak to your doctor and therapist before beginning treatment if you currently suffer from heart problems to evaluate your specific case.
Strengthening Your Bones
Both testosterone and estrogen are vital to maintaining adequate bone density. The relationship between the two hormones and how they govern bone strength is still not perfectly understood. What is known is that men with low testosterone levels are more likely to suffer dangerous bone loss or osteoporosis.
As men get older, declining testosterone can become a major safety risk. Falling and fracturing a hip, arm, or another bone becomes more and more dangerous as you age. Maintaining healthy hormone levels despite aging and environmental factors could spare you an extended stay in the hospital later on.
Besides fortifying bones, testosterone is also the hormone responsible for driving red blood cell production in bone marrow. This has an effect on many systems in your body, including respiration, immune strength, and tissue repair. Lowered red blood cell count, or anemia, is a relatively common cause of fatigue in older men.
Testosterone encourages the growth of muscle and suppresses the development of fat. This is why women tend to have higher body fat ratios than men. However, when testosterone is exposed to a certain chemical found in body fat, it can be converted into a type of estrogen. This leads to a vicious cycle of weight gain and decreasing testosterone levels in many men.
Once you start gaining weight, it can seem nearly impossible to reverse the trend on your own. Fatigue, depression, and an inefficient metabolism are all common side-effects of low testosterone. To break out of the cycle, combined weight loss and testosterone therapy is often the most effective solution.
If you have been struggling to lose weight and manage other symptoms associated with low testosterone, contact us at Doctor's Wellness Studio to get started reclaiming your body.