Middle-aged men often confront health issues for the first time in their lives. During their 20s, 30s and even 40s, they enjoyed working out without fear of injury, enjoyed a strong libido and kept the weight off with minimal to moderate effort. Then, at some point, the calories stopped burning off so easily. Whereas before they could chug beers and shots, eat plenty of pizza and wings, and party until the wee hours, now they need their eight hours every night and are seriously distressed about a growing belly. Something in them changed, and most of the time, the culprit is lower testosterone.
Men’s testosterone levels peak by the early 20s. The fall from there tends to be gradual, so most men won’t notice any difference in how they feel for many years. By 35 or 40, it’s not uncommon for men to start gaining weight and feeling less energetic. Then, a gradual slow-down in libido usually begins.
Benefits and Risks of Testosterone Therapy
Testosterone therapy provides great benefits to middle-aged men who feel themselves slowing down and fattening up. The increase of testosterone back to their peak levels puts a spring in their step. Provided they exercise and eat right, that extra weight burns off easily, like it did back in college. They have more endurance, allowing them to workout with the vigor they did at the university rec center. Often, middle-aged men who found jogging an effort are suddenly running like they did years before and may even decide to train for a marathon.
They also find it easier to maintain muscle tone, mass and flexibility. Though testosterone therapy won’t eliminate the gray hairs, they like how they look in the mirror. Libido naturally increases, making their love lives better. If they were experiencing a rut after years of marriage, they soon find themselves feeling like newlyweds. With all these benefits, why isn’t every guy taking testosterone supplements?
According to WebMD, high testosterone levels may contribute to heart disease. Studies indicate that men with high levels of testosterone have a sharply higher risk of heart disease, including heart attacks and strokes, than men with normal testosterone levels. For obvious reasons, men with normal testosterone levels would not want to boost their levels and increase their risk of heart disease. Also, when testosterone levels are normal, increasing the levels provides no benefit. Rather, increasing testosterone levels provides benefits when men are experiencing andropause, which occurs after testosterone levels fall below the normal, healthy range.
Andropause is what causes symptoms like weight gain, loss of muscle mass, loss of energy and a decline in libido. It also causes an increase in heart disease. In fact, the danger of heart disease is higher in men with andopause than in men with naturally high testosterone.
As illustrated in a study conducted by the University of Finland, the increased risk of atherosclerosis from andropause was eliminated when hormone therapy was employed. The testosterone replacement therapy returned the study subject’s testosterone levels back to the normal range. These men experienced a reversal of andropause symptoms, such as weight gain and low energy, and increased their protection against heart disease.
An additional study by the European Heart Journal, which tracked heart disease and testosterone levels in 83,000 men treated by the Veterans Administration, indicated that men who received testosterone treatment that brought their testosterone levels from low to normal benefitted from lower rates of heart disease. Whereas it was once thought that estrogen protected the heart and testosterone was damaging, that conclusion no longer appears to be true. Testosterone levels in the normal range benefit heart health. Testosterone levels that are too high or too low can increase the risk of heart disease.
The Right Treatment is Crucial
Before taking testosterone supplements, it’s important to consult with your doctor. Andropause symptoms can be caused by other factors, so a test must be performed to verify the presence of low testosterone before starting testosterone treatment. Also, if other factors are involved, it’s important for the doctor to treat those other conditions.
When andropause is responsible for a lower quality of life, testosterone treatment can turn things around. The right level of supplementation, rather being bad for heart health, actually protects the cardiovascular health of middle-aged men. Excessive T-supplementation should always be avoided. It can lead to many undesirable effects, including inthan creased risk of heart disease. If you are experiencing symptoms of low-T, consult your doctor today.