Almost everyone uses medications to prevent or treat illness, but they can cause significant issues if they’re not correctly stored, prescribed, administered or monitored. Because medication safety is a global health concern, the World Health Organization (WHO) has announced that the 2022 theme for World Patient Safety Day is Medication Without Harm.
Low testosterone—otherwise known as male hypogonadism or Low T—is exactly what it sounds like: when the male reproductive glands, the testes, don’t produce a sufficient amount of testosterone. But to understand how Low T impacts the body, it’s important to know exactly what testosterone does.
What is Low Testosterone?
The primary sex hormone in men, testosterone, governs several bodily processes, such as muscle size and strength, bone density, facial and body hair, sex drive and sperm production. Testosterone levels decline with age; however, the level may drop too low due to certain conditions or lifestyle factors.
“Low T can be caused by injury, chemotherapy, alcohol abuse, obesity or trauma, just to name a few,” said Victor Ukwu, M.D., Primary Care Physician at Inspira Medical Group Primary Care Haddon Township. “If you’re experiencing low testosterone, know that you are in good company: 40% of men over the age of 45 have low testosterone.”
When left untreated, low testosterone has the potential to cause long-term health risks like heart disease and osteoporosis. Talk to your health care provider if you are experiencing symptoms such as:
- Thinning body hair
- Difficulty concentrating
- Feeling weak
- Low sex drive
- Chronic muscle weakness
Diagnosing and Treating Low T
Diagnosing Low T involves completing a few blood tests to measure the amount of testosterone in the body. Once given a proper diagnosis, you can develop a care plan that fits best to your lifestyle.
“Treating low testosterone is different for every patient. Where more comprehensive treatment includes skin patches, gels, oral therapies, injections and testosterone replacement therapy, we recommend starting Low T treatment more conservatively with lifestyle changes,” said Dr. Ukwu. “The goal of Low T treatment is to normalize testosterone production. And when beginning treatment, the best thing to do is eat a healthy diet, exercise regularly and manage your weight.”
The best Low T treatment is the one you and your health care team create together. That way, you can understand the benefits and risks of all of your treatment options. In the meantime, here are a few ways to get started on your Low T treatment journey:
- Implement a daily exercise routine
- Drink a glass of water before every meal
- Wake up and go to sleep at the same time every day
- Keep a list of your symptoms to take to your health care provider