For Men: Testosterone levels peak in men in early adulthood and begin to decline after the age of 30. Research has long indicated that normal levels (250 to 850 ng/dL) are necessary to maintain good health, and that levels that are too high or too low are linked to coronary heart disease.
Not surprisingly, older men have lower testosterone levels than younger men — as many as 30 percent of men older than 75 have levels that are much lower than normal. Men with very low levels of testosterone not only carry an increased risk of heart disease but also face loss of sexual function, decreased muscle mass, fatigue, and more.
In addition, men who develop anemia because their bone marrow is suppressed for various reasons, such as having congestive heart failure, can benefit from testosterone replacement.
Testosterone supplements can be injected or administered transdermally with the use of a topical gel (once a day) or a patch that remains on the skin. Doses vary, so consult your doctor to determine the correct dosage for you.
However, beware of doctors hawking hormone replacement as an anti-aging “miracle cure.”
For Women: Whether post-menopausal women should receive estrogen replacement therapy is an issue that has seesawed over the years. Years ago, the answer was simple: The answer was yes. Because the risk of heart disease in women rose as their estrogen declined, estrogen replacement seemed the obvious solution.
But then came some large-scale medical studies that cast doubt upon that conclusion. Use of estrogen replacement has dropped off since then. Now, the pendulum seems to be swinging back the other way.
Over the years, as I’ve watched my patients, the ones who seem to do the best are the ones who have well-balanced hormone levels. So, if your estrogen level is low, work with your doctor to weigh the benefits versus your individual risks.
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