Studies have shown that men over the age of 65 may benefit from taking the hormone testosterone. According to Dr. Mirkin.com studies have shown that testosterone increases bone density, raises hemoglobin levels in men with anemia, and improves sexual function. Reviews were mixed on whether testosterone improved heart health, however.
According to a study published in JAMA, testosterone significantly increased plaque in the arteries that lead to the heart. However, another study found that using testosterone gel for three years reduced the rate of heart attacks in men by 25%.
Dr. David B. Samadi, a board-certified urologist, a Newsmax contributor, the director of Men’s Health and Urologic Oncology at St. Francis Hospital in Roselyn, New York, and the author of ''The Ultimate MANual: Dr. Samadi's Guide to Men's Health and Wellness,'' tells Newsmax that the hormone is quite often overused because of its “macho man” association.
“Of course, testosterone is a necessary and potent chemical messenger that indeed directly influences many physiological processes in a man’s body,” Samadi explains. “Testosterone influences men’s sex drive, bone mass, fat distribution, and muscle mass and strength, among other things. What man doesn’t want to look strong, muscular, and ready for sex at the drop of a hat?”
But the expert warns that advertisers understand this and play upon this notion by touting unproven products.
“I remember a 2014 Time magazine cover story titled, “Manopause” that featured a provocative cover and delved into the clever marketing and tons of money spent into making men believe that more testosterone is their quick fix and best remedy for remaining youthful and virile.”
That’s why on any given day of the year, you see or hear commercials hawking a testosterone supplement promising to bring back men’s youthful vigor, says Samadi.
“As a urologist and prostate cancer surgeon, my advice to men is stay away from any spa, TV ads or any nonmedical person selling supplements for low T,” he says. “Testing testosterone and getting an accurate measurement can be tricky since levels fluctuate during the day. Only a doctor should be checking a man’s testosterone levels. Testosterone levels should be checked before 9:00 a.m. when levels are their highest. Also, two tests are necessary to check for accuracy.”
Samadi says that testosterone deficiency may or may not have symptoms.
“But I can tell you, men with low T are like a car that’s run out of gas – they may be depressed, lack energy, motivation, and self-confidence, have reduced muscle mass and increased fat mass, loss of body hair, hot flashes, fewer spontaneous erections or difficulty sustaining erections, and have little interest in sex,” he adds.
For any man who does have low testosterone, the benefits of hormone replacement therapy usually outweigh the risk., advises the expert. “When men are selected correctly for using this therapy, it can be very helpful. Testosterone therapy for these men can help maintain muscle mass, slow osteoporosis, boost energy and stamina, and bring back their love life. But, I stress, it’s critical these men must be under surveillance with their doctor. Testosterone levels must be checked regularly as one possible side effect of testosterone therapy is it could stimulate the growth of prostate cancer cells.”
Men who think they have low T, should talk to their doctor, get tested, and if therapy is needed, follow-up with their doctor periodically to have testosterone levels checked making sure the therapy is not causing any health problems, says Samadi.
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