New studies have depicted the link between low levels of testosterone and other health conditions, in men, and how hormone levels are related to the overall health of the individual. Results of the study show that a deficiency in testosterone is linked to several conditions, like obesity, metabolic syndrome, high blood pressure, and diabetes. Even though there is a clear association between the different conditions and low levels of testosterone, replacing the hormone does not cure the situation.
A study conducted in 2,100 men over the age of 45-years-old shows that the risk of having low levels of testosterone was:
- 2.4 times higher for obese patients
- 2.1 times higher for patients with diabetes
- 1.8 times higher for men with high blood pressure
Researchers do not suggest that low levels of testosterone causes any of these medical conditions. More studies are trying to work out the relationship between low testosterone and other medical conditions.
Testosterone helps body tissues to absorb glucose in the presence of insulin. Men with low levels of testosterone are more likely to develop insulin resistance, as the body needs to produce more insulin to keep the blood sugar levels normal. People with low levels of testosterone have a higher risk of developing diabetes.
Some of the short term studies have shown that replacing testosterone helps to control the sugar levels in blood.
There is a very close association between obesity and testosterone. People who are obese are more likely to have low levels of testosterone. On the other hand, men with low levels of testosterone have a higher risk of developing obesity.
The presence of large amounts of fat cells increases the conversion of testosterone to estrogen. This results in the drop of testosterone levels in the blood. Obesity also reduces the levels of the sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG). SHBG carries testosterone in the blood. Thus, lesser amounts of SHBG mean less amounts of testosterone. Weight loss results in an increase of testosterone levels.
Metabolic syndrome refers to the condition characterized by the presence of several conditions, like abnormal cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, waist line obesity, and high blood sugar levels. Metabolic syndrome increases the risk of heart attack and strokes.
Many studies show that people with metabolic syndrome are more likely to develop low levels of testosterone. Replacing testosterone improves blood sugar levels and obesity, but the long-range benefits and risks of this is yet to be known.
Testosterone increases the risk of heart diseases and high blood pressure in men, especially during the young ages, but low levels of testosterone are linked to medical conditions such as obesity, diabetes, and insulin resistance. Each of the conditions increases the cardiovascular risks, including atherosclerosis.
More studies are required to see whether replacing testosterone will protect the heart from a heart attack and other heart conditions.
Some of the other medical conditions associated with low levels of testosterone include:
- Depression – Studies show that people with the lowest levels of testosterone had a two times higher risk of developing depression.
- Erectile dysfunction – This is one of the most common symptoms of low levels of testosterone.
- High blood pressure – People with hypertension are twice as likely to have low levels of testosterone, when compared to others who have normal levels of blood pressure.