Testosterone production can be lowered by advancing age and certain conditions that affect the testicles or pituitary or hypothalamus glands in the brain. Testosterone deficiency can affect more than just sexual appearance and function.
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According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, four to five million U.S. men may have testosterone deficiency, but only 5 per cent are receiving treatment.
Low testosterone levels can lead to a decreased sex drive and erectile dysfunction in adult men. Younger men may experience less body and facial hair growth. Normal deepening of the voice and development of the muscles and the genitals may also be affected.
Testosterone deficiency can result in a lack of energy and increase your risks of heart disease, diabetes mellitus, fatty liver and stroke by increasing abdominal fat, triglycerides, serum glucose and blood pressure. You may also become depressed, irritable, fatigued or unable to concentrate. You may lose bone density.
Ask your doctor for a blood test to check your levels if you have symptoms of testosterone deficiency. If necessary, get a referral to a specialist, such as a urologist or endocrinologist.
Discuss testosterone-replacement therapy with your doctor. You may need it for the long term. It's available in a patch, an injection or a gel.
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