Testosterone Deficiency-The Unknown Public Health Threat

It is difficult to believe that Testosterone Deficiency is a major public health problem for me.  Rather than introduce the topic in a traditional way I figure the best way to capture the attention of some people is to lead with a funny but true medical fact that is sure to be a hit around water coolers and places men work out and hang out.  After that I will  just to hit readers with some not so fun facts:

Comic Relief though True Story

Actually, the best way to determine the overall health of a man is to check the nature and quality of his erection. No joke. If your erection is about as solid and strong as in earlier years you are in good shape. If you are having a more difficult time getting and sustaining an erection or it’s not as solid and strong and all the rest…………..you’ve got to get back to eating and sleeping better, getting exercise, cut out bad habits, etc. so you can get back up to your fighting form.

Doctors have discovered that cardiovascular disease can be predicted by the presence of erectile dysfunction. It is well known that the purpose of the heart is to pump blood. The heart pumps blood to all the vital organs and when it comes to sexual intimacy for men, the penis is the most vital organ.

So, hard to believe but your penis can predict near as good as most any medical tests what’s up with cardiovascular disease, diabetes; cholesterol and hypertension, etc.

American men have an approximately 50% chance of dying of cardiovascular disease; half of those men will die suddenly without any prior warning. Until recently, we didn’t know the signs or symptoms that were predictive of silent heart disease. But today, we know that men who cannot maintain an erection sufficient for penetration may have significant underlying cardiovascular disease.

Research studies consistently indicate that the inability to maintain an erection is the earliest symptom of silent heart disease. Therefore, the loss of erections is a harbinger of subsequent cardiovascular disease and demands a comprehensive cardiovascular workup. And probably treatment for low T.

Not So Fun Facts

* 50 % of men with men with diabetes have low T

* A very high percentage of depressed men have low T

* depressed men treated for low T reported major improvement as compared to those treated with antidepressants or placebos

* the general public knows nothing about any of the above but has negative attitudes towards T which they mistakenly associate with steroids

* a majority of doctors know virtually nothing about the problems associated with low T

* the pharmaceutical companies that make the medicines to treat low T don’t have enough money to launch public health campaigns to tout their medicines…..even though doing so would make them billions and billions of dollars

* The National Institute of Health just denied a request for funding to conduct definitive prospective research studies to establish to confirm or dis confirm the findings of the rapidly accumulating but less robust scientific research done so far

* To my knowledge there isn’t a single organization or institution with the money or clout to launch a public campaign to heighten awareness to this major epidemic

A few more unsettling facts:

More than one third of all men over 40 have medically significant lowed levels of Testosterone, measurable via a simple blood test, that substantially increases their risk of premature death and an extraordinary number of serious and debilitating medical conditions—aka feeling lousy most of the time till they die, probably leading their family and friends to suffer along with them.

Men may not live as long if they have low testosterone, regardless of their age, according to a new study to be presented at The Endocrine Society’s 90th Annual Meeting in San Francisco.The new study, from Germany, adds to the scientific evidence linking deficiency of this sex hormone with increased death from all causes over time—so-called “all-cause mortality.”

A related study showed that veterans with clinically significant low T levels had 75 % higher mortality rates over a 5 year period as compared to vets with T levels in a normal range. There are a fair number of studies quite similar to the two just mentioned.

Curiously, the levels of T in all men in industrialized countries have shown rather dramatic drops over the past 25 years. Right now public health experts can only offer a menu of possible explanations. However, suffice to say they are more than a little bit alarmed by this fact.

So what are some of the symptoms of and medical conditions with medically significant reduced T levels in men:

Lack of vitality and energy
Muscle and joint pain
Migraine headaches
Sleep disturbances
Poor memory
Alcohol intolerance
Inability to cope with stress
Low sex drive
Low body temperature
Weight gain
Loss of muscle
heart attacks,
increased cholesterol and other lipids
loss of zest for life,
mental dullness,
decreased muscle mass,
voice changes
relationship problems
metabolic syndrome

So what can you do about it? It’s very simple
A) If you are a man:

1) Visit Men’s Boston Health to take a simple inventory to determine if you have enough symptoms to warrant a visit to your physician;
2) Print out some information from their site;
.3) Schedule an appointment with your family doctor, show him the information, and request blood work:
A) Total T
B) Free T
C) PSA (routine check to make sure you don’t have prostate cancer)

B) If you are a woman:

1) Follow steps above

2) Ask, cajole, bribe, promise whatever it takes so the man in your life sees the physician–go with him if he’ll let you

3) Make sure he gets blood work done and schedules follow-up appointment with doctor

4) Make sure he follows through with the treatment and punish him any way you like if he doesn’t comply………………….

What does the treatment involve?

Could be a few options. Probably you just rub some gel or cream on your stomach or upper arm each morning….takes less than a minute. Alternatively you could get testosterone shots about every 4-6 weeks. You will  have more fun than you’ve had in a while.

What about risks and side effects?

Hardly worth covering. I’ve had none. Maybe a little rash or acne………….lots more sexual energy and all the rest

Closing Thoughts:

It seems pretty obvious that this kind of information is worth passing on to other people. Maybe some of the humorous aspects will get people’s attention long enough to slip in the idea to check out the possibility low T might be worth looking into. It matters.

Listen, I limped along feeling very lousy for a good two years before I got blood-work done to confirm my hunch. I actually shed a few tears a few weeks after starting the medicine that got me to feeling better than I ever remembered feeling.

Truth be told, I feel luckier than Lazarus. I know there are millions of men in the USA alone going through needless suffering–not to mention the stress experienced by their families and friends and dogs. We aren’t talking about saving the world or bringing world peace. It’s just about getting word out to a few people. It’s the small things that matter in the end. WTF…………


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