It is difficult to get an up to date and accurate number of the percentage of men who suffer from testosterone deficiency. Data from 2007, suggested that 1 in 4 men in their 30’s suffer from testosterone deficiency. However, hopefully, as we are educated on testosterone and its importance, as more men are evaluated for testosterone deficiency, there will be a rise in incidence that lends solely from more men getting tested and more accurate portrayal of the disease. Part of the difficulty is that symptoms can be subtle and many men are unaware or do not have their testosterone levels checked to determine, they are deficient. Also, the incidence increases with age, meaning the percentage of men suffering from testosterone deficiency in their 40’s is different, typically lower, from the number in their 70’s. Another factor inhibiting a diagnosis of testosterone deficiency is the definition of “deficient.” I am speaking broadly because determined “normal” ranges vary based on the lab evaluating the testosterone level. But generally speaking “normal” testosterone ranges from 250-1000 ng/dL. That is a pretty vast range of “normal.” The conversation that I have with my patients is that just because your testosterone level falls in the “normal” range does not make it OPTIMAL. Optimal for their level of function and desired level of LIFE.
So what are some of the symptoms that you should be looking for as possible signs that you are experiencing testosterone deficiency? As I eluded to earlier they can be vague and easy to rationalize blame elsewhere. Fatigue is one of the most common symptoms exhibited. The feeling that there is no gas left in the tank by the end of a workday, just let me make it home so that I can sit and relax. Hand in hand with fatigue is a lack of motivation for anything above beyond such as exercise, time with your significant other, playing with your kids, your favorite hobbies, and no drive or push at work. Sleep can be very restless with difficulties both falling and staying asleep, only contributing further to the exhaustion. Speaking of motivation and drive, sexual desire or interest also known as libido can decline which can cause tension with your significant other and frustrate you. Erection strength and endurance, as well as capability, can also be impacted.
With the decrease in activity and regular exercise, loss of muscle tone and strength can occur as well as joint pain. Testosterone is a natural anti-inflammatory, hence when it is low-joint pain increases. Together these can all contribute to weight gain, more common around the midsection. And the frustrating part, IT WON’T GO ANYWHERE. Regardless of how much activity you do or do not get and what you do or do not eat. Another common symptom is “brain fog,” that lack of focus and concentration or just feeling like life is existing in a fog. Some symptoms many may not realize are related to testosterone are mood related. As testosterone levels decrease, many men will experience an increase in anxiety levels and a more depressed mood. Often this is perpetuated by the frustration of just not feeling like oneself. It is also common to see an increase in being moody, crabby and irritable.
Any of this sound familiar? Or sound like you? Maybe the more important question is what are you waiting for? If you haven’t had your testosterone levels checked, you owe it to yourself to find out if you are deficient. No more excuses, the answer could be as simple as low testosterone. And remember, our hormone levels don’t decline because we age, we age because our hormone levels fall…get back the fountain of you and halt the aging process NOW.