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How can low testosterone levels affect a man's health?

Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine
When we're young, men need testosterone for strength (making tackles) and survival (making babies). As men get older, however, the games change, and we need testosterone for other things-namely to maintain things that influence our quality of life. Unfortunately, many men suffer from testosterone deficiency.

When a man is in his twenties, his testosterone levels usually peak at 900 and 1,200 nanograms per deciliter. They decrease after that, which is probably a good thing for the planet at large. A mild decrease in testosterone might not have much of an effect on men, but a true testosterone deficiency--defined by less than 300 nanograms per deciliter-can cause many problems and should be treated.

Most seriously, testosterone deficiency has also been shown to accelerate coronary artery disease-which can be reversed with replenishment of the hormone. Other effects of low testosterone can include drops in energy, muscle strength, and sexual function.

Appropriate testosterone replacement is one option in helping restore libido, erections, and muscle strength, but there's still research that needs to be done to determine whether replacement testosterone has a correlation with prostate cancer (speculation is that it does).
YOU: The Owner's Manual, Updated and Expanded Edition: An Insider's Guide to the Body that Will Make You Healthier and Younger

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.