Goals of Testosterone Replacement Therapy
Testosterone Replacement Therapy for men with low testosterone levels may produce a wide range of benefits including:
- Improvement in libido and sexual function
- Increased muscle mass and body composition
- Increased strength and stature
- Preservation of bone mass
- Improvement in mood and depression
- Enhanced cognition, concentration and memory
- Improvement in sleep and quality of life
- Possible decrease in cardiovascular risk
Testosterone replacement can also improve:
Osteoporosis - Gradual loss of testosterone is one of the major causes of osteoporosis in elderly men. In one study, 59% of men with hip fracture had low teststerone, compared with 18% of controls. Fracture occurs at a later age in men than women because men's bones are denser at baseline. Several studies have reported beneficial effects of testosterone therapy on bone in older men, showing an increase in BMD (bone mineral density) and slowing of bone degeneration.
Cardiovascular disease - Risk is associated with low serum total testosterone levels, according to most reports. A number of studies have demonstrated that testosterone minimizes several important risk factors for heart attack, including:
- reducing cholesterol and triglycerides
- reducing blood glucose levels
- decreasing visceral fat mass
- normalizing blood clotting
The degree of atherosclerotic disease increases significantly with declining levels of free testosterone. Visceral fat accumulation is connected with increased vascular risk, and studies have shown that androgen administration can decrease this fat accumulation.
Diabetes - Low testosterone levels are associated with an increase in the risk for developing type 2 diabetes mellitus and metabolic syndrome.
Depression - Depression is more common when levels of bioavailable testosterone are low; perhaps because an associated decrease in sexual function results in depression, irritability, and mood swings. In a study which examined the association between levels of sex hormones and depressed mood in 856 men ages 50-89, bioavailable testosterone levels were 17% lower for depressed men. The results suggest that testosterone treatment may elevate depressed mood in older men who have lower levels of bioavailable testosterone.
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