What Is Testosterone?

Testosterone is a hormone produced primarily in the testicles of men. Testosterone is a key player in the development of reproductive tissues but also affects sexual function, red blood cell production, fat stores and muscle mass. The levels of testosterone fluctuate throughout the day and are best representative early in the morning.

What Diseases/Conditions is Testosterone Linked To?

Research into the relationship between low or high testosterone and certain health conditions like metabolic syndrome, heart disease and obesity is ongoing.

Low testosterone may cause changes in energy levels, loss of sexual interest, loss of bone density, increased fat stores and loss of muscle mass, mood and cognition changes.

It is important to know that low testosterone levels are often associated with medical conditions such as liver and kidney disease, depression, sleep apnea, opiate and alcohol use, thyroid disorders, diabetes and obesity. It is important to be screened for these and other conditions before being diagnoses with testosterone deficiency or “low T”.

High testosterone levels may be due to over-supplementation, adrenal or pituitary gland abnormalities and some cancers.

Symptoms of Low

Symptoms of low testosterone:

  • Decreased sex drive
  • Decreased bone density
  • Depression
  • Low energy
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Thinning hair
  • Obesity/an apple-shaped body
  • Thinning hair

High testosterone levels from over-supplementations may cause enlargement of the prostate, urinary obstruction, elevated prostate levels, worsening sleep apnea, and elevated red blood cell counts. It may be associated with increased heart disease and progression of prostate cancer.

Who May Want to Have Their Testosterone Tested?

If you are experiencing any of the following conditions, you may want to have your levels tested:

  • An apple-shaped body
  • Low energy
  • Depression
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Thinning hair
  • Changes in sex drive
  • Low bone density
  • High or low red blood cell count

If you have an abnormal result:

Always seek the advice of your doctor if you have questions about your results.

Your medical provider should consider screening for other conditions that are associated with a low blood testosterone. Two additional testosterone levels should be performed between 8-10am to confirm a low level. A low testosterone test does not necessarily mean any treatment or supplementation is indicated.

Risk of supplementation should be reviewed with your health care provider. Risks include prostate enlargement and possible urinary obstruction, elevated prostate levels, worsening sleep apnea and elevated red blood cells which could lead to clots or stokes.