Why You Should be Listening to Your Body as You Get Older
If you’re approaching older age as a male, you may start to hear your peers express worry about low testosterone levels. It’s tough to find a concrete level — it presents problems for some men while others aren’t as affected by a lower testosterone level. Naturally, the extent to which your T levels drop is also the extent to which you’ll feel the symptoms of lower testosterone. (Testosterone is often abbreviated as simply “T.”) Some common questions about lower testosterone levels include:
- Does low T affect my concentration?
- Does low testosterone affect my sex life?
- Does low T affect weight gain?
If you’re concerned, you should definitely go speak with your doctor about any concerns you have and find out what steps you can take to remedy the situation. However, there are some basic things you should know about low testosterone levels to have that conversation with your doctor.
What’s Testosterone Exactly and What Does it Do?
Most people know testosterone as the male sex hormone that makes a man’s voice deeper, gives him facial hair, increased muscle mass, and directs his sex drive. It plays an important function in developing sperm and can influence your bone and muscle mass, how the fat in your body is stored and processed, and even how many red blood cells you’re producing. In some cases, much like estrogen, testosterone can even impact a man’s mood. If you’re experiencing lower T levels, you may feel more moody, notice a weight gain and a loss in your muscle mass, and a decreased sex drive.
Who’s at Risk For Lower T Levels?
Testosterone levels start naturally dropping off around age 30, but there can be other factors that contribute to lower T levels. For example, anyone who’s had chemotherapy or suffers from a chronic disease like AIDS or alcoholism can be more at risk for lower T levels. If you start noticing symptoms like those mentioned above, you can get a simple blood test to see if your T levels have been dropping. The National Institute of Health suggests that the average range of testosterone levels for men is between 300 and 1,00 ng/dL, although that can differ depending on many different factors. If they are indeed dropping, it’s a good opportunity to ask your doctor those questions, such as: “Does low T affect my concentration?” or “Will testosterone treatment increase my libido?” Your doctor may also check to see if your pituitary gland is functioning correctly, since that controls the signal sent to your testicles that stimulates T production.
What Can I Do About Lower T Levels?
If you’re concerned about key questions, like “Does low T affect my concentration?” or how low T will affect your sex life, your doctor may be able to reassure you by suggesting hormone therapy. If that leads to yet another question: “How safe is testosterone therapy?” read on. You should only be getting T therapy if your low testosterone levels are affecting your quality or life or impacting your health — remember that your T naturally decreases as you get older. There have been no significant averse affects to T therapy mentally, emotionally, or physically. Indeed, maintaining your testosterone level may actually impact your lifespan — studies show there’s a connection between low testosterone levels and a shorter life expectancy. Your sex drive may get stronger and you may also regain some of your muscle mass.
You can get T therapy a few ways — there are shots of T you can take, as well as by mouth or by patches administered to the skin, if you’re not a huge fan of shots! Around 90% of men who have low T levels never get any treatment — and if you’re among those who should be, it’s important to pay attention to your body. This is also something that is often covered under insurance — most clinics or physicians who conduct T therapy offer payment plans and take insurance.
Remember if you’re worried about questions like, “Does low T affect my concentration” or “Does low testosterone affect my sleep?” you should always consult with your doctor first.