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9 September 2007
Testosterone Deficiency Relatively Rare, But Will Rise Dramatically
by George Atkinson

Only 6 percent of the male population actually suffers from low testosterone accompanied by clinical symptoms like low libido and erectile dysfunction, a new study from the New England Research Institutes has found. But the researchers involved said that affliction rates rise substantially with age. "Deficiency" in the study was defined as low total and free testosterone plus the presence of low libido, erectile dysfunction, osteoporosis or facture, or two or more of the following symptoms: sleep disturbance, depressed mood, lethargy, or diminished physical performance.

Free testosterone is the amount of the hormone unbound that is "free" to work inside the body. "Low levels of testosterone impact many aspects of male physiology," said Andre B. Araujo, lead author of the study. "This is particularly significant because the ongoing aging of the U.S. male population is likely to cause the number of men suffering from androgen deficiency to increase appreciably."

The study tracked subjects between the ages of 30-79 and compiled complete data on factors such as testosterone, symptoms of hormone deficiency, and medications that may impact sex hormone levels. Among all men in the study, approximately 24 percent had low total testosterone and 11 percent had low levels of free testosterone. Interestingly, while low testosterone levels were associated with symptoms, many men with low testosterone levels were asymptomatic (e.g., among men aged 50 years and older 48 percent were asymptomatic).

"Since these men would not likely come to clinical attention," said Araujo, "it may be important to determine whether there are clinical risks to missing these asymptomatic men with low testosterone levels." Overall, only 6 percent of men in the study had symptomatic androgen deficiency. For those men in the upper range of ages in the study (70 years or older), however, the percentage increased to 18 percent.

Interestingly, the researchers predicted that by the year 2025 there may be as many as 6.5 million American men 30-79 years of age with symptomatic androgen deficiency, an increase of 38 percent from year 2000 population estimates.

Related articles:
Testosterone And Baldness
Testosterone Therapy For Older Men
Testosterone The Key To Embryo Sex Selection?
Alcohol May Boost Testosterone
Testosterone Therapy Bereft Of Supportive Evidence

Source: Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism

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