Over the last few years, it seems like everyone is talking about Low-T, or low Testosterone. Recently we heard it might not be as safe as we once thought? Dr. Justin Puckett, from Complete Family Medicine, stopped by the set of Good Morning Heartland to break it down for us. WATCH VIDEO ABOVE to learn more.
Question: Tell us a little about Testosterone and what causes low T?
Answer: Testosterone is a hormone produced primarily in the testicles. Testosterone helps maintain men's: (slide please)
Hypogonadism is a disease in which the body is unable to produce normal amounts of testosterone due to a problem with the testicles or with the pituitary gland that controls the testicles. Testosterone replacement therapy can improve the signs and symptoms of low testosterone in these men. Doctors may prescribe testosterone as injections, pellets, patches or gels.
Question: What happens to testosterone levels with age?
Answer: Testosterone peaks during adolescence and early adulthood. As you get older, your testosterone level gradually declines â?? typically about 1 percent a year after age 30. It is important to determine in older men if a low testosterone level is simply due to the decline of normal aging or if it is due to a disease (hypogonadism).
Question: Does a naturally declining testosterone level cause the signs and symptoms of aging?
Answer: Not necessarily. Men can experience many signs and symptoms as they age, and some may occur as a result of lower testosterone levels.
It's important to note that some of these signs and symptoms are a normal part of aging. Others can be caused by various underlying factors, including medication side effects, thyroid problems, depression and excessive alcohol use. A blood test is the only way to diagnose a low testosterone level.
Question: Can testosterone therapy promote youth and vitality?
Answer: Testosterone therapy can help reverse the effects of hypogonadism, but it's unclear whether testosterone therapy would have any benefit for older men who are otherwise healthy.
Although some men believe that taking testosterone medications may help them feel younger and more vigorous as they age, few rigorous studies have examined testosterone therapy in men who have healthy testosterone levels â?? and some small studies have revealed mixed results. For example, in one study healthy men who took testosterone medications increased muscle mass but didn't gain strength.
Question: What are the risks of testosterone therapy for normal aging?
Answer: Testosterone therapy has various risks. For example, testosterone therapy may:
Question: So what is your advice to your patients about Low-T?
Only check levels when symptoms are significant and would require treatment
Understand it is a relatively understudied treatment
Does have risks, uncertain about heart risk
It is a personal decision, risks vs. benefits
If someone does opt for treatment and they notice no benefits, I suggest stopping the medication.
Discuss the issue with your doctor.
Complete Family Medicine
Justin Puckett, DO
1611 S. Baltimore
Kirksville, MO. 63501