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House Calls: Hypotestosteronism

Hypotestosteronism or low T is a medical condition which is caused by low testosterone.

Testosterone is a hormone produced by the testicles and is responsible for male sexual characteristics. Testosterone is important because it maintains muscle, produces red blood cells, helps with bone growth, improves sexual function and gives a male an overall sense of well- being.

As a man ages, his testosterone level declines. This decline usually starts around age 30.

There are many causes of low testosterone. These include injury or infection of the testicles, chemotherapy or radiation, sarcoidosis, chronic kidney failure, liver cirrhosis, alcoholism, obesity, too much iron in the blood and some genetic abnormalities.

Without testosterone a man can lose his sex drive, may feel depressed or fatigued, and may have difficulty with concentration. Low testosterone can cause decrease in muscle mass and loss of hair. It can cause increase in cholesterol levels, anemia, and osteoporosis. Low T can also cause erectile dysfunction.

To determine if you have low T your doctor will ask you a series of questions and will usually draw a blood sample. If your doctor determines that you have low T there are many ways to treat it. Monthly shots, testosterone patches or gel may be prescribed if you have low T.

A routine blood test after introduction of the medicines will be done to determine if you are getting the right dose of medicines. Men who have prostate or breast cancer should not get testosterone medicines. Also men who are at high risk for heart disease should avoid treatment.

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