It's more common than you think. Low testosterone affects both men and women.
Both sexes also experience a lack of energy and a decrease in bone density and muscle mass.
It is not unusual for women to seek help with a doctor, but it is for men.
Men generally start to lose testosterone after the age of 40, as our bodies produce less and less every year.
About 95 percent of men with low T go untreated. Now, research has found that can have deadly consequences.
“I knew there was something wrong. I just couldn't put a finger on what it was,” said Jon Yaskowitz of Glendale. He has been struggling with low levels of testosterone for almost 20 years.
Jon experienced typical symptoms like fatigue, sadness and a general lack of energy.
“It was getting incredibly difficult to do normal activities that I used to do,” said Jon.
Other symptoms include a decrease in physical strength, loss of bone density, decreased sex drive, and erectile dysfunction or ED.
ED may be the number one reason why many men don't seek medical help, according to Dr. Jon Agins, Board-Certified Urologist.
“I believe there is a stigma attached to it,” said Dr. Agins.
He said that stigma might discourage men from going to the doctor.
Many men see a doctor at the urging of their spouse or girlfriend. Some even accompany the men to the doctor.
“We don't always know how it is affecting us, but our partners do,” said Dr. Agins. “They know us a lot better than we know ourselves.”
Sexual problems induced by low T can lead to a broken heart -- literally.
“This is a major issue, and it is not just about sex drive and erections,” said Dr. Agins.
The newest research shows men with ED are at an increased risk for a fatal heart attack or stroke in just three years from the onset.
“Erectile dysfunction is a vascular disease. It is a circulation disorder, so if you are not getting good blood flow into the penis, you're not going to get good blood flow into your heart, you are not going to get good blood flow to your brain,” said Dr. Agins.
The Testosterone Controversy
In the past, there have been conflicting studies on testosterone therapy. Trials had to be halted after subjects suffered heart attacks. One person died.
But new studies on low T therapy reveal those taking larger amounts showed great improvement and had a much lower risk of cardiovascular events.
Low T Health Issues
But, low T is linked to several other major health problems.
“We want to prevent the complications of low testosterone such as diabetes and obesity and hip fractures and card vascular disease, said Dr. Agins.
He said the most common complication is diabetes. Men with low T are four times as likely to get diabetes. Hip fractures also have high numbers. 70 percent of men with the fractures have low T and a 20 percent mortality rate.
Jon Yaskowitz caught it early in life. He is only 41 years old. He's been taking testosterone for six months.
“It was the best thing I ever did.”
He said he feels, “100 percent better. I feel like I am 18, 19 again.”
“We are improving the quality of life,” said Dr. Agins. “We have seen relationships break up over these issues, and all they needed was to have somebody diagnose it and treat it.”
You can buy testosterone supplements at most drugs stores. They are not the same as the as prescription medication.
Since the level of the hormone is critical, you're better off under the care of a physician. Dr. Agins said he hasn’t seen any research on testosterone supplements.
If you are still not sure you or someone you know suffers from low T, you can take a simple quiz on the website, IsItLowT.com .