Recognizing and preventing men’s health problems is not just a man’s issue. Because of its impact on wives, mothers, daughters, and sisters, men’s health is truly a family issue. Knowing that on average, men smoke more, drink more, see doctors less, and die five years sooner than women, we want to encourage men to take care of their health. Many of the major health problems that men face, such as colon cancer and heart disease, have better outcomes with early diagnosis and treatment. We encourage all men (and women!) to schedule regular wellness checkups and know your cholesterol, blood pressure, and glucose levels.
Another important value that is not always measured is testosterone (“free” testosterone indicates the bioactive form). “Low T” or testosterone deficiency is strongly associated with common medical conditions including metabolic syndrome, obesity, diabetes, hypertension and atherosclerosis; as well as elevations in triglycerides (TGs), total cholesterol (TC), and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C). Other signs and symptoms include:
- Diminished sex drive and sense of vitality
- Erectile dysfunction
- Reduced muscle mass and bone density
- Increased fat mass
Evidence indicates that appropriate therapy can relieve or partially reverse the progression of these problems in testosterone-deficient men. Compounded transdermal therapy facilitates adequate absorption of testosterone to mimic the normal daily production. Testosterone can also be administered as a sublingual drop or a lozenge that dissolves in the mouth. Compounded preparations can be very advantageous because customized therapies increase compliance.
The presence of prostate or breast cancer is an absolute contraindication for testosterone replacement therapy, or use of other hormones in this class, known as androgens. Guidelines recommend that testosterone therapy should not be started in older men with PSA serum levels above the normal range. Testosterone should be used with caution in men with severe heart, kidney or liver disease, increased red blood cell counts, and sleep apnea.
A healthy lifestyle is associated with higher hormone levels, and higher hormone levels seem to induce a more active, healthier lifestyle. For optimal results, it is vital that hormone replacement therapy be combined with adequate exercise, proper nutrition, weight management and treatment of other health problems.