As men age, we tend to lose some of the things that we think make us men in the first place. You might be a little too lethargic to play flag football, you might gain a few extra pounds extra quickly after that milkshake, and you might be a little limp… in an important area. But that doesn’t mean you’re in desperate need of a Testosterone smoothie; it probably just means you’re aging gracefully.
As we observe Men’s Health Week
this week (June 11-17), let’s take a look at testosterone therapy, and its potentially harmful effects.
In record numbers, American guys are turning to testosterone as a way to fight what they perceive as “Low T” – or the dwindling of a natural level of testosterone. They think the big T will help to boost their sex drive
, increase the pep in their step, and hopefully even erase any erectile issues. What they don’t understand is that they might just be fighting an imaginary battle, expanding on an already massive prescription hormone market.
According to IMS Health, Inc., since 2008, annual sales of these drugs have doubled; even reaching $1.6 billion last year. The projection is that they will land somewhere around $5 billion by 2017, and that doesn’t even include supplements that are purchased over the counter or online. But the dramatic increase could also bring on side effects including blood clots and infertility, and might be completely unnecessary. After all, like Michael Jackson said: it’s human nature.
When they hit the magic age of 30, men start to lose their testosterone level gradually
. You drop about one percent a year, naturally, which shouldn’t cause any symptoms of aging that wouldn’t be present anyway. And if your situation is getting worse, which is certainly possible, it’s often something that can be corrected with lifestyle changes. Basically, trade in the supplements for a healthier life, and enjoy the rewards.
If you can lose a few of the pounds you gained since college and get into a regular exercise program
, you can have a very similar effect to what would be expected from added testosterone. It can add to your metabolism and sexual drive, while having the unusual side effect of lowering your chances of heart disease and cancer.
That’s a much better option than blood clots and infertility, if you ask me.
But what happens if you’re actually suffering from a diagnosable low T problem? Perhaps hormone therapy is actually the best course of action; but even at that, it’s only for those with dire cases. According to the National Institutes of Health, the range for “normal” testosterone in a healthy male is 300 to 1,200 nanograms per deciliter. But some men start therapy for any number that dips below 600, ignoring the links that have been drawn to liver damage when the supplements are metabolized.
The most important thing you can do is look for information and options. Joshua Gizersky, founder of Vitality Logix, a New York wellness center specializing in aging, says the key is proper diagnosis and judicious replacement. You can’t go into a GNC or CVS Pharmacy and expect answers; you have to go to someone with a certain knowledge of human physiology.
So if you’re feeling like less of a man, then start acting like one . . . that is, if to you being a man means acting responsibly and effectively while determining a plan and living in health.
Because nothing screams manly like sensibility.
Briggs, Bill, and Msnbc.com Contributor. "Men Seek Testosterone Quick Fix, with Risks." Msnbc.com
. Msnbc Digital Network, 05 June 2012. Web. 11 June 2012. <http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/47522198/ns/health-mens_health/t/men-seek-testosterone-quick-fix-risks/>.
Staff, Mayo Clinic. "Testosterone Therapy: Key to Male Vitality?" Mayo Clinic
. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 10 Apr. 2012. Web. 11 June 2012. <http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/testosterone-therapy/MC00030>.