ANDROPAUSE: Dealing With it…

Coping with andropause

For those of you who aren’t aware, andropause is what happens to men; it is male menopause.

What’s interesting, up until recently, no one believed that men could actually go through a type of menopause. Well in fact, now we know that not only do we go through it, but there are some significant health consequences that can occur if we’re not careful about how we actually approach it, and what kind of help we get as we’re going through this change of life as men.

When talking about this change of life as a man, what goes down here is testosterone

Testosterone is a crucial hormone that is needed by our bodies to really protect us from a number of things. Recently, there have been a couple of landmark studies done that show the significance of testosterone in a man.

One of the studies showed that 1 in 4 men over the age of 30 are actually low in testosterone. That’s 25% of the guys out there, over the age of 30 are actually low in testosterone. This is a very significant factor.

What we want to think about is how we can really modulate the disease risk that we begin to have as men as we get older, and we can do this by actually making sure to measure total and free testosterone.

The study showed 1 in 4 men are low over the age of 30, and if you’re low…means if your number of total testosterone is below 300, and this is what they defined in the studies.

Of course in reality, that number should be higher, but in the studies if your total testosterone was 300 or below, what that meant was you had a 33% increase risk of death. The increase risk of death was from cardiovascular disease, from diabetes, from all-cause mortality.

Men who had low testosterone died earlier and had a 33-40% increase risk of dying because their testosterone levels were below 300.

What Does That Mean?

Well, what it means is every one of you out there should be asking your primary care doctor to check your levels of testosterone as your routine physical.

For example, you have your PSA done at 50.

At my local practice, all men at 40 get it done to get a baseline. At the same time, the doctors measure male patients’ testosterone levels, as well as female patients but that’s a separate issue

Even men, who are in their late 30s, get their numbers checked because the physicians can see the way testosterone levels are going over time and see if they’ve declined, if they haven’t declined.

Testosterone is a crucial hormone in our bodies in the sense that it does burn fat, it helps with insulin and it helps with blood sugar regulation. That’s why if you’re low on testosterone, there’s more risk of Diabetes Type 2, there’s more risk of abdominal obesity, and you run the risk of hypertension and atherosclerosis.

In fact, there are a number of studies out there that show as testosterone levels decline, your rate of atherosclerosis increases. Meaning, if you have low testosterone, you’re definitely getting atherosclerosis, which will then lead to obviously coronary artery disease and all the complications that go along with that.

Basically, what we want to do when it comes to male hormones and andropause, is really focus in on what is your testosterone level and when we look at testosterone, I mentioned before the total testosterone.

Professionals tend to look at where a man’s estrogen levels are, because what happens is … It’s sort of a little bit of a funny paradigm that’s occurring.

Here in America I have a little joke that I like to say, that us men are becoming women and women are becoming men. What do I mean by that? What I mean is that if you look around us and you look at guys who are becoming round around the middle, that’s estrogen.

So what happens is their estrogen levels go up and what that does is that reduces down their testosterone levels and makes it even lower. By having abdominal obesity, or by having fat around the middle, what’s happening is you’re making your own testosterone even lower.

It’s a real vicious cycle, because what happens is you begin to gain weight because testosterone goes down, you gain more weight that then produces estrogen that then drives the testosterone lower.

Because you have lower testosterone, you wind up getting more abdominal fat, and it’s this never ending cycle.

My local practice makes sure all men are assessed for: total and free testosterone; The docs check estradiol; They also check insulin-like growth factor which is a measurement of growth hormone levels; They check DHEA-sulfate; They check the sex hormone binding globulin, because that can be elevated and it’s a particular type of a protein that carries our testosterone around.

Now if you have too much sex hormone binding globulin, then all your testosterone’s bound up in the delivery trucks and none is getting dropped off in the tissues where it needs its help.

Take Home The Message Here Guys!

If you’re feeling grumpy, if you’re moody, if you’re feeling depressed; if that little engine inside just can’t get started anymore and you don’t have any of the oomph that you used to, if your motivation is gone; if you’re starting to develop higher cholesterol and your doctor wants to put you on statin drugs of some kind to lower cholesterol; if you’ve begun to get a spare tire around the middle or you’re dealing with abdominal obesity; if you’re having insulin problems and blood sugar irregularities, then these are things that you need to bring to the attention of your doctor and you need to have somebody to work with that’s going to address them and help you make changes that will actually extend your longevity.

Because we’ve already established, if you have low testosterone below 300 – and that’s just a crude total number – then you definitely have a 33% increased risk of death.

In my mind, it’s a simple solution. By finding out your numbers and your doctor can really make sure that you’re able to move into your late 40s, your 50s, your 60s feeling good, having energy, really getting your vitality back and this hormone testosterone is what gives us that sense of really being able to accomplish things, the strength, the ability to get into the gym, the ability that when we exercise we don’t feel totally blown out but we actually have stamina.

We feel muscle being built, besides the effects that it has on our libido, on erectile dysfunction.

Testosterone actually produces more nitric oxide, and this is a chemical that is so important in the body, nitric oxide is what is needed to cause vasodilatation. In other words, it opens the blood vessels. In opening the blood vessels, what happens is you lower blood pressure.

Nitric oxide has a number of functions and it’s all produced because of testosterone. That’s why when testosterone goes down, you have all these risks.

It increases the ability of the blood vessels to open up. It decreases the ability of the cholesterol to form plaques on the wall of the arteries. It decreases the ability of the platelets to be all clumpy and sticky, so you don’t have to worry about stroke.

These are the important things that you can really avoid and eliminate by taking charge, by even just jotting down some of those simple hormones:

  • Total and Free testosterone
  • Estradiol
  • DHEA-sulfate
  • Insulin-Like Growth Hormone
  • Sex Hormone-Binding-Globulin

Of course, you’ll get your PSA and other things, but those are the main numbers that if you have, you have really the beginning of being able to put together a complex protocol for yourself. If you have any questions about anything in this article, please drop us a message.

Have a great day.

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