Don’t keep blaming the decline in testosterone levels on getting older, say the authors of a new Australian study. Instead, “testosterone changes are largely explained by smoking behavior and changes in health status, particularly obesity and depression,” claims Gary Wittert, MD, professor of medicine at the University of Adelaide.
Testosterone levels decline naturally as men age at a slow and steady rate of about 1 percent per year beginning when men are in their early 40s. This decrease in testosterone levels is associated with a variety of symptoms that can affect some men more than others, including weight gain, reduced sex drive, erectile dysfunction, and a loss of muscle mass.
But a new study indicates that men’s behavior has an impact on declining testosterone levels. Wittert and his team evaluated the testosterone levels of more than 1,500 men (age range, 35 to 80 years) taken at two different times five years apart. Testosterone levels dropped less than an average of 1 percent per year, and several factors were associated with the decline.
From the beginning of the study until five years later, Wittert noted that “Men who had declines in testosterone were more likely to be those who became obese, had stopped smoking or were depressed at either clinic visit.” Wittert emphasized that physicians need to realize that “declining testosterone levels are not a natural part of aging and that they are most likely due to health-related behaviors or health status itself.”
These findings are important for both men and their doctors to understand because they can shape decisions about possible treatment strategies, including lifestyle changes such as diet, exercise, stress management, weight loss efforts, and smoking cessation.
Read more in our Low T Health Center.
Schieszer J. Testosterone declines not inevitable. Renal & Urology News 2012 Jul 3