|Volume 6 Issue 88 Published - 14:00 UTC 08:00 EST 28-Mar-2004 Next Update - 14:00 UTC 08:00 EST 29-Mar-2004||Editor: Susan K. Boyer, RN
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Caution urged on testosterone therapy
By age 60, about one in five men have testosterone levels much lower than the norm. According to the April issue of the Harvard Heart Letter, millions of men are turning to testosterone therapy as a way to restore vitality and slow down the aging process.
While studies show lower testosterone levels could protect men against prostate cancer or other testosterone-related diseases, various health problems may arise, such as weakening of bones, lack of energy, decreased rate of fat metabolism, and a decline in muscle building.
There is still more to be discovered about the effects testosterone therapy has on menís physical and mental health. For instance, some studies suggest testosterone is good for menís hearts because it can lower blood pressure, increase levels of HDL (good) cholesterol, and decrease the risk of diabetes. But other studies have found that the hormone is to blame for the early appearance of heart disease.
According to the Harvard Heart Letter editors, testosterone therapy should be approached as an experimental treatment until more information on its effects is available. Patients should be aware of both the possible benefits and potential harm testosterone may cause the body. The Harvard Heart Letter suggests men who are not taking testosterone should not start unless directed to by their doctor. Those who have low levels and are taking the hormone should pay close attention to their bodyís response and schedule routine check-ups.