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4 Potential Causes of Low Testosterone

People take a lot of things for granted when it comes to their health, such as the fact that hormones are working quietly behind the scenes to regulate everything from your sexual health to your metabolism. And this state of hormonal balance is incredibly important for your overall health and wellness.

For the 4-5 million American men who have low testosterone, the imbalance in these reproductive hormones can have a great impact on their quality of life as symptoms can range from erectile dysfunction to depression.

Because low testosterone is such a common problem, Dr. Sean P. Nikravan is using  this month’s blog post to review some of the causes and risk factors for low T.

Whether you’re reading this because we’ve already diagnosed you with a testosterone deficiency or you want to avoid the issue, it’s a very good idea to learn what you can about what drives lower-than-normal testosterone levels.

Understanding testosterone levels

Let’s first discuss what constitutes a “normal” testosterone level, which we measure in nanograms per deciliter (ng/dL). Once you pass through puberty, your testosterone levels should be somewhere between 300 ng/dL and 923 ng/dL.

This wide range encompasses most ages as testosterone levels can fluctuate throughout your life. But if your levels fall below 300 ng/dL, we consider this to be low testosterone.

What drives low testosterone

A number of reasons explain why your testosterone levels might dip below ideal levels.

1. Age

The leading culprit behind low T is aging, and it’s a natural decline that all men face. Starting around age 30, you lose about 1%- 2% testosterone each year, or 100 ng/dL every 10 years. This explains why low T affects more than half of men over age 80.

2. Obesity

Carrying excess body fat can have a metabolic impact that includes a decrease in testosterone production. In fact, 30% of men who are overweight have low T compared to slightly more than 6% of men of normal weight. 

3. Diabetes

At its core, diabetes is a metabolic issue that affects the hormone insulin, but it appears to also impact testosterone production. Men with diabetes are twice as likely to have low T than men who don’t have this chronic disease.

4. Certain medications and treatments

Low T can be affected by treatments and medications. For example, low T is a common side effect of certain chemotherapy and radiation treatments. The hormone imbalance is also common among opioid and steroid users.

Aside from these issues, we’re now recognizing that chronic stress can greatly impact your hormones and contribute to issues like low testosterone.

Addressing low testosterone

The good news is that no matter what’s behind your low testosterone levels, we can rebalance them through hormone replacement therapies that will have you feeling more like yourself again. As well, we can work with you on weight management if we believe that excess pounds are adding to a decline in your hormone production.

If you’d like to learn more about preventing or managing low testosterone, we invite you to contact Sean P. Nikravan, MD, in Newport Beach, California, to schedule a visit today.

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