After you exit puberty, typically between the ages of 16 and 18, your testosterone levels are probably at their peak, and they usually maintain this high level through your 20s. Once you hit your 30s, however, testosterone production can slowly decrease, by about 1% a year.
As a result, issues with low testosterone, or low T, generally don’t start to crop up until later in life when the deficit in production starts to add up. So why are more younger men being diagnosed with low testosterone?
Instead of one single answer to this question, it’s likely that there are several drivers of lower testosterone levels in younger men these days. As an endocrinologist, Dr. Sean P. Nikravan, is an expert in hormone-related issues, and he provides a few clues here about low T in young men.
Is testosterone influenced by weight?
Recent reports show that overall testosterone levels in men have been declining, and an aging population was thought to have been a major driver of this downward trend. But researchers are finding that 20% of men ages 20-39 have a testosterone deficiency.
You might look at another common issue that’s affecting men of all ages that may account for the decrease in overall testosterone levels — being overweight or having obesity.
Elevated BMIs among young men — they went from a mean of 25.83 in 1999-2000 to 27.96 in 2015-2016 — corresponded to a decline in testosterone from 605.39 ng/dL to 451.22 ng/dL during that same time period (normal levels of testosterone should range between 300 ng/dL to 1,000 ng/dL).
While the connection is certainly valid, it’s also worth noting that men of average weight also experienced a decline in testosterone during the same period.
A combination of factors
Greater instances of low T in younger men are likely driven by a combination of factors, including:
- Being overweight
- Not exercising
- Having diabetes
- Having high blood pressure
- Having high cholesterol
- Drug, alcohol, and tobacco use
There's no question that all of these factors together create an unhealthy environment in your body that can impact almost every area of your health, including your metabolic health.
In fact, health care professionals have lumped together many of the factors above under metabolic syndrome, which is a condition that places you more at risk for heart disease. You can add issues like low T to the list of possible outcomes of metabolic syndrome.
If you want help getting to the bottom of your low T, at whatever age, we urge you to schedule a visit with Dr. Nikravan so that he can investigate the issue further and get you on the road to better hormonal health.
To get started, please contact our office in Newport Beach, California, to set up an appointment.