What Is Testosterone?
Testosterone is produced in the testes it is the secondary sex characteristic responsible for the reproductive development of the male gender. This male sex hormone is commonly associated with sexual desire and the production of sperm. The three main types of testosterone classification are as follows:
- Free Testosterone. The purest form found in the human body with no proteins attached to it. This testosterone makes up 2 to 3 percent of total testosterone levels in the human body. Free testosterone is really important for bodybuilders and athletes in sports.
- SHBG-bound Testosterone. SHBG is bound with the sex hormone globulin. It can not be used to build muscles or change a persons mood. SHBG makes up 40 to 50 percent of our total testosterone levels.
- Albumin bound Testosterone. Albumin is a protein found in the liver that helps stabilize extracellular fluid in the body. Just like SHBG Albumin is biologically inactive.
Testosterone governs the following factors:
- Skin-Hair growth, balding, sebum production
- Brain-Libido, mood
- Liver-Synthesis of serum proteins
- Male Sexual Growth-penile growth, spermatogenesis, prostate growth and function
- Muscle development-increase in strength and size
- Kidney-stimulation of erythropoietin production
- Bone marrow- stimulation of stem cells
- Bone-accelerated linear growth
Testosterone affects your level of focus, bone density and last but not least the size of your muscles. Most people associate testosterone with bodybuilders and aggression in athletes especially football players, boxers and MMA fighters. Most of the testosterone in the human body gets bound by the sex hormone binding agent globulin that grabs the testerone preventing its over release. The globulin protein increases as men age leading to decreased levels of testosterone.
Symptoms of Low Testosterone
- erectile disfunction
- lack of sex drive
- lack of focus and ambition
- decreased muscle mass
- bone density decrease
- abnormal male breast tissue
- low sperm count
- loss of body hair
- mild anemia
- decreased energy and depression
Low levels of testosterone in men can lead to an increased risk of chronic conditions like diabetes or hypertension or even death in some cases.
Linking Sleep Apnea and Low Testosterone
Any physician will acknowledge there is a direct link between aging and a decrease in testosterone levels and higher incidences of sleep apnea. Testosterone deficiency (Hypogonadism) is prevalent among obese people.. All evidence points to a definite correlation for men who have sleep apnea and decreased levels of the male hormone testosterone.
Our physician may recommend getting blood work done if your energy levels are low or getting a sleep study for possible sleep apnea. Oftentimes correcting the sleep apnea will improve your testosterone level without medidcation. Low levels of testosterone are linked to low levels of insulin production making people susceptible to Type II Diabetes. Obesity is a common denominator in people who have diabetes. Individuals who are diabetic are at an increased risk for sleep apnea. Medical studies have drawn too many parallels between sleep apnea and low testosterone levels in men for this issue to be ignored.
- Testosterone Gels-there are many choices which often depend on insurance coverage. This option provides the most physiologic replacement, but may not be for everyone.
- IM (Intramuscular) Testosterone-patients may be instructed to inject themselves. Dosing varies as does
the interval of the injection.
- Long Acting Testosterone Injection (Aveed)-the injection is given in the office and requires the patient
to be observed for 30 minutes to be certain there are no side effects. The injections are given every 10 weeks after the second 4 week injection.
- Testosterone Pellets (Testopel)-the tiny pellets are implanted under the skin of the buttocks through a small incision. They typically last from 3-6 months depending on the patient.
Our physician will discuss these options with you and help you decide how to proceed with treatment.
Prior to beginning therapy, your physician will order baseline blood work and perform a physical examination. Typical tests include a testosterone level. Additional tests may be required depending on the results to exclude secondary causes of low testosterone. Once treatment is decided upon baseline tests include hemoglobin, hematocrit, liver functions, lipid profile, and PSA (prostate specific antigen).
After treatment is begun, your physician will assess your response to treatment based on improvement of your symptoms and your testosterone level and discuss these with you. During the course of your treatment, the baseline tests will be check at periodic intervals be certain there are no adverse effects from your treatment.
It is imperative that you keep your scheduled appointments or further treatments may be cancelled.