The Connection Between Arthritic Joint Pain and Low T
Aching knees, wrists, elbows and fingers—arthritis is probably one of the first thoughts that crosses your mind when your joints start to throb. But, did you also think about the possibility of low testosterone as the primary cause?
Let’s examine the rarely considered connection between your hormones and joint pain, Low T in particular.
The 2 Major Types of Arthritis
Although arthritis is a term widely applied to joint pain, there are actually different forms, and the most common are:
- Osteoarthritis (OA)
- Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)
Osteoarthritis, often called a wear-and-tear disease caused by too much repeated stress on a joint, is the most common form of arthritis. It occurs when the shock-absorbing cartilage that cushions the ends of the bones wears down or degenerates over time.
Most commonly causing stiffness and soreness in the hands, knees, hips and spine, the pain of osteoarthritis usually can be managed. However, any damage to the joints is likely irreversible. The Mayo Clinic supports staying active and maintaining a healthy weight as excellent preventative measures that could slow progression of the disease, help ease pain, and improve joint function.
Low T and the joint pain caused by osteoarthritis are related because the common symptoms of hormone imbalance impede this recommended healthy lifestyle:
- Chronic fatigue
- Mild depressive moods
- Weight control issues
Low T results in inefficient production of lean muscle mass by your body, and more fat tissue is produced in its place, a self-perpetuating cycle where each condition significantly worsens the other. Add in chronic fatigue and reduced motivation and you have a recipe for a more-sedentary lifestyle and increased risk factors for osteoarthritic joint pain.
(Read this article for more on the connection between low testosterone and weight gain.)
Men trapped in this health conundrum typically find that no matter how hard they exercise or how strictly they monitor what they eat and drink, they continue to gain more weight as they age, putting increased strain on their organs—and joints.
If you’re suffering from chronic low testosterone and joint pain, a regimented TRT program that restores and maintains testosterone levels is a highly effective way to treat obesity, ease the stress on your joints, and slow the deterioration caused by osteoarthritis.
Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)
The Cleveland Clinic describes rheumatoid arthritis (RA) as a chronic autoimmune disease that occurs in the same joints on both sides of your body, which makes it different from other types of arthritis. Unlike osteoarthritis that’s caused by physical stress wearing away cartilage, RA is the result of uncontrolled inflammation attacking your joints’ cartilage.
Your bone tissue itself may eventually erode.
This painful chain of events can lead to the fusion of your joint—your body’s way of protecting itself from the constant inflammation and irritation of RA.
The exact cause of rheumatoid arthritis is unknown. Researchers suspect it’s caused by a combination of genetics, hormones and environmental factors. Specific cells in your immune system (your body’s infection-fighting system) exacerbate inflammation. These cells are produced in your joints but also circulate and cause symptoms throughout your body.
RA is most often found in women, but RA affects a substantial number of men as well, usually developing between the ages of 30 and 60. Interestingly, that’s the age where men’s testosterone production begins to decline.
According to a recent study published in Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases, men with chronic hypogonadism (the medical term for Low T) have a greater chance of developing a particular type of RA, rheumatoid factor-negative RA, compared to men with testosterone in a more normal range.
After accounting for obesity and smoking—factors that increase the risk of developing RA—scientists found that men with low T were found more likely to develop this type of RA, even when they initially tested negative for specific medical markers of the disease.
The overall conclusion is that hormone factors like low testosterone production increase the risk of RA and its accompanying joint pain. Therefore, it’s highly recommended that men have a conversation with their medical provider about low testosterone, particularly if any other troubling symptoms of low T present themselves.
Joint Pain—Not the Only Low T Health Risk
Many men believe symptoms of Low T are probably just inconvenient, but there are actual risks involved. Chronically low levels of testosterone can leave your body without a key ingredient that keeps its systems functioning properly.
Over a prolonged period of time, that weakened system breaks down, which means serious health complications may develop, only one of which is joint pain (caused by either OA or RA). With the number of men suffering from low testosterone on the rise and at an increasingly younger age, it’s a legitimate concern. We’d like to provide you with the facts.
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