Low Testosterone and Comorbidity: Research Links Low T to Poor Health
While most people associate testosterone with certain “male” behavioral characteristics like aggression and risk taking, testosterone actually plays a much more valuable role in human health by fueling and triggering a number of critical bodily systems, including:
- Producing of lean muscle mass
- Developing and maintaining bone tissue
- Regulating and distributing body fat
- Governing libido (sex drive)
- Sharpening cognitive function
- Initiating sperm production and stimulating erectile function
- Regulating mood
- Increasing energy production
- Initiating the production of red blood cells
Low Testosterone and Its Connection to Poor Health
Since testosterone plays such an important role in the healthy functioning of the body, medical experts have long suspected that suboptimal testosterone levels could contribute to co-occurring chronic disease (also referred to as comorbidity or multimorbidity) directly related to the breakdown of these important systems.
Disease states that research is examining in connection with low testosterone include:
- Insulin resistance
- Type 2 diabetes
- Erectile dysfunction
- Metabolic syndrome
- Cardiovascular disease
The bulk of scientific evidence supporting this premise continues to grow, even showing that low testosterone levels could adversely affect the overall health of men 40 years of age and younger.
Surprising Results of Recent Studies
A recent study published in April 2018 evaluated the association between total testosterone deficiency and weakness and multimorbidity (when 2 or more chronic conditions are present) in men across a variety of age groups, including young, middle-aged, and older men, both with and without diagnosed chronic low testosterone.
The study found that multimorbidity was more prevalent among men with testosterone deficiency (55.2%), when compared to men normal total testosterone (36.6%), especially among the young group (36.4% vs. 13.5%), and the older group (75.0% vs. 61.5%).
In short, testosterone deficiency was strongly and independently connected to multimorbidity in a large population-representative sample of U.S. men.
Aleksandr Belakovskiy, M.D., a member of the research team summed up the importance of the findings, saying:
“This study showed a robust association between testosterone and multiple medical morbidities that could influence the way we think about testosterone in general practice. While these findings cannot prove causation, it does spark the need for better clinical awareness and more research.”
A Stern Warning
Mark Peterson, Ph.D., M.S., FACSM, the lead author of the study and assistant professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation at the University of Michigan’s School of Medicine sums up the health risks connected to low testosterone by research:
“A lot of men may not be aware of the risk factors for testosterone deficiency because of their current lifestyle. And more importantly, that declining levels could be contributing to a silent decline in overall health and increased risk for chronic disease.”
Healthy Testosterone Levels—Learn the Benefits
The evidence compiled by the medical community becomes more and more convincing as time goes by. Chronic low testosterone is part of a spiral of poor physical health, but the overall risk of premature death due to overall poor health and comorbidity may decrease when testosterone levels are maintained within a normal range.
The most effective way to restore and then maintain healthy testosterone levels for men who are chronically deficient is Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT).
For more information on the health benefits of TRT and the treatment options available, we recommend reading our comprehensive guide. It contains key facts and answers to the most common questions regarding the treatment of chronic low testosterone.