How lower testosterone levels affect men as they age
The effects of gradually lowering testosterone levels as men age have received increasing attention in recent years, leading to a term known as late-onset hypogonadism.
After the age of 40, the concentration of circulating testosterone falls by about 1.6 percent every year in most men. By the age of 60, the low levels of testosterone would lead to a diagnosis of hypogonadismin younger men.
Low serum testosterone levels have even been associated with increased mortality in male veterans, and late-onset hypogonadism has become an increasingly recognized medical condition, although many of the symptoms are associated with normal aging.
The following symptoms of late-onset hypogonadism – many of which are familiar as a part of aging – are attributed to low testosterone levels:
- Decreased desire for sex (libido)
- Diminished erectile quality, particularly for nighttime erections
- Changes in mood
- Reduced intellectual and cognitive function
- Fatigue, depression, and anger
- Decrease in muscle mass and strength
- Decreased body hair
- Skin alterations
- Decreased bone mass/mineral density
- Increase in abdominal fat mass
In addition to sexual dysfunction, late-onset hypogonadism has also been associated with metabolic disease and cardiovascular disease.