What are health areas that are often overlooked that men should ask their doctor about?
Two main things to monitor are estrogen levels and red blood cell (RBC) counts. Testosterone can convert into estrogen, which can create anxiety as well as magnify sexual dysfunction in men.
If RBCs get too high it can cause distress with the small vessels within your body including those around the kidneys and the blood returning to the heart. Both of these concerns can be easily monitored by your doctor with testing.
What are some risk factors for low testosterone?
Abdominal fat and high sugar/carb intake are the 2 largest modifiable risk factors for low testosterone. Add in a constant high stress environment and you have the ultimate recipe for high stress,high sugar and carb intake combined with low activity level is a recipe for LOW testosterone and HIGH estrogen.
What about testosterone therapy?
Testosterone therapy can be very beneficial in some cases but can easily get out of control with the “more is better” mentality that most doctors have when it comes to managing any of the sex hormones. If you are going to undergo pharmaceutical replacement therapy, make sure your doctor is well versed in such therapies.
How can patients treat testosterone issues naturally?
Natural remedies for testosterone deficiencies are plentiful but often misleading. Simply “boosting” testosterone doesn’t always work or the results can be short lived. The best way to go about healthy testosterone therapy is to look at the entire picture. Since testosterone is a steroid hormone (which means it's derived from cholesterol) then we must ensure healthy levels of all other steroids first; estrogen, DHEA, progesterone and cortisol just to name a few. These hormones all convert into one another, to a certain extent, via special enzymes in our body. These enzymes can be turned up or turned down depending on our lifestyle and diet. Throwing testosterone at this broken system can lead to a worsening of your symptoms or possibly unintended disruption in other pathways of the body.
How does depression affect men differently than women?
Depression affects men and women differently, but the causes can be unique between the sexes. For example, women with high estrogen and lower progesterone levels tend to complain more of anxiety. Men with this same hormonal pattern will report more depression. Patients should ask their doctor to test for all the different types of hormones. In addition to looking at the levels of sex hormones there are secondary tests that can give you and your doctor an idea of what hormones the brain has on tap.
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