The sexual activity in animals is maintained by the grace of a steroid hormone belonging to the androgen family, which is termed as ‘testosterone’. The roots of this term can be dated back to ancient Greek period.
The primary purpose of testosterone is to maintain sexual functions, sperm motility, and related secondary sexual characteristics. The testes in males start secreting this hormone as a male reaches his puberty, few traces of testosterone are also available in a female body.
Modern research has unearthed other beneficial roles of testosterone, which includes- body mass, bone density, cardiovascular capacity, insulin, and lipid etc.. Here we will discuss the correlation of testosterone and aging.
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The Relation of Testosterone levels and Aging, and its effects
We are no stranger to the term ‘Aging’, it is the natural process of getting older. The notable feature of aging is the change that it brings in a living being.
The process of aging starts from the day we are born, it behaves like a clock for the biological, physical and other necessary functions. Aging is not a single process, but a combined effect of all the changes that take place in our body.
Testosterone, a sex hormone that vitalizes male sexual organs, but also related to other regulatory functions. With the gradual increase of age, levels of testosterone decrease and the body becomes the nest of several ailments.
People face severe difficulties when they age, as the damage of aging extends to physical, mental and all biological functions. Here in this article, we discuss the relation of testosterone levels and aging, and the effect aging has on the human body.
Aging and Bones: How Bone Strength Changes
Osteoporosis poses to be a serious threat to people from the older group, studies have revealed that hypogonadism is the primary reason behind 30% hip fracture and 20% vertebra fracture in men, thus boosting the morbidity rate.
A study was organized where 83 people, mostly belonging to an age group between 60-65 years volunteered. These people were diagnosed with testosterone deficiency but no symptoms of osteoporosis.
The Bone Mass Density of the thigh bone along with the overall BMI (Body Mass Index), bone density measurements of the volunteers was taken.
52% of them had a low BMD (Bone Mass Density) level and were subsequently exposed to the risk of osteoporosis. The role of Testosterone is yet to be understood, but its importance and need are definite.
Male characteristics develop with the advent of puberty when the testosterone levels are at its peak. With age this level decrease. In our body the older bones are replaced by new one, the process of remodeling, the nutrients get resorbed in blood.
This cycle maintains the structural integrity, but with age, the rate of resorption increase and the bone loose its density, porosity, structure and nutrient value. This process of bone damage is often seen in men with the hypogonadic condition.
Aging, testosterone, and Heart
Aging is often accompanied by cardiac risks and deviations in the levels of the different regulating hormone, which includes testosterone and occurrence of atherosclerosis.
The derogatory effects of atherosclerosis antagonize elderly people. Aging, nature’s natural process of withering and gradual departure is backed by a decrease in the testosterone levels. All of it comes down to the affinity that testosterone levels share with aging and cardiovascular health.
Testosterone and cardiovascular health are interrelated. The potential reasons behind a depleting heart condition are aging and low testosterone. Recent endeavors point the dependency of cardiovascular health with testosterone and the results of its deficiency- coronary disease, atherosclerosis, and weakening of heart muscles.
Testosterone deficiency in aged people is associated with severe coronary conditions and other health aspects. Moreover, the decrease in testosterone levels is a potential indicator of future threats involving stroke and ischemic attack, which jeopardizes the cardiovascular mortality.
Scientific investigations through varied trials and applications have revealed the mending and the recuperating ability of testosterone therapy in patients diagnosed with ischemic and cardiovascular conditions.
Aging, mood and cognitive functions
The studies regarding that involved investigation of the role of testosterone with cognitive functions, deemed testosterone deficiency to be a risk factor for the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. Aging is associated with testosterone deficiency, and which is a significant symptom in patients with impaired cognitive ability and dementia.
This correlation between the Alzheimer’s and testosterone levels can be confirmed by the results of the project conducted by the researchers of the prestigious Oxford University, the OPTIMA (Oxford Project to Investigate Memory and Ageing).
Here the testosterone levels of 112 Alzheimer’s patients were measured and compared with that of 98 normal people to study the interrelation between testosterone and Alzheimer’s disease. The levels of testosterone and other androgens were measured by incorporating enzyme immunoassay techniques.
The analysis of the results was lucid, AD (Alzheimer’s disease) patients were aged and their testosterone levels were way below the optimum, whereas other hormone levels were in the desired margin. This study contemplated the medical world to take testosterone levels as an indicator of Alzheimer’s disease.
Mental Functions appear to vary along with age and testosterone levels associated with this change plays the role of an additive agent. The association of testosterone & testosterone deficiency was acknowledged after a study that investigated the mental state and testosterone levels of 3,957 Australian individuals.
Studies suggest that testosterone therapy is more effective in retracting the depression problems where orthodox methods may fail.
Aging and Sexual Health
Declining to testosterone levels is a characteristic of aging and so is the diminished libido. This incompetency severely hampers the healthy sex life of a person, but most of the damage is sustained internally.
An investigative study was organized to correlate the frequency of sex related problems with various determining factors, age was one of them. 4310 Danish men aged between 40-80 years, volunteered for this study
The base of the final interpretation was the 2210 responses. The evaluations were conducted based on age groups, intoxicating habits, education and marital status, the frequency of sexual problems (erectile dysfunction (ED), impotency, premature ejaculation and penile curvature) and medication. The consequential outcomes were-
- Men who did not receive proper medication faced the threat of ED to increase 3 fold.
- Smoking, Alcohol and educational ignorance tipped the scale towards an increase in sexual problems.
- Rehabilitation through Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT) was successful.
Modernization in medical procedure blessed us with the Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT). Though progress in scientific methods is still required in the field of testosterone research to understand it thoroughly.
Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT)
Testosterone is a steroid and plays a key role in the development of male sex organs like testis prostate, in addition to promotion of secondary sexual characteristics which may include bone and muscle density, body hair.
Testosterone Therapy or Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT) focuses on replenishing
the testosterone levels in the human body, providing with greater vigor and feel younger.
The concepts of Testosterone Therapy or Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT) are based on Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT), where external hormonal dosages are given to patients with clinical symptoms of low hormone levels.
These days Testosterone therapy is mainly used to treat hypogonadism ( the limited activity of the gonads). Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT) helps in alleviating the following problems.
- Libido or decreased sex drive.
- Changes occur in muscle mass along with an increase in Body fat.
- Disruption in cholesterol metabolism.
- The paucity of hemoglobin leading to mild anemia.
- Alopecia and osteoporosis.
- Erectile dysfunction.
Nobody can defy the process of aging, it’s the natural order that we are bound to follow, but we can ameliorate the damage caused by aging. Association of hypogonadsm and aging has opened a new frontier of scientific research, moreover, the correlation between various ailments, testosterone deficiency, and aging has compelled the researchers to give some alternative thought to the aging process.
Association of hypogonadsm and aging has opened a new frontier of scientific research, moreover, the correlation between various ailments, testosterone deficiency, and aging has compelled the researchers to give some alternative thought to the aging process.
TRT works as a magic wand for supplementing testosterone levels, but the most controversial area of TRT is the maintenance of balance between the benefit and risks posed by it, a delicate balance which will be the focus of the future researchers that are yet to come.