The Importance of Hormone Testing
Millions of aging men have the dual conditions of low testosterone and high cholesterol. Many physicians prescribe cholesterol-lowering drugs to reduce cholesterol, when, in fact, the age-related rise in cholesterol might simply be the body’s way of increasing hormone levels by supplying the raw materials necessary to make hormones.
The so-called “normal” levels of testosterone in older men reflect population averages. We believe that most aging men would prefer not to accept the loss of youthful vigor as normal. Instead, we suggest that a more valid optimal level for all men would be in the reference range used for men aged 21 to 49 years, and that any supplementation should aim to restore hormone levels to that range.
When measuring testosterone levels, it is critical to determine the levels of both free and total testosterone to understand the cause of any observed symptoms of deficiency.
It is also important to remember that blood levels of both free and total testosterone vary widely among individuals, making it difficult to establish a general baseline on which to prescribe a standardized treatment protocol. However, levels are quite consistent within individuals, and thus it is important that men have multiple tests over time to determine trends and individual thresholds for treatment.
Finally, during the initial testing, it is also imperative to test estrogen levels. Many of the unwanted effects of male hormone imbalance are actually caused by an elevated estrogen level relative to low testosterone levels (the estrogen/testosterone ratio).