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Low Testosterone: Often Unrecognized and Undiagnosed

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Testosterone deficiency syndrome is frequently unrecognized and undiagnosed.
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Testosterone deficiency syndrome is frequently unrecognized and undiagnosed.

Testosterone is the hormone responsible for many vital physical processes in the male body like sperm production and sex drive. When it's unknowingly low, it may be confused as depression or accepted as part of normal aging.

“I was tired all the time, I had no energy, my concentration was not good, and I had a decreased sex drive,” says Mark Burson, who suffers from testosterone deficiency syndrome.

There are different types and different causes of low testosterone.

Sometimes a defect lies in the testicles or there is a chromosomal abnormality like Klinefelter syndrome. Also drugs, infection, or trauma may play a role in addition to alcoholism, tumors, severe illness, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, and high blood pressure. And sometimes the cause may simply be unknown.

Signs and symptoms of low testosterone can include loss of libido, a decrease in spontaneous morning erections, erectile dysfunction, inability to father children, low sperm count, decrease muscle mass, loss of bone strength, breast pain or gynecomastia, loss of hair, small or shrinking testes. Also decreased energy, irritability, and sleep problems can occur.

“Work and the couch were about my two options for activity and sleep,” says Burson. “It didn't feel like I could ever get enough sleep.”

Diagnosis is by history, physical examination, and blood testing.

“They did a bunch of tests,” says Burson. “They did blood work. They checked my thyroid level.”

Treatment is recommended for men with below normal testosterone levels and who suffer from symptoms.

“What I decided on was an implant,” says Burson. “I'm already feeling better. I'm seeing changes. My wife is seeing changes.”

So just because you are tired or you have a low libido does not always mean you have low testosterone. You could just be overworked.

What you can do to keep your body healthy is get enough rest, adhere to a healthy diet, stay active, and stay hydrated

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