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As men get older, their testosterone levels naturally decrease. Starting around age 30, a man’s testosterone level declines by an average annual rate of 1-2%. Testosterone deficiency, also known as low testosterone or “low T,” affects up to 13 million American men. Low T is defined as having a total testosterone level lower than 300 ng/dL and a free testosterone level of 5 ng/dL. Symptoms of the condition include an increase in weight (mostly due to body fat), a decrease in muscle mass, poor sleep, lack of energy and focus, and depression. Some researchers believe low T can also decrease life expectancy.

If anything, it certainly decreases the quality of a man’s life.

Fortunately for men with the condition, it is perfectly treatable. A relatively new treatment has come out that can dramatically improve the health of those with the illness. Testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) is a treatment in which synthetic hormones are administered to the body, boosting the patient’s testosterone levels. The hormones are administered in a variety of ways (shots, pills, gels and creams, small pellets embedded under the skin, etc.) and it’s done so over a long period of time. However, patients who under the treatment consistently can see improvements in a matter of weeks.

The treatment is not without its controversy. Then again, what treatment isn’t? Some researchers are skeptical of the treatment’s effectiveness but there are many other researchers who are not. Just last month, two prominent doctors at the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists annual meeting in Nashville, Tennessee supported the therapy, considering it to be effective and the risks to be minimal. For the 13 million Americans thought to have the disease, this is fantastic news.

Low testosterone can be debilitating — but only if you let it. For more information, feel free to leave a comment or question at the bottom.