How to Handle Testosterone Levels and Aging

Aging is a natural process that brings about various changes in the body, one of which is a decline in testosterone levels. Testosterone, a key hormone in men and also present in women in smaller amounts, plays a critical role in maintaining muscle mass, bone density, red blood cell levels, and a sense of well-being. As men age, their testosterone levels naturally decrease, leading to a variety of symptoms and health concerns. Here’s how to handle testosterone levels and aging to maintain optimal health and quality of life.

Understanding Testosterone and Its Role
A testosterone level of at least 300 nanograms per decilitre (ng/dL) is normal for a man. A testosterone level below 300 ng/dL indicates low testosterone in men. For women aged 19 and older, normal testosterone levels range from 15 to 70 ng/dL. Testosterone is primarily produced in men’s testicles and in smaller amounts in women’s ovaries and adrenal glands. Testosterone promotes male traits like muscle and bone growth, body hair, and a deeper voice. It also affects sex drive, mood, and energy levels.

Understanding the Signs of Low Testosterone
As men age, testosterone levels typically decrease by about 1% per year after age 30. Symptoms of low testosterone, known as hypogonadism, include reduced sexual desire, fewer spontaneous erections, impotence, erectile dysfunction (ED), and infertility. These changes can affect both physical and mental health. They may experience disrupted sleep patterns, find it harder to stay focused, feel less driven, and notice their muscles becoming smaller and weaker. Decreased bone strength may increase the risk of fractures, and some men might develop larger breasts. Hormonal shifts can also lead to feelings of sadness and tiredness. To manage these symptoms, it’s important to exercise regularly, eat a balanced diet, and see a doctor for advice and treatment.

Managing Testosterone Levels: Lifestyle Changes
1. Exercise Regularly:
Exercising large muscle groups triggers the release of growth hormones, which promote protein production similarly to testosterone. Strength training and multi-joint exercises like squats, deadlifts, chest presses, and shoulder presses are highly effective for building muscle mass compared to other forms of exercise recommended for a healthy lifestyle.

2. Maintain a Healthy Diet:
Eat balanced meals with lean proteins, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats like avocado and nuts. Stay hydrated, control portion sizes, and ensure enough vitamins and minerals from foods like nuts, seeds, and leafy greens. Moderate alcohol intake to support hormone balance and overall health. These habits promote optimal testosterone levels and well-being.

3. Get Adequate Sleep:
Men who don’t get 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night may have lower testosterone levels, negatively affecting their health. To keep your testosterone levels healthy, aim for 7-9 hours of good sleep each night. Stick to a regular sleep routine, make your sleep environment comfortable, and use relaxation methods to sleep better. Getting enough rest is key to supporting your hormones and overall health.

4. Manage Stress:
Stress is a powerful thing, and it can significantly impact your hormones, particularly your stress hormones. Lower testosterone levels can lead to more stress in the body and cause your testosterone levels to drop even lower. Regular cardiovascular exercise releases endorphins, which lower stress and increase testosterone levels.

5. Maintain a Healthy Weight:
Maintaining a healthy weight helps manage testosterone levels because excess body fat, especially around the abdomen, can lead to increased conversion of testosterone into estrogen. This imbalance can lower testosterone levels. Therefore, by staying at a healthy weight through a balanced diet and regular exercise, individuals can help optimize their testosterone levels and overall health.

Conclusion
In conclusion, to keep your testosterone levels healthy as you age, focus on lifestyle changes, medical support, and regular check-ups. Stay active, eat well, get enough sleep, manage stress, and seek medical advice as needed. Working closely with a healthcare provider ensures a personalized plan that suits your needs. Discuss any symptoms or concerns with your doctor for proper guidance and to improve your quality of life over time.

 

By: Dr Venkatesh Giri, Shree children hospital, Uran, Navi Mumbai

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