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Menopause for men is real and treatable

Men over 50 like their female counterparts, are s prone to decrease of hormones

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Testosterone levels in the human body naturally decrease as part of the aging process.
Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: If you think hormonal changes, hot flashes and mood swings are hallmarks of menopausal women, think again. Men over the age of 50, like women, are as prone to the gradual decrease of hormones, along with symptoms like depression, reduced muscle strength and declining cognitive function, an expert said.

These symptoms, which occur when the level of testosterone decreases in the body, are even more pronounced in men with diabetes or obesity, said Dr Manaf Al Hashimi, specialist urologist at Lifeline Hospital.

“While low levels of testosterone occur in 20 per cent of men on average, according to studies conducted in the United States and Europe. However, because of the high levels of diabetes and obesity in the region, the condition may be even more prevalent here”
-Dr Al-Hashimi
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“While low levels of testosterone occur in 20 per cent of men on average, according to studies conducted in the United States and Europe. However, because of the high levels of diabetes and obesity in the region, the condition may be even more prevalent here,’’ Dr Al-Hashimi told Gulf News.

“Unfortunately, men in the region are not aware that male menopause is a real, treatable condition. In fact, not treating greatly lowered levels of testosterone in the body also poses other risks,” he added.

Testosterone levels in the human body naturally decrease as part of the aging process. An average 70-year-old male has half the level of testosterone as a 30-year-old.

In one of five men, these levels fall below 12 nanomoles per litre of blood, bringing about the onset of male menopause, also known as andropause or male climacteric. This is when risks such as increasing body mass index, decreased sexual performance, erectile dysfunction, poorer control of diabetes, recurring depression, impaired cognitive abilities, and worsening hypertension and cholesterol levels. Male menopause is also closely linked to cardiovascular diseases, as well as lowered bone density that is indicative of osteoporosis.

“Testosterone is normally considered to be associated with sexual functions, but the hormone has many other roles in the human body. In fact, many organs, including the brain, kidney, liver and skin, require enough testosterone for proper functioning,” the doctor said.

Few patients seek treatment for male menopause, despite its prevalence. For example, only 3 per cent of those affected in Europe in 2006 were receiving treatment. “And only 3 per cent of all the patients I have seen over the last five years had any awareness of the condition,” Dr Al Hashimi said.

As in the case of female menopausal symptoms, there are many hormone replace treatments available for those with low testosterone, such as injections, gels and patches.

“Men over the age of 40 years should regularly screen themselves when visiting their physicians, especially those afflicted with diabetes or obesity. If testosterone levels are lowered, a physician can prescribe some form of treatment, and then screen the patient against any possible side effects,” he said.

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