Hypogonadism and Osteoporosis in Men

Decreases in physical performance can adversely the effect bone mass density

What is Hypogonadism

Typically as males age past the second decade of life, decreases in sexual function and sexual hormone (testosterone) production begin. Hypogonadism is the medical term for this decrease past the bottom of what is considered normal production of testosterone by the gonads. The gonads, non-medically referred to as testicles in males, produce the following:

  • Testosterone
  • Estradiol
  • Progesterone
  • Gametes or sperm

Hypogonadism can be diagnosed through a physician ordered lab blood test. The test is preferably ordered earlier in the day, when testosterone levels are highest, as these levels can decrease by 13% throughout the day.

Normal blood testosterone levels range from 300 – 1000 ng/dL, therefore most commonly; the men tested that fall below the 300 range can be diagnosed with hypogonadism. A few more serious symptoms can include but are not limited to:

  • Sexual – Lower desire for sexual activity, infertility, and erectile dysfunction
  • Motivational – Fatigue and difficulty concentrating
  • Psychological – Depression, irritability, and anxiety
  • Physiological – Muscle loss/atrophy and abdominal fat retention

Bone Mass Density Implications

A 10 ml vial of Depo-Testosterone (), an .

A 10 ml vial of Depo-Testosterone, an injectable medication that is frequently prescribed to treat Hypogonadism (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

With a combination of diminishing motivation and physiological effects of muscular loss, males with this condition place decreasing amounts of load on their musculoskeletal system than males without hypogonadism. The inability to place large loads or to have loading events that do not exceed nominal stress levels on bone mass, degradation of bone mineral density will occur. Bone and muscle have a symbiotic relationship, and the degradation of one, inevitably impacts the other. Males who feel the above symptoms are relevant to them can inquire with their physicians for the proper blood test. If hypogonadism is diagnosed, multiple treatment options are available, but inquiry for bone density testing is also appropriate. If proper treatment protocols are followed, as well as a healthy diet, individuals can restore both muscular mass and bone mass density with resistance training exercise.

Research is currently being done on more powerful exercise interventions that place the exerciser in safer positions, reducing risk of injury while also providing a far more powerful stimulation to muscle and bone.

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