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Are you old before your time?

Written by: Centre for Men's Health

Many of the Centre for Men’s Health’s patients who have turned to us for help have described their suffering as feeling ‘old before their time’. Fatigue, depression, irritability, and reduced libido and potency are the commonest symptoms. Besides lack of sex drive, there is often loss of drive in professional or business life. Physically there is frequently stiffness and pain in the muscles and joints, symptoms of gout, and a rapidly deteriorating level of fitness. There may also be signs of the accelerated ageing of the heart and circulation. However, as the Centre for Men’s Health’s Chief Medical Consultant Dr Malcolm Carruthers explains,“Although many of the symptoms are like those of natural ageing, they’re like premature ageing and you don’t have to put up with them, because they can be reversed.”

As Dr Carruthers observes in his book, ‘Testosterone Revolution’ (now available on Kindle – all proceeds donated to charity) “Why should one man in his forties or fifties suffer all the miseries of testosterone deficiency and another in his seventies or eighties escapes them entirely. It reminds me of a cold, damp and miserable Viking warrior standing on a bleak landscape in a thunderstorm, shaking his fist at the sky and crying out, ‘Why me, O Lord? Why me?’ After pausing for thought, a thunderous voice from the heavens replies, ‘Why not?’ Similarly, although the roots of testosterone deficiency can usually be traced to one or several events, sometimes its causes remain unknown.”

Research in over 2,000 patients at the Centre for Men’s Health has shown that the main causes of testosterone deficiency are stress, excess alcohol, overweight, lack of exercise, and vasectomy, added to the general effects of ageing. We have shown scientifically for the first time that there may sometimes be a low absolute level of testosterone, but more often there is a relative deficiency due to a range of factors stopping it working effectively even when the level of this key hormone is normal.

Medicine in the 21st century faces a series of major challenges. In particular, the ageing population is set to increase markedly over the next few decades. Responsible testosterone replacement may be a way to reduce the predicted large numbers of dependent elderly who are likely to need care from the health services. The watershed which doctors face in the 21st century, of increasing levels of metabolic disease, Alzheimer’s disease, cardiovascular disease and depression is likely to overwhelm existing health resources. Preventative measures together with the help of these new hormonally based approaches may be part of the solution.

Testosterone and oestrogen have both been used to prevent and treat heart and circulatory disease. Their beneficial actions have been proved in many research studies and these hormones also maintain the condition of the skin, muscles and bones. Therefore it seems reasonable to expect that, by giving nature a helping hand on a scientifically regulated and carefully monitored basis, we could slow down the ageing processes and prolong active and enjoyable life. It is the philosophy of the Centre for Men’s Health that the present careful research in the rapidly expanding field of hormone replacement therapy in both sexes will lay the foundation for preventive medicine in the 21st Century.

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