Testosterone and Geriatric Frailty

Posted by Dr. Michael White, Updated on January 9th, 2024
Reading Time: 5 minutes

Testosterone and Hormone Deficiency Associated with Physiological Decline in Elderly Men

It has long been known that Low-T affects male sexual health in a profound way, leading to sexual insufficiency as well as reduced libido.

There is also a growing understanding with regard to how Testosterone affects male masculinity and physiological health. There is a large push in the medical literature right now to scientifically evaluate how Testosterone Deficiency affects geriatric health and wellness.

Australian Elderly Low-T Study

A recent study was published by Australian researchers and presented at the 16th Annual International Congress of Endocrinology.

With this study, researchers presented strong evidence that geriatric men with Low-T or other forms of sex-hormone deficiency experienced double the risk of experiencing a physiological decline over the course of a two year period when compared to men of the same age with comparatively high sex hormone levels.

The lead researcher for this Elderly Low-T Study was Benjamin Hsu, a representative of the University of Sydney Australia.

He and his research partners collected medical and health information from over 1300 men all at least seventy years of age, which received health exams between the years of 2005 and 2007, which also received a second assessment after two years.

Health Data Collected from CHAMP Patients

All of the patients that were assessed chose to be a part of a medical study group known as the Concord Health and Ageing Project, also known as CHAMP. CHAMP is one of the largest surveys of geriatric health ever collected, and new data continues to be collected.

CHAMP is primarily used for the study of diseases associated with aging, including urinary incontinence, osteoporosis, and Alzheimer's disease, but the data is also highly useful for a wide variety of other medical conditions associated with the aging process, including Testosterone Deficiency and Frailty, the two issues at play in Dr. Hsu's study.

Patients that chose to participate in the CHAMP study were originally recruited in 2005 and 2006. They received a health evaluation as they joined the study, and return for periodic examinations over time.

The ultimate goal of the study is to collect uniform health data after five and ten years, although many patients have chosen to participate more often. 1705 men are participating in the CHAMP study, and over 1300 were considered eligible candidates for this study.

Patients Self-Reported Their Ability To Perform Normal Daily Tasks

Upon entering the study, patients both provided a self-assessment via a medical questionnaire, and also met at Concord Hospital for a three-hour clinical evaluation.

The self-report included questions regarding a wide variety of activities that are associated with one's ability to live and take care of oneself, including their ability to engage in personal hygiene, dress, eat and walk. A part of their clinical evaluation included providing a blood sample that was thoroughly evaluated to provide ample diagnostic data with regard to their health.

All Patients Received Hormone Evaluation

Among this diagnostic data was hormone testing. All patients in the study were evaluated for their levels of both male-associated (dihydrotestosterone and Testosterone) and female associated hormones (estrone and estradiol).

Related to Testosterone, patients also engaged in the examination which gathered data on their strength, including the power of their quadriceps and the strength of their grip.

Hormone Deficiency Inhibits Quality of Life

When the data was analyzed, it was discovered that men that don't produce enough Testosterone, Estrone, or Estradiol are more likely to experience issues with their day-to-day function than men with healthy Testosterone Levels after two years.

The primary issue which induced this frailty appeared to be a reduction in the strength of the muscles, although other factors are likely at play.

Based on the data collected and analyzed, Dr. Hsu and his colleagues came to the conclusion that Testosterone Deficiency leads to reduced quality of life and personal freedom mainly because of the deleterious effects of Low-T upon muscle health.

Harvard Elderly Low-T Study

Other studies have come to similar conclusions. A Harvard study, led by Thomas Storer, examined the relationship between Low-T Treatment and cardiovascular ability.

In particular, they examined how Testosterone Treatment affected the ability of the cardiovascular system to absorb oxygen, as well as the rate at which it could expel lactate.

The data that was used in this study was collected from a previously conducted study of males over sixty-five that were selected because they had issues with frailty which reduced their ability to engage in a normal and healthy everyday life, and also because they were clinically evaluated to suffer from Low-T.

This study involved 64 patients, 36 of which received topical placebo, and 28 patients that received 10 mg of Testosterone Topical Gel.

Participants stayed on this health regimen for six months, then came back for evaluation. Six months is generally considered to be how long for Testosterone Therapy for Low-T to produce significant benefits with regard to health and wellness, especially with regard to physiological muscle health.

Testosterone Increases Aerobic Capacity

To assess aerobic capacity, the participants engaged in cycling exercise both before treatment and after treatment in order to evaluate changes in cardiovascular capacity.

The results were significant. Patients that received a placebo actually experienced a loss of exercise capacity, while those that received Testosterone had a modest increase in their capacity for exercise.

It is considered a normal aspect of aging for the anaerobic capacity to slowly decline as one ages, so the results were quite profound, showing that Testosterone Decline plays a role in increasing frailty associated with aging and that Testosterone Therapy is a valid way to alleviate this aspect of hormone imbalance and improve quality of life.

Subjects on placebo experienced a decline in oxygen absorption which was double the rate at which the researchers hypothesized.

On the other hand, participants that engaged in six months of Testosterone Therapy experienced a decline which was almost 3.5 times slower than was hypothesized.

Similar results were found with regard to the lactate expulsion rate. The experimental group was more readily able to expel this exhaust, which is also an element of peak aerobic capacity.

Researchers were able to conclude, based on this evidence, that Testosterone Therapy Gels had the capacity to slow down the physiological decline which leads to frailty and decreased quality of life.

Geriatric Testosterone Research Booming

The body of evidence with regard to Testosterone and Aging continues to grow. Testosterone is a potent anabolic hormone, and it promotes optimal muscle health for both men and women.

These two studies provide evidence regarding why it is important for men to undergo Hormone Evaluation in order to ensure that their Hormones are in balance and not affecting their quality of life.

Testosterone Misconceived as a Sexual Disorder in America

In America, Testosterone Deficiency is primarily considered by the public as a sexual disorder, so many men don't get tested as they should because they don't realize the serious effects of Low-T move far beyond Sexual function and desire, and how Low-T impacts health in a variety of ways.

Luckily, men do not tend to experience issues with bone health as commonly as women, but this also shows why Testosterone is important.

Men are less at risk of osteoporosis, because their elevated Testosterone Levels, as compared to women, lead them to have stronger bones.

Loss of bone mineral density is a symptom of aging-related to hormone decline, but it tends to become symptomatic far later in the life span, if at all, compared to female patients.

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