WESTON, Fla. - As America's population ages, more men are facing an inevitable but unwelcome change brought on by a drop in male hormone levels.
"After age 30 there's a 1, 1.5 percent decrease in testosterone per year, so certainly by the time men are 60 or 70 years old, we can see a significant decrease in their androgen and testosterone levels," said Dr. Lawrence Hakim, chief of urology at the Cleveland Clinic Florida.
Symptoms of andropause include irritability, weight gain, memory loss, low libido, muscle loss, osteoporosis, cardiac issues and erectile problems.
"That's why it's import to look at androgen levels for overall health," said Hakim.
Simple blood tests can determine whether hormone levels are in normal ranges.
"This could be anywhere from 200 to 1,000, depending on the individual. The levels, combined with the presence of symptoms, gives us reason to consider treatment," said Hakim.
Treatment includes hormone replacement through patches, gels or injections.
"It's not something men should do on their own. They need to see an expert so that it's safe and we reduce the risk or side effects of taking these medicines," he said.
Hormone replacement therapy is not recommended for men with a risk or history of prostate cancer.
Screening tests can reveal whether an individual is at risk of prostate problems.
Copyright 2011 by Post-Newsweek Stations. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed