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Truth about Male Menopause

Posted on January 11, 2018 | No Comments on Truth about Male Menopause

Question: Is there such a thing as male menopause? And is it true that if you have it, you are more prone to diabetes?

Such intriguing questions easily raise interest among men, especially for those who are 50 years or older. The best answer to the first question is YES, BUT NOT QUITETHE SAME! Hormonal changes following menopause in females are quite well-established even among lay people. Husbands of menopausal females are familiar with the telltale signs of the so-called “change” heralded by the cessation of the “monthly visits”, accompanied by hot flashes, mood changes and the like. Abrupt drop in the levels of the female hormones explain the chain of events affecting the women’s general health and well-being.This phenomenon is truly in the category of “common knowledge”.

In contrast, the hormonal changes among aging males follow a continuously slow course of decreasing male hormone levels (testosterone). There is no parallel or equivalent event to mark that change in a man’s life. Aging males, in fact, differ in their testosterone levels and although there is clear pattern of dropping testosterone levels as men age, only 20 to 30% of aging men will have abnormal or significantly low male hormone IeveIs.As expected, males will have varying manifestations of such change in hormone levels. Put simply, some men will report no major symptoms except perhaps for low energy level but a few will complain of weakness, exercise intolerance, decrease in interest in sexual activity (libido) and more.

Andropause has been coined as the equivalent of the female menopause but it has become clear that the processes of aging and the sex hormone changes are not quite the same for men and women. Andropause implies a “pause”, therefore, a stop or cessation and therefore, is not an accurate term. A more acceptable term to label the slow and subtle change in male hormone levels is Partial Androgen Deficiency in the Aging Male (PADAM), simply stated as the incomplete lack of male hormone (also known as androgen) related to aging in men.

What then are the effects of PADAM? In particular, will it predispose the aging male to diseases like diabetes?

Aging in male is associated with decline in muscle strength and change in bone density (again not as dramatic as the osteoporosis seen in women). The other significant effects include increased body fat, decreased muscle mass and decreased physical performance and activity. These changes appear to have both direct and indirect effects on the aging male’s bodily functions, including handling of the major nutrients, or food. Due to a tendency to gain weight, especially in the abdominal region (love handles or beer belly), to be less active and to eat more than what the aging body needs, the aging male becomes prone to age-related and so-called lifestyle diseases, which include DIABETES, HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE, and HIGH CHOLESTEROL LEVELS. These conditions, together with being OVERWEIGHT, increase the risk for heart disease, the number 1 health problem and killer disease of modern society.

Addressing men’s health should include evaluation of age-related changes that can influence risk for heart disease and related problems.Your doctor knows the best way to get that done. See your doctor.

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