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      International web survey shows high prevalence of symptomatic testosterone deficiency in men

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          Though the clinical significance of testosterone deficiency is becoming increasingly apparent, its prevalence in the general population remains unrecognised. A large web-based survey was undertaken over 3 years to study the scale of this missed diagnosis.


          An online questionnaire giving the symptoms characterising testosterone deficiency syndrome (Aging Male Symptoms – AMS – scale) was set up on three web sites, together with questions about possible contributory factors. Results. Of over 10,000 men, mainly from the UK and USA, who responded, 80% had moderate or severe scores likely to benefit from testosterone replacement therapy (TRT). The average age was 52, but with many in their 40s when the diagnosis of ‘late onset hypogonadism’ is not generally considered. Other possible contributory factors to the high testosterone deficiency scores reported were obesity (29%), alcohol (17.3%), testicular problems such as mumps orchitis (11.4%), prostate problems (5.6%), urinary infection (5.2%) and diabetes 5.7%.


          In this self-selected large international sample of men, there was a very high prevalence of scores which if clinically relevant would warrant a therapeutic trial of testosterone treatment. This study suggests that there are large numbers of men in the community whose testosterone deficiency is neither being diagnosed nor treated.

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          Most cited references 37

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          Effects of testosterone on muscle strength, physical function, body composition, and quality of life in intermediate-frail and frail elderly men: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study.

          Physical frailty is associated with reduced muscle strength, impaired physical function, and quality of life. Testosterone (T) increases muscle mass and strength in hypogonadal patients. It is unclear whether T has similar effects in intermediate-frail and frail elderly men with low to borderline-low T. Our objective was to determine the effects of 6 months T treatment in intermediate-frail and frail elderly men, on muscle mass and strength, physical function, and quality of life. We conducted a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel-group, single-center study. PARTICIPANTS were community-dwelling intermediate-frail and frail elderly men at least 65 yr of age with a total T at or below 12 nmol/liter or free T at or below 250 pmol/liter. Two hundred seventy-four participants were randomized to transdermal T (50 mg/d) or placebo gel for 6 months. Outcome measures included muscle strength, lean and fat mass, physical function, and self-reported quality of life. Isometric knee extension peak torque improved in the T group (vs. placebo at 6 months), adjusted difference was 8.6 (95% confidence interval, 1.3-16.0; P = 0.02) Newton-meters. Lean body mass increased and fat mass decreased significantly in the T group by 1.08 +/- 1.8 and 0.9 +/- 1.6 kg, respectively. Physical function improved among older and frailer men. Somatic and sexual symptom scores decreased with T treatment; adjusted difference was -1.2 (-2.4 to -0.04) and -1.3 (-2.5 to -0.2), respectively. T treatment in intermediate-frail and frail elderly men with low to borderline-low T for 6 months may prevent age-associated loss of lower limb muscle strength and improve body composition, quality of life, and physical function. Further investigations are warranted to extend these results.
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            Fifty-two-week treatment with diet and exercise plus transdermal testosterone reverses the metabolic syndrome and improves glycemic control in men with newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes and subnormal plasma testosterone.

            Men with the metabolic syndrome (MetS) and type 2 diabetes (T2D) often have low testosterone levels. Elevating low testosterone levels may improve features of the MetS and glycemic control. In a single blind, 52-week randomized clinical trial, the effects of supervised diet and exercise (D&E) with or without transdermal testosterone administration on components of the MetS in hypogonadal men with the MetS and newly diagnosed T2D were assessed. A total of 32 hypogonadal men (total testosterone <12.0 nmol/L) with newly diagnosed T2D and with the MetS as defined by the Adult Treatment Panel III and the International Diabetes Federation received supervised D&E, but 16 received it in combination with testosterone gel (50 mg) once daily (n = 16). No glucose-lowering agents were administered prior to or during the study period. Outcome measures were components of the MetS as defined by the Adult Treatment Panel III and the International Diabetes Federation. Serum testosterone, glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA(1c)), fasting plasma glucose, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, triglyceride concentrations, and the waist circumference improved in both treatment groups after 52 weeks of treatment. Addition of testosterone significantly further improved these measures compared with D&E alone. All D&E plus testosterone patients reached the HbA(1c) goal of less than 7.0%; 87.5% of them reached an HbA(1c) of less than 6.5%. Based on Adult Treatment Panel III guidelines, 81.3% of the patients randomized to D&E plus testosterone no longer matched the criteria of the MetS, whereas 31.3% of the D&E alone participants did. Additionally, testosterone treatment improved insulin sensitivity, adiponectin, and high-sensitivity C-reactive protein. Addition of testosterone to supervised D&E results in greater therapeutic improvements of glycemic control and reverses the MetS after 52 weeks of treatment in hypogonadal patients with the MetS and newly diagnosed T2D.
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              Validation of a screening questionnaire for androgen deficiency in aging males.

              It is now well established that testosterone levels decline with age. What has not been established is whether the decline in testosterone is associated with a symptom complex. This study examined whether certain symptoms are more commonly present in males with low bioavailable testosterone (BT) levels. These were used to evaluate a questionnaire for androgen deficiency in aging males (ADAM). The validity of the ADAM questionnaire to screen for low BT was tested in 316 Canadian physicians aged 40 to 62 years. Low BT levels were present in 25% of this population. None had elevated luteinizing hormone (LH) levels. The ADAM questionnaire had 88% sensitivity and 60% specificity. When the questionnaire was administered twice 2 to 4 weeks apart to 10 men, it was determined that the coefficient of variation was 11.5%. In a second study of 34 ADAM-positive patients, 37% of those with clearly normal BT levels demonstrated some evidence of dysphoria. Finally, in 21 patients who were treated with testosterone, improvement on the ADAM questionnaire was demonstrated in 18 (P = .002). These data support the concept of a symptom complex associated with low BT levels in aging males. In addition, the ADAM questionnaire appears to be a reasonable screening questionnaire to detect androgen deficiency in males over 40 years of age.

                Author and article information

                Aging Male
                The Aging Male
                Informa Healthcare
                March 2011
                27 August 2010
                : 14
                : 1
                : 10-15
                [1 ]Department of Chemical Pathology, The Ulster Hospital, Belfast, United Kingdom
                [2 ]Institute of Urology and Nephrology, University College Hospital, London, United Kingdom
                [3 ]Centre for Men’s Health, London, United Kingdom
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Dr. Malcolm Carruthers, Centre for Men’s Health, 20/20 Harley Street, London, W1G 9PH, United Kingdom. Tel: +44(0)2076368283. Fax: +44(0)2076368292. E-mail: carruthers@
                © 2011 Informa UK, Ltd.

                This is an open access article distributed under the Supplemental Terms and Conditions for iOpenAccess articles published in Informa Healthcare journals , which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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