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Low T?

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By: Robert F. Geimer

Thanks to pharmaceutical company advertising, the phrase “Low T” has entered the American vernacular.  Such ads make it seem like “Low T” is a normal part of male aging and that a prescription for a testosterone supplement should be the norm for aging males.  The problem is, we are learning that prescription testosterone supplements carry significant risks.  In an Op-Ed piece in the New York Times, Dr. John La Puma points to a study in the journal PLoS ONE which found that taking the hormone doubled the rate of heart attacks in men 65 and older, as well as in younger men who had heart disease.  The level of concern is such that the FDA has launched an investigation.  Additionally, prescription testosterone is associated with dramatic increases in red blood cells in the bloodstream, shrunken testes and increased aggression and irritability.  Before taking this medication, every man should have a full discussion with his physician and consider whether the risks outweigh the benefits.

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