Diabetes has taken a toll on India and our nation falls in the top two countries that are leading in this disease. This data is not at all to be proud of. Diabetes doesn’t come alone but comes with a variety of diseases and such combination has proved to be fatal.
But let’s talk about other changes in the body which affect the everyday life of the individual diagnosed with diabetes. The National Health Service (NHS) records that around one in six men with type 2 diabetes have low levels of testosterone, which can lead to decreased libido and motivation, loss of muscle mass and increased body fat around the waist.
What is testosterone?
Testosterone is a hormone, a chemical messenger that is responsible for the development of male sexual characteristics, masculine features including the male genitals and other characteristics like facial hair, deepening of the voice and muscle development.
Although females also produce testosterone, albeit usually in smaller amounts and it is associated with their libido after the menopause, the balance of testosterone helps them to maintain it.
Women with significantly high levels of testosterone may experience irregular periods and increased body hair and muscle mass.
That’s why testosterone does not only affect biologically but mentally too. Men with type 2 diabetes are twice as likely to have low testosterone levels as men who don't have diabetes.
Diagnosing low levels
The major symptoms of low testosterone levels tend to be low sex drive, reduced erection strength, and reduced physical strength, fatigue, and changes in mood.
Generally testosterone imbalance is caused by stress, and the condition may improve by regular exercising, taking therapies such as cognitive behavioural therapy, or through mindfulness.
If hypogonadism, reduction or absence of hormone secretion or other physiological activities of the testes are confirmed, you may be offered testosterone replacement therapy to help restore normal levels of the hormone and relieve the symptoms.
Fluctuations and solutions
Most patients are not aware of the effect of chemical and how certain medication can decrease testosterone levels rather than increase. Medications like ketoconazole, spironolactone, certain antidepressants, anabolic steroids used for building muscles and improving athletic performance should be avoided.
Initially when your muscles build you feel satisfied but eventually depression sets in. The medication works better if followed by good diet and lifestyle.
Consider eating more cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, sprouts, cabbage, radish, all of which have photochemical that can lower bad oestrogens and potentially lessen their negative impact on testosterone levels.
Red meat is particularly good due to its higher levels of saturated fat and zinc, a mineral associated with higher testosterone levels.