Testosterone is known as the “typically male hormone” due to its ability to affect what we generally perceive as “manliness” – the amount of muscle mass in a man’s body and the way it is distributed, the body type, and even the performance in the bedroom. No wonder that having low testosterone levels inevitably leads to a decline in “manliness” and consequent problems regarding general health, relationships, and other spheres of life. However, there is more to the impact of testosterone on the male body than even scientists know, and certainly a lot more than an average person knows. For instance, are you aware that low testosterone levels could significantly increase your risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis at some point in your life? Most likely, you aren’t, so keep reading this article to find out more about this connection.
Does Low T Can Increase My Risk of Suffering from Rheumatoid Arthritis?
Yes, apparently it does, and quite accurately at that. In a series of recent studies researchers have focused on comparing the rate of rheumatoid arthritis in men who suffered from low testosterone levels as opposed to those who did not. The results are rather alarming, as there clearly is a connection between the amount of testosterone present in a man’s body and his predisposition to rheumatoid arthritis.
Rheumatoid arthritis (and most other forms of arthritis) are significantly more common among women than men. RA is known to affect female patients two to three times more often as compared to male patients. The overall rate of American population affected by any form of arthritis is around 25% for women and only 18% for men, so there is a clear distinction between the numbers of female and male arthritis patients. Given that rheumatoid arthritis is a lot more likely to affect men with low T, it’s easy to conclude that the likelihood of suffering from arthritis is directly connected to the testosterone levels regardless of the patient’s sex. Indeed, women generally do not have large amounts of testosterone in their bodies because it is up to estrogen in a female body to accomplish what testosterone does for men.
Another, more in-depth study found that it wasn’t rheumatoid arthritis but a particular type of the disease (known as RF-negative RA or seronegative RA) that was the most likely to affect men with low T. This explains the fact that men who have low testosterone levels develop rheumatoid arthritis even if they initially test negative for rheumatoid factor – a common indicator used to predict the likelihood of developing RA later in life. The rheumatoid arthritis risk remains higher for patients who have low T even after taking in consideration other risk factors for arthritis, such as obesity, sedentary lifestyle, and smoking.
What Can I Do to Protect Myself from Low T Induced Rheumatoid Arthritis?
Decreasing testosterone levels are associated with aging in men, so it is important to watch out for any signs of hormonal changes in your body if you’re aged 40 and older. Some healthcare providers argue that low T occurs in younger men with growing frequency, and according to statistics, over 25% of men aged over 30 do have low testosterone levels. Men are also significantly less likely than women to consult a doctor about the changes that occur in their bodies when they grow older, so it is often more difficult to help male patients manage the effects of low T because they seek help much later than they should have.
Thus, do not be afraid to make that appointment with your healthcare provider to discuss the following hormonal changes in your body, their reasons and possible implications for your health, and ways of managing them:
- decreased daily energy and activity levels
- frequent mood changes
- loss of bone and muscle mass
- increased levels of body fat, particularly in the abdominal area
- lower semen volumes when ejaculating
- erectile difficulties
These issues are the most prominent symptoms of declining testosterone levels in men, but they are not the only ones. If you notice that you experience several or more of these symptoms along with other signs that your body is not functioning the way it used to, it is time for you to “man up” and consult your medical practitioner to have your testosterone levels checked.