TESTOSTERONE DEFICIENCY SYNDROME (TDS)
New campaign aims to raise awareness
A new health campaign, “Revive Your Drive” has launched to raise awareness of Testosterone Deficiency Syndrome (TDS).
The campaign, sponsored by Bayer Schering Pharma, encourages men to answer 10 quick questions to determine whether they need to get their testosterone levels checked.
Up to 37% of men with erectile dysfunction and 42% of men with Type 2 diabetes have symptomatic TDS, but it is often left under-diagnosed and under-treated in adult men.
There is an easy and quick screening test called Androgen Deficiency in the Aging Male (ADAM) Test. You can easily test yourself whether you likely have TDS or not.
You can also check the Calculator of ADAM Test here
About Testosterone Deficiency Syndrome
Testosterone deficiency syndrome (TDS), also known as hypogonadism, occurs in men with low testosterone levels who experience one or more of the following symptoms:
- Lethargy and fatigue
- Erectile dysfunction (ED)
- Diminished sexual desire/libido
- Increased abdominal fat (waist circumference > 102cm)
- Depressed mood or irritability
- Decreased cognitive function
- Hot flushes or sweating
- Decreased lean body mass and muscle volume/strength
- Decreased body hair and skin alterations
- Low sperm count
- Low bone mineral density or increased incidence of fractures
Low testosterone levels are also linked with an increased death rate in men and reduced sexual desire. It is often observed in the presence of common chronic illnesses such as heart disease and diabetes.
Although relatively unknown, TDS is quite common, affecting one in every 200 men and one in ten men over the age of 50 years.
There are two main types of hypogonadism and each has its own cause; these are referred to as primary and secondary hypogonadism. In this section we explain the basic differences between the two and list a few of the conditions linked to them. We will also look at a third kind of hypogonadism, late-onset hypogonadism, which tends to develop later in life.
Primary hypogonadism is the term used for low testosterone resulting from a problem within the testes. This may be due to a genetic cause, the most common of which is Klinefelter’s syndrome, or due to physical damage to, or removal of, one or both of the testes.
In Klinefelter’s syndrome the testes develop poorly. This means that during puberty the testosterone level does not rise as it usually would in other teenage boys. Therefore muscle growth and body hair may not develop as they do in most teenagers. Additionally, the voice is unlikely to break and a man’s overall appearance may be less masculine.
Illnesses such as mumps, cancer, liver or kidney disease and diabetes can also affect the testes and cause primary hypogonadism.
Secondary hypogonadism results when the complex hormonal system responsible for producing male sex hormones goes out of balance or breaks down. When the system works properly the testosterone level is kept within a normal (or ‘physiological’) range by the release of a system or cascade of hormones (collectively known as ‘sex hormones’). These are regulated by two parts of the brain – the hypothalamus sends the first hormone which then triggers the pituitary gland to release two more hormones (luteinising hormone and follicle-stimulating hormone). These then stimulate the testes to produce testosterone and sperm.
This cascade is illustrated in the diagram overleaf.
Treatments for TDS
Testosterone replacement therapies are effective for treating the features of TDS and are available in a number of formulations:
- Transdermal gel
- Long-acting injection
- Short-acting injections
- Oral treatment
- Subcutaneous implants/ testosterone pellets/ testopel
For more information you can click links to references below.