I really like the introduction the author’s of this study give. My notes are in [brackets] along the way.
For the average clinician, testosterone is the hormone that subserves reproductive and sexual functioning. [In other words, the average doc believes it has a function, and that function is to make sure men have a penis, can get an erection, and can procreate – period]
Further connotations of the hormone are that testosterone is an etiological factor in prostate cancer, presumed from the clinical experience that androgen ablation in eligible patients is a successful treatment method for prostate cancer. [Etiological essentially means THE CAUSE OF so the common belief is that testosterone, nasty thing that it is, is the cause of prostate cancer so what they have done for some men is “ablate” the androgen. That is to say they effectively castrate the man so that NO TESTOSTERONE is produced.]
Additionally, testosterone is perceived as a risk factor for cardiovascular disease accounting for the significantly higher prevalence of coronary heart disease (CHD) in men as compared to women. Mortality from CHD is at least twice as high in men as it is in women. This is true in all areas of the world whether in a high incidence area (like in UK/ Scotland) or in a low incidence area like in Japan. This relationship persists at all ages, so that at any age coronary death rates are higher in men than in women. This sex difference has been attributed to the difference in profiles of circulating sex steroids, with testosterone as the most obvious difference between the sexes.
Careful analysis has proven both assumptions wrong. Estrogens are not cardio-protective and there is no solid evidence that testosterone is a significant factor in the etiology of prostate cancer and of cardiovascular disease. But these traditional beliefs are deeply rooted and it will require thorough physician education before these beliefs are abandoned.
Most elderly men presenting with diabetes type 2 suffer from the metabolic syndrome. The metabolic syndrome is an insulin resistance syndrome with simultaneous occurrence of abdominal obesity, impaired fasting glucose, impaired glucose tolerance or overt type 2 diabetes, dyslipidemia and hypertension. Other medical disorders, such as erectile dysfunction and lower urinary tract symptoms, are also associated with this cluster of symptoms.
Most important, the metabolic syndrome results in a severe increase of morbidity and mortality. The incidence of metabolic syndrome increases rapidly both in the western world, and even more in developing countries. Although the metabolic syndrome currently receives wide attention, it was described more than 80 years ago, and the significance of abdominal obesity was already noted 60 years ago.
The conclusion is that elderly men with type 2 diabetes often have hypogonadal values [lower than optimal and necessary for health and normal physiological functioning] of circulating testosterone and that clinical studies are being conducted to test whether normalization of circulating testosterone levels might contribute to the improvement of the metabolic control in men with diabetes type 2 and the wide array of its complications.
Here’s a link to the full article PDF