Type 2 Diabetes and Low Testosterone: Is There a Link?
Recent studies have revealed a lot about low testosterone in men. As men age, their bodies naturally begin to produce less testosterone, however, in some men, levels can dip low enough and early enough in life to result in a variety of overall health and sexual consequences.
While science remains unsure of the exact connection between low testosterone and high blood sugar, there’s enough evidence to indicate that some relationship exists between the two conditions. In this post, we’ll examine how low testosterone and Type 2 diabetes might be linked and what you should know about the connection moving forward.
What is Testosterone?
Testosterone is a sex hormone that regulates a variety of processes in the human body. The impact of testosterone goes well beyond what most people think of – sex drive and muscle mass – to include things like bone mass, fat distribution, and the production of red blood cells.
As we age, testosterone production typically decreases. This is just a normal part of the aging process. However, how much it drops varies person by person, and in some individuals, it can fall to the point that treatment is necessary to avoid sexual dysfunction and other health consequences.
Low Testosterone and Blood Sugar
Is there a connection between Type 2 diabetes and low testosterone? While the science is still being studied, according to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), we know that men with Type 2 diabetes are twice as likely to develop low testosterone as men without diabetes. That’s a pretty telling fact. So, what is the relationship?
If you’re a person living with Type 2 diabetes, you already know that the disease is related to the body’s inability to produce or adequately use insulin, a hormone released by the pancreas that enables the body’s cells to turn blood glucose into energy necessary for the body to function properly.
When a person has difficulty processing insulin it’s called “insulin resistance” and evidence points to the fact that low testosterone can increase insulin resistance, therefore, further inhibiting the body’s ability to process blood sugar.
Does Low Testosterone Cause Type 2 Diabetes?
This is the proverbial million-dollar question? Does low testosterone cause diabetes by contributing to insulin resistance or does Type 2 diabetes lead to low testosterone as would be indicated by the statistics of the ADA?
The truth is, we don’t know for sure, and it very well may work both ways. We know that men with Type 2 diabetes are more likely to develop low testosterone. Some studies also show that men suffering from low testosterone are more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes at some later point in their lives.
Low Testosterone and Other Health Concerns Related to Type 2 Diabetes
The relationship between low testosterone and Type 2 diabetes gets even more complicated when you consider other health concerns that seem to be related to both conditions.
It’s no big newsflash that weight and Type 2 diabetes are intricately connected. What you might not know is that about 90% of people with Type 2 diabetes are either obese or overweight with a body mass index (BMI) of at least 25. That is the vast majority of cases. What does this have to do with low testosterone? The instances of low testosterone are 2.5 times higher for obese men than for those able to maintain a healthy weight. So, there’s a very good chance that both having Type 2 diabetes and being overweight can further contribute to the risk of low testosterone.
High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)
High blood pressure is also a health condition commonly associated with Type 2 diabetes. In fact, it’s predominant with two out of every three individuals who have Type 2 diabetes also taking medications to control their high blood pressure. Hypertension is also related to low testosterone. In fact, people with high blood pressure are 1.8 times more likely to develop low testosterone than those with normal BP levels.
Low Testosterone and Heart Disease
If testosterone deficiencies are, indeed, linked to an increase in insulin resistance, Type 2 diabetes, as well as obesity and high blood pressure, it’s only logical to assume that low testosterone is also related to cardiovascular disease.
Symptoms of Low Testosterone
According to the ADA, the symptoms of low testosterone of often overlooked and include:
– Erectile Dysfunction (ED)
– Feeling Depressed
– A Loss of Energy
If you have diabetes, high blood pressure, or are overweight and find yourself experiencing any of these symptoms, you should talk to your doctor. Testing for low testosterone can be done with a simple blood test, and these days there are a variety of treatment options depending on your symptoms, including gels, patches and supplements that can increase your testosterone levels, as well as medications that can assist with erectile dysfunction.
The question remains. Does Type 2 diabetes lead to low testosterone or does low testosterone contribute to the development of Type 2 diabetes? Likely, there’s a give and take to the connection that goes both ways, but regardless there seems to be little doubt that a link exists. Should you have any questions regarding low testosterone, consult with your diabetes physician or endocrinologist. Never make any additions or changes to your diabetes treatment program without first consulting with your doctor.
We hope you found this post helpful. At Diabetic Warehouse, we’re committed to helping those with diabetes manage blood sugar with a complete selection of testing and treatment supplies at prices up to 65% less than those found at most pharmacies and suppliers.
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Interesting. I have had low testaterone for 30 years or so, now have type 2 diabetes.