High Testosterone? Maybe Real Health Problems, Too

OK.  It's what a lot of men want, and some pretend to have.  We're talking higher levels of testosterone.  But now a new study is finding that obese men with this have poorer sleep quality.

It's important because poor sleep quality has been linked to increased risk of diabetes and hypertension.

Many obese men suffer from sleep apnea, another disorder that disrupts sleep patterns.  With this problem, you can stop breathing up to a hundred times of night -- and not even know it.  People who snore may also have this illness.

The selection of the men in the study did not consider whether they had symptoms or a history of sleep apnea, according to newswise.com. However, the sleep study showed that 66 percent of the men did have obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), which was moderately severe in most cases.

OSA can lead to an increased risk of heart disease, deadly accidents (the engineer on the Metro North train that veered out of control and killed four people this winter suffered from it), and the possibility that you may very well die of that heart disease.

But shallow sleep can also come from other things.  Later analyses demonstrated that higher total testosterone level strongly correlated with more shallow sleep. This association was independent from the presence of other factors known to decrease sleep quality, such as age, race/ethnicity and OSA severity.

Because doctors are increasingly prescribing testosterone replacement therapy for middle-aged and older men with low testosterone levels, they might want to put the brakes on it.  Experts believe further studies are needed to clarify the impact of testosterone replacement on sleep quality.

Lawrence Hirsch, DDS
Rego Park, NY


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