By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
4/28/2014 (1 year ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
Testosterone is a male hormone that is being avidly bought up by gentlemen seeking to combat fatigue and spark up a dwindling sex drive. The hormone is being handed out like so much candy at dubious clinics in big cities. It must be noted that men who resort to this practice are putting their health in danger.
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - As the majority of testosterone prescriptions, usually written out by questionable practitioners, is paid for in cash, it's hard to track down the official number of men who take the supplement. This has raised concerns among doctors who specialize in hormonal problems.
Clinics who indiscriminately hand out the hormone generally aren't interested in looking at the complex medical problems that hide behind low energy and decreased sex drive. These symptoms include sleep apnea, depression and, perhaps most importantly, heart disease.
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"Any man who presents, especially in his 40s and 50s, with new onset erectile dysfunction is at an increased risk for cardiovascular disease and even heart attack or myocardial infarction," Edward Karpman, a board certified urologist and the medical director of the at El Camino Hospital in Los Gatos, California says.
Even in the best of times, hormone treatment itself is never without risk. A recent study found more than 55,000 men found a doubling of heart-attack risk among older men who used testosterone. Younger men who had a history of heart disease had a higher incidence of nonfatal heart attacks. Men who are on prolonged high-level testosterone replacement therapy can experience testicular shrinkage.
While there are success stories of men who take testosterone and lose weight, regain their libidos and energy, there are still many risks. Testosterone is generally not handed out by general practitioners unless the products are approved by the FDA. It's usually never prescribed unless low testosterone is associated with a medical condition.
Dr. Bradley Anawalt calls the low-T clinics "sex hormone factories" that promote all the potential virtues and great myths about how testosterone may solve all problems. "They're really out to prescribe as much testosterone as they possibly can, and it's not clear that all these practices are completely safe," he says.
State medical boards typically investigate clinics only when patients file complaints, and there hasn't been an outpouring of accusations against testosterone clinics. A review of physicians working for a number of "low-T" clinics found that very few specialized in urology or endocrinology. One doctor at a Chicago clinic and another in Fort Lauderdale were found to be anesthesiologists; in Houston, an allergist; in Phoenix, an osteopath; and in Washington, D.C., an obstetrician-gynecologist.
"There is some hope that state or federal governments will start to crack down and regulate unscrupulous prescription of testosterone to men, and perhaps they will review the practices of these clinics," Anawalt says.