As people age, one of the biggest worries is the development of Alzheimer's disease or other forms of dementia. No one wants to face the end of their life without their memories and relying heavily on caretakers. Fortunately, testosterone therapy may protect against Alzheimer's. This possible treatment could not have come better, as the EU is facing an impending surge in the illness.
Alzheimer's disease is a progressive condition that starts with mild memory loss and can eventually lead to an inability to communicate or respond to the surroundings, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
More than a third of seniors pass away with Alzheimer's disease or another type of dementia, and it is responsible for more deaths than breast and prostate cancer combined, as per the Alzheimer's Association.
Currently, approximately six million Americans have Alzheimer's disease, but as the Baby Boomer generation ages, this number is expected to increase to almost 13 million in less than three decades. Deaths from Alzheimer's disease have risen by a staggering 145%, while those from heart disease have declined by over 7% between 2019 and 2020. Nearly three-quarters of Alzheimer's patients are aged 72 or older. After the age of 65, the number of people with the disease doubles every five years. Alzheimer's disease affects around a third of people over the age of 85.
The cause of Alzheimer's disease is not entirely clear, but it is not a typical aspect of ageing. Some patients may have a genetic predisposition. Diet, environmental, and lifestyle factors contribute to the condition. It is possible to reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease by maintaining a healthy diet and engaging in physical, mental, and social activities.
Low Testosterone and Alzheimer's Disease
The function of the brain can be positively influenced by hormones such as testosterone and estrogen in some instances. According to a study published in Molecular Neurobiology in May 2016, low levels of testosterone in elderly men significantly increase the likelihood of developing Alzheimer's disease. Additionally, lower testosterone levels are a risk factor for cognitive decline in older men.
A University of Hong Kong study followed 153 Chinese men over the age of 55 who were recruited from social centres. Although none of them showed signs of dementia, 47 participants exhibited mild cognitive impairment, which included memory loss and difficulty with clear thinking.
Within a year of the study's commencement, 10 of the men with mild cognitive impairment developed Alzheimer's disease, all of whom had low testosterone levels. These individuals also shared high blood pressure and elevated levels of ApoE 4 (apolipoprotein E) protein, which is known to increase the risk of Alzheimer's disease.
A study conducted in Australia evaluated the effects of short-term supplemental testosterone on 44 older men who had reported "subjective memory complaint" and low to low-normal testosterone levels. The men were initially subject to a battery of neuropsychological tests, which served as a baseline. They were then randomly divided into two groups, with Group A receiving testosterone for 24 weeks, followed by a four-week washout, followed by 24 weeks of receiving a placebo. Group B received the opposite treatment in reverse order, beginning with a placebo and ending with testosterone supplements.
After receiving testosterone treatment, Group A showed a 1-point improvement in general cognitive functioning according to the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE). This improvement was similar when comparing post-testosterone testing to post-placebo testing. However, Group B displayed a significant increase from baseline after testosterone treatment and a tendency toward an increase after placebo treatment. No difference in baseline depression scores was observed in either group.
The study showed a slight overall global cognition improvement after testosterone therapy. The researchers emphasized that more extensive clinical trials are necessary to determine the significance of testosterone treatment conclusively.
While advancing in age is the leading cause of low testosterone, it is not the sole factor. As men grow older, their testosterone production decreases by approximately 1% every year after they reach 30. Overweight, younger men frequently have testosterone levels below average.
Conditions such as hemochromatosis, which results in excess iron storage in the body, can reduce testosterone levels. Any injury to the testicles might impede the body's ability to produce testosterone, and the same is valid for steroid use. Cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy or radiation may suffer from a loss of testosterone.
Certain medications can decrease testosterone levels. You must inform your doctor about any prescription, over-the-counter medication, or supplement.
Symptoms such as cognitive impairment or memory loss are usually linked to low testosterone levels, and they may also indicate early stages of dementia. Additionally, low testosterone can cause other symptoms, such as:
The likelihood of developing Alzheimer's disease is higher for women than men. Because estrogen levels decrease after menopause, which could provide some defence, on the other hand, testosterone production continues for men throughout their lives, although it does decrease with age.
Testosterone therapy is not recommended for those with a history of prostate or other cancers, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, kidney or liver disease, or sleep apnea. Additionally, some men may experience side effects such as:
To relieve symptoms, the doctor may adjust the dosage.
Studies showing promise indicate that testosterone therapy may not be a surefire way to prevent Alzheimer’s disease in the individual patient. If men are interested in finding out whether testosterone therapy could benefit them, they ought to schedule a consultation with their doctor.
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