National survey finds that most American men over the age of 39 fail to attribute “aging” symptoms to low testosterone, a treatable condition
Washington, D.C. – A national survey released today indicates that one third of American men over the age of 39 report experiencing two or more symptoms of low testosterone (Low T), a condition that affects four to five million American males, marked by decreased energy, low libido, reduced muscle strength, increased body fat, weaker bones, and mood swings. The survey of 522 men over age 39, which was commissioned by the Alliance for Aging Research and conducted by Harris Interactive, shows that of those men experiencing two or more symptoms, 95 percent say their doctors did not mention Low T as a possible cause, even though it is known that the condition can be diagnosed with a simple blood test.
Given the high percentage of men experiencing symptoms associated with Low T, general lack of awareness and reported willingness to treat those symptoms, the Alliance for Aging Research, a nonprofit, independent organization promoting public health education, announced today the launch of the Men’s Health and Aging in America campaign. The campaign aims to raise awareness of Low T, encourage testing for Low T, and educate the public about treatment options.
The survey, titled “Low Testosterone: Men’s Health Condition in the Shadows,” suggests that the majority of men in America do not associate certain aspects of physical decline with a possible clinical deficiency. The common assumption that these symptoms are attributable to the ‘normal’ aging process may often prevent them from seeking diagnosis and treatment. Importantly, men over the age of 39 report that they would be willing to take a prescription medication to improve their energy levels (60%) and to decrease body fat (57%). It is estimated that only five percent of men with the condition currently receive treatment for Low T.
“Men too often accept declining health and vitality as a consequence of getting old,” said Daniel Perry, Executive Director of the not-for-profit Alliance for Aging Research in Washington, D.C. “We know that low testosterone can be an underlying cause of symptoms previously attributed to aging, and we now have FDA approved therapeutics in the form of testosterone replacement therapy that can effectively address the condition. We expect that broader education of the public on the symptoms of Low T will enable more patients to be properly diagnosed and treated.” Given that ninety-one percent of men over the age of 39 in America do not know any or are unsure about symptoms associated with Low Testosterone, the Men’s Health and Aging in America campaign calls on patients and doctors to open the lines of communications to discuss Low T, its signs and symptoms, and proper diagnosis.
“Because of its association with health risks such as diabetes, depression and osteoporosis, low testosterone should be as much of a health concern for men over 40 as heart disease, cancer and stroke,” said Andre T. Guay MD, Director, Center For Sexual Function/Endocrinology, Lahey Clinic Medical Center, North Shore.
Sometimes referred to as male menopause or hypogonadism, testosterone deficiency in men leads to symptoms that can often be treated when tested and diagnosed by their doctors. Typical symptoms of Low T include:
- Increased irritability or depression
- Inability to concentrate
- Reduced muscle mass and strength
- Low sex drive and erectile dysfunction
- Decreased bone density and osteoporosis
- Increased body fat
Testosterone is the androgenic hormone primarily responsible for normal growth and development of male sex organs. It facilitates the development of secondary male sex characteristics such as musculature, bone mass, fat distribution, male hair patterns and deepening of the voice. The normal range for total testosterone in men is generally 300 to 1,000 nanograms per deciliter (ng/dL), depending on the lab performing the test and the methodology used. A simple blood test conducted by a physician can determine if a man has low testosterone.
Harris Interactive conducted this survey online within the United States between January 17 and January 24, 2006 with a nation-wide sample of 522 men over the age of 39. Figures for age, sex, race, education and income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. “Propensity score” weighting was also used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online.
In theory, with probability samples of this size, one could say with 95 percent certainty that the overall results have a sampling error of plus or minus 4.3 percentage points. This online sample is not a probability sample.
About the Men’s Health and Aging in America Campaign
The Men’s Health and Aging in America campaign, led by the Alliance for Aging Research, has been initiated to raise awareness of Low T, a distinct clinical condition defined by abnormally low testosterone levels, among the aging male population. It is estimated that approximately five million otherwise healthy men currently have Low T and that only about five percent are receiving treatment. The campaign calls on patients and doctors to open the lines of communication and discuss the symptoms of Low T, encourage testing for the condition and facilitate education about treatment. For more information on the Men’s Health and Aging in America campaign, visit the Men’s Health Corner at www.agingresearch.org.
Funding for the Men’s Health and Aging in America campaign and the Harris survey was provided through an unrestricted education grant from Auxilium Pharmaceuticals and Oscient Pharmaceuticals.
The private, not-for-profit Alliance for Aging Research is the nation’s leading citizen advocacy organization for improving the health and independence of Americans as they age. The Alliance was founded in 1986 to promote medical and behavioral research into the aging process. Since then, and as the explosion of the Senior Boom approaches, the Alliance has become the voice for Baby Boomer health by developing, implementing and advocating programs in research, professional and consumer health education and public policy.
Harris Interactive Inc. (http://www.harrisinteractive.com), based in Rochester, New York, is the 13th largest and the fastest-growing market research firm in the world, most widely known for The Harris Poll(R) and for its pioneering leadership in the online market research industry. Long recognized by its clients for delivering insights that enable confident business decisions, the firm blends the science of innovative research with the art of strategic consulting to deliver knowledge that leads to measurable and enduring value. Harris Interactive serves clients worldwide through its United States, Europe ( http://www.harrisinteractive.com/europe ) and Asia offices, its wholly owned subsidiary Novatris in Paris, France ( http://www.novatris.com ), and through an independent global network of affiliate market research companies. Source: Alliance for Aging Research