What is Testosterone and Hypogonadism?
Testosterone is one of the most misunderstood molecules, and Hypogonadism, more commonly known as testosterone deficiency, is a serious disease! Unfortunately, Testosterone is often perceived as a lifestyle issue for men wanting to improve their sex life and/or athletes desiring a competitive advantage. Unfortunately, it seems the public at-large has been misinformed. There has been extensive research on hormonal imbalance and the significant downstream impact it has on body organs and processes, however, this complex category has not had a strong advocate due to the perceived misconceptions. Ultimately, the 15 million hypogonadal men in the U.S. and many millions more globally are the ones suffering both its short and long-term impacts.
Based on multiple observational and randomized control studies, Testosterone Deficiency or Hypogonadism is a pre-cursor with numerous chronic diseases like obesity, type-2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, depression, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and erectile dysfunction. In terms of prevalence, comorbidity rates with obesity and erectile dysfunction are around 45%-70% respectively making hypogonadism an increasingly important area of public health to which awareness and preventive measures can improve patient lives and reduce costs to our healthcare system.
Because of these established and proven risks of T deficiency, testosterone levels should be checked by a routine blood test in comorbid patients that could benefit from Adequate Testosterone Therapy or ATT™. ATT™ is a therapeutic treatment to restore hypogonadal men to normal functioning levels of testosterone without the effectiveness issues or highs and lows caused by historic and current treatments. The Endocrine Society recently launched a campaign targeted towards U.S. Congress on the Obesity epidemic and Testosterone testing and treatment should be part of the equation to potentially save $20+ billion annually to U.S. healthcare spending.
Addressing Negative Biases
The patient universe of classical Hypogonadism, or the much larger population of hypogonadal men with no specific cause of their condition (non-structural) that is unscientifically being kept off treatment, is paying the ultimate price. Many professional societies have recommended that the FDA change its definition of hypogonadism to include cases in which there is no specific reasons for the occurrence of the disease. The FDA has often hid behind cardiovascular risk as a reason for limiting treatment however cardiovascular risk goes down with “Adequate Testosterone Therapy” based on numerous large patient observational studies, including some funded by Veterans Affairs. As for the reason for keeping non-structural patients off therapy, there has been no evidence for the risks of not treating or treating being any different, however, the therapeutic class of testosterone continues to be unfairly targeted. For example, around 80% of hypertensive patients generally have no direct cause or etiology of their condition but their treatment is standard course in the medical community so why is testosterone therapy treated with such a negative bias?
Lowering Healthcare Costs
Governments across the U.S. could take the lead on mandating a testosterone blood test (T-Test) which could go a long way in lowering health care costs through identifying at-risk patients who could get treatment potentially reducing type-2 diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular disease. Now is the time to be proactive where we can.
Cost reduction through preventive health care measures like T-Testing could go a long way to reduce costs when health care spending is at an all-time high. Healthcare costs in the U.S. are rising exponentially. With an obesity rate of over 33%, it is clear to see how preventive treatments and monitoring can help save tremendous costs to the system over time. That said, while costs are crucial to the long-term prosperity of the country, we must also think of the quality of life and productivity that can be improved for our citizens feeling better and stronger, both mentally and physically.