Some people live to work, and others merely work to live. Whichever camp you fall into, you know that it’s hard to understate the importance of being able to work efficiently and productively.
However, it’s possible that your efforts are being hampered without you even realizing it.
You might already be aware of the trouble with testosterone deficiency that most men will face as they grow older. But the lion’s share of the discussion centers around how low-t affects men’s personal lives. Little attention is ever paid to their professional efforts.
That’s why today we’ll be taking a closer look at how your testosterone levels can help or hinder you while you’re on the clock.
How Does Testosterone Affect the Body?
Testosterone is the male sex hormone, but its effects on the body go far beyond the bedroom.
Like all hormones, it functions as a chemical messenger that triggers necessary changes in the body. And testosterone, in particular, has a wide swathe of effects. Things like bone density, muscle mass, fat distribution, and even red blood cell production are all affected by your testosterone levels.
Now as we age, our bodies become less effective at producing hormones in general. So to a certain degree of testosterone loss is a natural effect of growing old.
After the age of 40, men’s testosterone production drops by an average of 1.6% each year. That might not seem like much, but those numbers add up.
By the age of 45, about 40% of men have what’s called hypogonadism. That’s the technical term for a clinical depletion of testosterone.
But it seems that many men experience decreased testosterone prematurely. Medical professionals note that since 2012, the number of men diagnosed with low testosterone has increased by 120%
There are multiple potential explanations for this. Environmental factors could play a role. And lifestyle choices are almost certainly another major influence.
So obviously low testosterone is a situation most men would want to avoid. But these changes don’t happen overnight. The effects can creep up on you before you even realize that you’re affected.
So How Does the Trouble With Testosterone Deficiencies Effect Work?
Unless you work a physically demanding job, the physical effects aren’t likely to impact your work. A sharp decline in muscle mass or bone density doesn’t often play into office life. But working in an office environment doesn’t mean that you are spared the effects of declining testosterone levels.
In addition to affecting the body, testosterone, or rather the lack of it, can also affect the mind.
Low levels of testosterone have been linked to several mental disorders. Of those, anxiety and depression are the most common. Individuals also cite problems remembering details, difficulty concentrating, and a general sense of mental fogginess.
There are a few possible explanations for why this is the case.
One is that insomnia is another common symptom of low testosterone levels. If you aren’t getting a consistent amount of deep, restful sleep, it’s only natural that you’ll suffer for it in the mornings.
And to make matters worse, loss of sleep is itself a contributor to testosterone loss. So low-t induced insomnia creates a feedback loop that will exacerbate the problem over time.
But if the explanation was as simple as lost sleep, then you would think that the remedy would simple, too. Treat the insomnia, and you alieve the symptoms. Unfortunately, the reality is more complex.
So Insomnia Is One Thing, But What Else Is Low Testosterone Doing to My Mind?
In addition to building your muscles and bones, testosterone directly interacts with your brain. When it is deprived of a hormone that it has become accustomed to, your brain doesn’t respond positively.
This is where symptoms like disrupted concentration and memory problems come in. Researchers have noted that declines in cognition, spatial awareness, and memory all appear to accompany a decline in testosterone.
At one point it was thought that this was just a natural aspect of the aging process. And indeed, this is half true as our brains age with the rest of us. But recent inquires have found a relationship between the decline of testosterone levels and declining mental faculties.
And that’s before you circle back to the aforementioned issues of depression and anxiety.
Both of these disorders have their own slate of symptoms that would be unpleasant enough on their own. But they can have impacts on your ability to function effectively even beyond those that are commonly known.
Anxiety disorders have been linked to impaired executive functioning. What this means is that affected individuals often struggle with cetain task. Functions related to organization, problem-solving, scheduling, and time management are all impacted.
Depression, meanwhile, has been linked to diminished short-term memory. And to compound the problem, these disorders have a strong tendency towards comorbidity.
Either on their own would be enough to substantially disrupt a person’s ability to be an effective worker. Taken together, their effects can be devastating.
Can Low Testosterone Affect Other Areas of My Life?
So what if you’re the type of person who prioritizes the “life” aspect of work-life balance? Unfortunately, you’ll feel the effects of low testosterone as surely as your worker bee counterparts.
As we’ve established, your testosterone levels have an impact on nearly every system in your body. Consequently, they can have an impact on every aspect of your personal life as well.
The Mental Effects of Low Testosterone Can Impact Your Relationships
It could be that you’re not overly concerned about how diminished mental faculties affect your job performance. If you’re a glass-half-full kind of guy, you might even call it a blessing in disguise. You might forget the occasional detail here and there, but you won’t remember your least-favorite coworker’s tedious breakroom ramblings, either.
But for the man who wants to be the considerate partner, the reliable friend, or the loving parent, this can pose a problem. No matter how patient your loved ones might be, most people will only take so many forgotten anniversaries or neglected obligation with a smile.
And that executive dysfunction that we mentioned won’t do you any favors, either. The disorder was first identified in children struggling with ADHD, and it caries a lot of the same symptoms with it. As much as you might want to be they guy that everyone can rely on, you’ll always find yourself struggling to live up to that standard if you have to deal with a shroud of mental fog every day.
And as far as intimate relationships are concerned, there are the physiological symptoms to consider as well.
Loss of libido and erectile dysfunction are two of the most notorious symptoms associated with low testosterone. And if you and your partner are trying to have children, low testosterone can pose a serious obstacle. Low t-levels are associated with lower sperm counts, poorer-quality sperm, and even infertility.
Low Testosterone Will Hamper Your Athletic Performance
We touched upon this, but among the better-known effects of low-t are compromised physical abilities.
During puberty, testosterone triggers the developments we associate with adult men. Among these are a strong, well-built musculature and the dense bones needed to support it. And as we progress into adulthood, testosterone plays an active role in maintaining both.
It’s no surprise then that as we age and out testosterone levels start to taper off, our bodies react as if they’ve just had the rug pulled out from under them.
The ability to build new muscle is impacted, with new gains being difficult to attain. And maintaining the muscle we already have become a challenge that requires near-constant upkeep.
Meanwhile, our bones will likewise begin to weaken. While the effects aren’t as severe as those that women tend to suffer from age, you can still expect to see a compounding loss of bone density each year. Over time, this will make the bones brittle enough that fractures become a serious concern.
Taken all together, this spells disaster for your athletic abilities. Without the ability to maintain your strength and constitution, you simply won’t be the man that you once were.
That’s why many men turn to testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) to help them stay at the top of their game for longer. While certain moves like heavy lifting a proper diet can help you stave off the effects, clinical solutions often become necessary over time.
You Can Expect to See Your Waistline Expand
The loss of muscle mass isn’t the only physical effect that you can expect to see from decreased testosterone levels. Rather, you can expect to see an increase in mass of a less welcome variety.
Besides building muscle and bone, testosterone also plays a role in regulating the accumulation and distribution of fat. As testosterone production declines, it is normal to see more fat accumulate in proportion to the rate of decline.
Specifically, this extra padding tends to settle right around the abdominal area. If you notice that men at middle age or beyond tend to struggle with their weight, even though they were quite lean in their youth, it’s a good bet that low testosterone is at least partly to blame.
And unfortunately, that’s not the whole of it. Much like the situation we described with insomnia, the increase in fat accumulation can end up exacerbating the situation. Men with higher amounts of body fat tend to see decreased testosterone at every age. So the more weight you gain, the more testosterone you’re likely to lose, continuing onwards in a feedback loop.
That’s why, like with maintaining muscle development, many people turn to testosterone supplementation to help. Once you’re caught in the cycle of gaining weight and losing testosterone, it can be difficult to break out of it on your own. Taking supplements to boost your t-levels can give you the edge that you need to slim back down.
Lower Testosterone Levels Are Associated With a Shorter Lifespan
And as far as how your t-levels can impact your life, just outright shortening it as about as dire a consequence possible. Multiple studies have shown that men with lower testosterone levels are susceptible to early deaths for a variety of reasons.
Probably the most significant risk that low testosterone poses is to your heart health. Research has shown that men with lower t-levels may be more susceptible to heart disease, the leading cause of death in the United States.
There are a number of possible explanations for why this is. One is that lower testosterone tends to have a high rate of comorbidity with conditions like high blood pressure, high blood fat levels, and low HDL cholesterol (that’s the good kind).
Lower levels of testosterone are also associated with higher incidences of high blood sugar and diabetes. High blood sugar can damage heart tissue and blood vessels over time, and diabetes can have a deleterious effect on the whole body.
The link between low testosterone and higher mortality rates is still under investigation. However, it is thought that the tendency to increase body fat is the likely culprit.
What Can I Do About Low Testosterone?
They say time makes fools of us all, and indeed it’s true no one has found a way to permanently turn back time. However, that doesn’t mean that you need to give up the fight.
The trouble with testosterone depletion can be a daunting challenge, but there are ways that you can fight it. Lifestyle changes are a good way to start. Avoiding vices like excessive alcohol and eating more pro-testosterone foods can help keep you feeling younger for longer.
But if you’re looking for a long-term solution for low testosterone, you will likely have to start looking at clinical treatment options.
There have been great advances made in the field of testosterone replacement therapy in recent years. It is considered a safe and effective means to manage low testosterone in the long term. To learn more about how it works, check out the 9 myths and facts about TRT.