Testosterone plays a critical role in male reproductive and metabolic functioning. Serum testosterone levels decrease with age, and low testosterone is associated with a variety of comorbidities, including insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, obesity, metabolic syndrome, and cardiovascular disease. Men with type 2 diabetes have been shown to have significantly lower testosterone levels than men without diabetes. Several forms of testosterone replacement therapy (eg, oral, injectable, buccal, transdermal preparations) are available for use in the United States. The primary goals of testosterone therapy are to restore physiologic testosterone levels and reduce the symptoms of hypogonadism. Testosterone therapy may be a viable option in some men with diabetes and low testosterone; however, clinicians must be aware of contraindications to therapy (eg, prostate cancer and male breast cancer), implement appropriate monitoring procedures, and ensure that patient expectations are realistic regarding treatment outcome. Data suggest that testosterone therapy may have a positive effect on bones, muscles, erythropoiesis and anemia, libido, mood and cognition, penile erection, cholesterol, fasting blood glucose, glycated hemoglobin, insulin resistance, visceral adiposity, and quality of life. Sexual health may be a window into men's health; thus, more effective communication strategies are needed between clinicians and men with diabetes to ensure that sexual health topics are adequately addressed. Diabetes educators can play a key role in screening for low testosterone, providing relevant information to patients, and increasing clinician awareness of the need to address men's sexual health and implement appropriate strategies. Multidisciplinary care and individualized treatment are needed to optimize outcome.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
- Health Professions (miscellaneous)