Testosterone and DHEA are metabolized into what are collectively known as the 17-ketosteroids. Testosterone and DHEA are parent hormones that are rapidly metabolized by the time they reach the urine, therefore assessing total 17- ketosteroids in addition to testosterone and/or DHEA levels gives a better sense of overall androgen production.
Testosterone is an androgenic sex steroid/hormone that helps maintain libido, influences muscle mass and weight loss, and plays a role in the production of several other hormones. During the aging process, testosterone levels gradually decline in both sexes, which can lead to loss of bone density. Testosterone concentrations tend to be higher in men versus women.
- In men, lower levels of testosterone are associated with aortic, peripheral vascular, and cardiovascular disease in middle-aged and older men. In some but not all studies, lower levels of testosterone predict increased incidence of cardiovascular events and mortality.
- In men and women, low levels of testosterone have been associated with lower coital frequency and loss of sexual desire in men and women. Low levels are also associated with reduced stamina and lean muscle mass, anxiety, depression and cognitive decline in both men and women.
- In women, imbalances of testosterone have been associated with various forms of coronary heart disease and cardiovascular events, including myocardial infarction in postmenopausal women. Excessive amounts are associated with PCOS, acne, oily skin, and hirsutism.
- Additionally, elevated testosterone can be associated with CVD risk. Men with excessive testosterone may exhibit aggressive behavior or increased irritability, and hair loss (scalp).
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