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    Frequently Asked Questions

    Low Testosterone

    What is testosterone?
    Testosterone is a hormone made by the body that is responsible for the normal growth and development of the male sex organs and for maintenance of other sexual characteristics. In men, testosterone is produced in the testes, the reproductive glands that also produce sperm. The amount of testosterone produced by the testes is regulated by the hypothalamus and the pituitary gland. Testosterone can affect the following:

    • Growth and maturation of prostate and other male sex organs
    • Development of male hair distribution such as facial hair
    • Changes in body muscle mass and strength and fat distribution
    • Sex drive and sexual function
    • Mood and energy level
    • Bone strength
    What are “normal” levels of testosterone?
    In healthy men, testosterone levels between 350 ng/dL and 1000 ng/dL are referred to as “normal.” Normal physiology allows the brain and the testes to work together to keep testosterone in this range. The brain produces “signal” hormones that are responsible for stimulating testosterone production. These signals are periodically released, which in turn stimulates testosterone production. When levels of testosterone are in an acceptable range, the production of the signal hormones are slowed, which in turn allows the testosterone levels to decrease.
    What is hypogonadism?
    Hypogonadism, in a male, refers to a decrease in either testosterone production, sperm production, or both. The medical professionals at Low T Center address the testosterone aspect of this condition. Decreased sperm production requires a careful, thorough evaluation by a fellowship-trained specialist.
    How does Low T Center determine if I have hypogonadism (low testosterone)?
    To determine a diagnosis of hypogonadism, the medical professionals at Low T Center will first confirm your symptoms, and then perform a simple blood test, the results of which you will know in about 20 minutes. If your total or free testosterone is below the normal range, you may be diagnosed as hypogonadal.
    What is low testosterone treatment?
    Low testosterone treatment is the practice of diagnosing hypogonadism (low testosterone) through a combination of symptoms and testosterone blood values below the lower limit of normal and treating with testosterone injections, gels, patches, surgically implanted pellets, or oral applications. Low T Center uses injection therapy to treat low testosterone in hypogonadal men.
    What are the benefits of testosterone replacement therapy?
    Benefits of testosterone replacement therapy vary based upon the pre-therapy symptoms and other factors, but they can include the following:

    • Increased energy
    • Decreased irritability and depression
    • Improved muscle mass and strength
    • Improved sexual desire
    • Improved visuospatial cognitive function and verbal memory
    • Higher motivation
    • Decreased body fat (optimal results received through accompaniment of a diligent diet and exercise regimen)
    • Possible improvement in erectile function
    • Thicker skin
    What are the risks of testosterone replacement therapy?
    Some patients could experience one or more of the following side effects from testosterone replacement therapy:

    • Increase in red blood cells. This can be beneficial if you have anemia. However, it can be potentially dangerous because an increase in red blood cells can lead to blood clots, heart attack, or stroke.
    • Prostate effects. If you have an enlarged prostate, testosterone may worsen your symptoms, particularly if you are more than 50 years of age. If you have a history of prostate cancer, you cannot receive testosterone therapy without prior clearance from the urologist who is overseeing your care.
    • Skin reactions. Acne, oily skin, increased body hair, and flushing have been reported. These side effects are not very common, but if they occur, often they are transient.
    • Infertility. Testosterone therapy down regulates production of a man’s sperm. Be upfront with your medical provider about your desire for children, and be sure to discuss the situation with your spouse or partner, if appropriate.
    • Sleep apnea. This is a condition that disrupts breathing during sleep, and if already present, may be worsened by the use of testosterone therapy. If you snore or suspect you may have sleep apnea, be sure to talk to your medical provider about the situation. Considering a sleep study for further evaluation may be appropriate prior to starting therapy.
    • Fluid retention. Although uncommon, you must use caution if you have a history of heart failure or kidney disease.

    See the complete list of potential low testosterone treatment side effects for more information.

    What is the cost of testosterone replacement therapy at Low T Center?
    Most health insurance is accepted, in which case you are responsible for any applicable deductibles or co-pays under the terms of your health insurance plan. Learn more about the cost of low testosterone treatment, including information about our self-pay option.
    In what cases should I avoid testosterone replacement therapy?
    Only your physician can fully answer this question; however, in general, testosterone replacement therapy is not recommended for, or should be avoided by, patients with the following conditions:

    • Breast or prostate cancer
    • A palpable prostate nodule
    • Erythrocytosis
    • Hyperviscosity
    • Untreated obstructive sleep apnea
    • Severe benign prostatic hyperplasia symptoms (AUA prostate symptom score > 19)
    • Uncontrolled severe heart failure
    • Unexplained PSA elevation
    • Severe lower urinary tract symptoms associated with benign prostatic hypertrophy
    • Unstable severe congestive heart failure (class III or IV)
    What are the advantages of testosterone injections versus other replacement methods such as patches or gels?
    The proper method of testosterone delivery for you is a matter for your physician to determine; however, many find that some gels tend to be messy and less convenient than other treatment modalities. In addition, there can be a risk of unintentional transmittal to children or others with whom you may have physical contact.

    Testosterone patches can create a significant rash at the site of application. They also don’t stick well, especially during the summer months.

    Experience has shown that gels and patches may require dosage adjustments to obtain medically appropriate blood concentrations, and some patients may never absorb enough testosterone from gels or patches to improve symptoms. These modalities often have a higher conversion to less desirable hormones in the process of transfer through the skin.

    The physicians at Low T Center regularly employ intramuscular testosterone injections because of their clinical effectiveness and convenience.

    Are there any adverse effects of intramuscular testosterone injections?
    Learn more about adverse reactions and side effects of low testosterone injections, including inflammation and pain at the site of the intramuscular injection.
    How do I get started?
    At your first appointment, we will conduct a $99 health assessment. This evaluation helps us understand your medical history, any symptoms you are experiencing, and how you are feeling. The health assessment also includes blood work and other vitals.
    What is included in the $99 comprehensive health assessment?
    The $99 health assessment includes a consult with a medical provider as well as data gathering. We capture your medical history; any symptoms you are experiencing; and a quantification of how you are feeling, which will result in your LTC Vitality Score.

    In addition, we take your vitals — blood pressure, pulse rate, weight — and do a full blood panel:

    How long does the comprehensive health assessment take?
    During your first visit,  you will complete a health questionnaire where you will tell us about any symptoms you’re having and your medical history, and you will a have simple blood test*, and your vitals will be checked, and you’ll be on your way.  As you are heading out we’ll book your second visit for you.

    *The labs consists of a hormone panel, prostate, thyroid, cholesterol,  A1C- glucose, liver function and more.

    At your second visit , which is only about 35 minutes – you will meet with our medical provider where they will conduct a physical exam, and discuss the results of your labs, your vitals, your answers to our health assessment, your health goals and any recommended therapy.  If you had low testosterone levels on your first blood draw,  we will run a 2nd test during this visit to verify that you do have low testosterone and you could potentially begin therapy.

    Do I need to fast before my blood is drawn?
    No. Fasting is not required. We do recommend that you drink plenty of water prior to your appointment, to make sure you are hydrated.

    Sleep Apnea

    What is sleep apnea?
    Sleep apnea is a condition in which you regularly stop breathing for short periods of time throughout the night. This may occur because your brain is not sending the right message to muscles or because your throat closes while sleeping. In some cases, both of these could be happening. These intermittent pauses in breath result in restless sleep.
    What are the symptoms of sleep apnea?
    Snoring, gasping or choking while breathing are among the most common sleep apnea symptoms, but you may also have sleep apnea if you are often fatigued during the day. Depression, irritability and a low libido could also be symptoms of sleep apnea. Sleep apnea could cause you to wake up with a sore throat, a dry mouth or a headache. If you have high blood pressure, you might also have sleep apnea.
    How do I know if I have sleep apnea?
    Snoring and other symptoms can point to the possibility of sleep apnea, but you need a sleep study to make a definite diagnosis. By monitoring your sleep, either in a home sleep test or at a lab, a sleep specialist can determine whether your symptoms are the result of sleep apnea. At the Low T Center, we believe home sleep studies are more convenient and easier to obtain than lab studies because they occur in your normal sleeping environment and provide accurate data about how you usually sleep.
    What causes sleep apnea?
    Obesity is one of the main causes of sleep apnea. Some cases of sleep apnea may also be hereditary. Large tonsils or a large tongue might be more likely to block your airway. You can also develop sleep apnea if you are slim and have no family history of the condition.
    How do you treat sleep apnea?
    Some cases of sleep apnea can be treated with lifestyle changes, such as weight loss. However, a continuous positive airway pressure device, or CPAP device, may be necessary to treat more serious cases. This is a mask that fits over your mouth and nose to help keep your airway open. When you are treated with a CPAP device by the Low T Center, the device transmits data back to us each time you use it. This allows us to make adjustments so that you are getting the maximum comfort and benefits from the device.
    Why is it important to treat sleep apnea?
    In addition to such symptoms as depression, irritability, a lack of concentration and fatigue, sleep apnea can have more serious long-term consequences. Not breathing regularly while you are sleeping can cause a drop in the oxygen levels in your blood. This puts a strain on your heart – and brain – and increases the likelihood of developing high blood pressure or suffering from a stroke or heart attack. Effective treatment for sleep apnea improves your quality of life and your overall health.
    Is wearing a CPAP device uncomfortable?
    For some people, it takes a few days or a few weeks at most to adjust to sleeping with a CPAP. Our sleep team can help you choose the best mask for you given your sleeping style (side, back or belly sleeper, mouth or nose breathing, still or restless) and make adjustments to mask fit to help you with your comfort level with the mask and device. We also have a Sleep Helpline that you can call during normal business hours to have our Sleep Respiratory Therapist answer any questions you may have when you start to use your CPAP. Most people find that the benefits of a good night’s sleep over the long term make up for a short adjustment period.

    Hypothyroidism

    What is hypothyroidism?
    Hypothyroidism is a hormone deficiency. Your thyroid gland, located at the front of your neck, produces thyroid hormones, which regulate your metabolism. When you have hypothyroidism, you are not producing enough of these hormones, and you may have a number of uncomfortable symptoms as a result.
    What are the symptoms of hypothyroidism?
    Fatigue, weight loss and constipation are some of the most common symptoms of hypothyroidism. If you have low thyroid, you might also experience depression, irritability and trouble concentrating. Your muscles or joints may ache, and you might have dry, itchy or scaly skin. You may also look unusually pale, or your skin may even turn yellow. You may not have all of these symptoms. Many people do not realize that their thyroid levels are low until they get tested.
    What causes hypothyroidism?
    Anyone can get hypothyroidism, but you may be more likely to develop it if you have a family history of low thyroid. Most cases of hypothyroidism are believed to be the result of a combination of environment and genes. Certain treatments and medications, such as radiation therapy for cancer, can also cause hypothyroidism.
    How is hypothyroidism diagnosed?
    Although you may suspect you have low thyroid based on your symptoms, you will need a blood test to determine whether your hormone levels are low. When you come to Low T Center for a health assessment, we will do a full blood panel, including TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone), which measures your thyroid level. If your TSH comes back outside of the normal range, we may complete a second blood draw to have your T3 and T4 analyzed to further understand your thyroid health.
    How do you treat low thyroid?
    At Low T Center, we usually treat low thyroid with medication that will bring your thyroid levels back to normal. The type of medication you take and how much you take will vary depending on your needs and what kind of thyroid hormone you are deficient in. Treatment also involves regular follow-up so we can monitor your hormone levels and make adjustments if needed.
    What are the benefits of treatment for hypothyroidism?
    Hypothyroidism can make you feel bad and significantly decrease your quality of life. When you are treated for hypothyroidism, your symptoms should be relieved. Your energy should return along with your ability to concentrate. Your moods should even out, and any other physical symptoms, such as joint aches and pains, should also subside. Your metabolism should also start to work more efficiently.
    Can hypothyroidism be cured?
    Hypothyroidism cannot be cured, but treatment with medication is very effective.

    Allergy

    How do you test for allergies?
    We use pressure application to test your reaction to 60 allergens, including grasses, pollen, pet dander, dust mites, insects, and mold.  If your skin reacts by reddening and swelling, similar to the reaction you have to a mosquito bite, this indicates that you are allergic to the substance.
    How do you treat allergies?
    We prepare a customized dose of the allergen or allergens you had a reaction to and administer the treatment through injections. This allows your body to gradually become more accustomed to the allergen. Usually, you’ll start with weekly injections and then receive them less frequently over time.
    Can my allergies be cured?
    It is not possible to cure allergies. However, your reaction to allergens can be reduced over time. This is what we aim for at Low T Center. Our treatment involves immunotherapy, which means that you are exposed to a small amount of the allergen via injection in our office in order to get your body accustomed to the allergen. Over time, you should tolerate the presence of the allergen better.
    Do I have an allergy or a cold?
    This is a common allergy FAQ since the symptoms can be so similar. Signs that you probably have a cold include a fever and muscle aches and pains, which are not allergy symptoms. Colds also tend to last only for only around a week to 10 days.
    Can knowing the pollen count help me with allergy management?
    If you are allergic to certain types of grasses, weeds, trees or mold, it may help. When the pollen count in your area is high, you might want to avoid outdoor activities during that time as much as possible.
    Can I just avoid what I am allergic to?
    In some cases, it may be possible to reduce your exposure to certain allergens. In other cases, such as when you are allergic to a very common allergen, it may be much more difficult. However, the goal of our allergy treatment is to eliminate this concern entirely. We want to improve your quality of life by ensuring that you do not have to worry about coming into contact with the allergens that make you feel bad.
    Is allergy testing expensive or time-consuming?
    Testing and treatment at Low T Center are fast, easy and affordable. We accept most insurance plans, or there is a competitively priced self-pay option. Our goal is to be efficient but also to take the time you need to answer your allergy questions and discuss your individualized treatment plan that our allergy doctor will create for you.

    High Cholesterol

    What is cholesterol?
    The waxy substance known as cholesterol is made by your liver. You need cholesterol, but high levels of the wrong type of cholesterol can be dangerous to your health.
    What is the difference in LDL and HDL cholesterol?
    Low-density lipoprotein, or LDL, is sometimes known as the “bad” cholesterol while high-density lipoprotein, or HDL, is sometimes called the “good” cholesterol. LDL cholesterol can clog your arteries. This leads to some of the main risks of high cholesterol, the possibility of a heart attack or a stroke. HDL can lower the amount of LDL cholesterol in your bloodstream.
    What causes high cholesterol?
    High levels of LDL cholesterol can be caused by an unhealthy diet and not getting enough exercise. However, cholesterol levels may also be linked to genetics for some people. You can have high cholesterol despite eating a healthy diet and getting regular exercise. Your LDL cholesterol level may also rise as you get older.
    What are the dangers of high cholesterol?
    When your LDL cholesterol level is high, your arteries may become clogged. This makes it more difficult for blood and oxygen to reach your heart. Over time, this can raise your risk of having a heart attack or a stroke.
    What are the symptoms of high cholesterol?
    There are no symptoms associated with high cholesterol. You need a blood test to determine your cholesterol levels.
    How do you treat high cholesterol?
    High cholesterol treatment may involve lifestyle changes, or it might require medication. At Low T Center, we may talk to you about how to eat a diet that will raise the levels of “good” cholesterol and lower the “bad” cholesterol levels in your body. Exercise can also help. However, in some cases, this might not be sufficient, or your cholesterol levels may not be affected by your lifestyle at all. You may need statins or other medication to manage your cholesterol.
    When should I get my cholesterol levels checked?
    You can get your cholesterol levels checked at a men’s healthcare clinic. At Low T Center, we’ll check your cholesterol levels as part of an overall health assessment and arrange for high cholesterol treatment if necessary. We’ll talk to you about how often you should get your levels checked based on your age, your health and other factors.
    What is the test for high cholesterol?
    We check your cholesterol levels with a test that is part of our overall blood panel testing.

    Hypertension

    What is a normal blood pressure reading?
    There are two different numbers for blood pressure. The top or first number is systolic and the bottom or second number is diastolic. A normal systolic number is under 120, and a normal diastolic number is under 80. Your blood pressure is considered high when it begins to go above 130/80. However, because a number of situations, including stress, can cause temporary spikes in blood pressure, a single reading may be insufficient to diagnose you with hypertension.
    What are the symptoms of high blood pressure?
    One of the risks of hypertension is that you can have high blood pressure without experiencing any symptoms. However, once your blood pressure has been high for a while, you might develop a number of symptoms. These include fatigue, headaches, blood in your urine, difficulty breathing and chest pain.
    How do you treat high blood pressure?
    High blood pressure may be treated with lifestyle changes, medication or a combination of the two. At Low T Center, we’ll determine the best course of treatment for you based on your blood pressure, your overall health and other factors. We’ll make lifestyle recommendations to help you exercise more, eat more nutritiously and manage your weight. Medication is also necessary in some cases. We’ll continue to monitor your health and make adjustments to your treatment plan as needed.
    What are the risks of hypertension?
    If you have high blood pressure, you are at a higher risk for a heart attack or stroke. However, there are a number of other dangers of high blood pressure if it goes undiagnosed. Damage to blood vessels can affect other organs in the body. For example, your kidneys and your eyes could be damaged if your hypertension goes untreated.
    What lifestyle changes should I make to lower my risk of high blood pressure?
    Anyone can develop high blood pressure, but you may be less likely to get hypertension if you are active. A habit of regular exercise and keeping your weight within a healthy range can reduce the likelihood that you will get high blood pressure. Quitting smoking and avoiding overuse of alcohol can also lower your blood pressure risk.
    How common is high blood pressure?
    High blood pressure is very common, and in particular, it is not unusual for people to develop high blood pressure as they get older. Around 75 million adults in the United States have high blood pressure. This is roughly one-third of all adults.

    Diabetes

    How do you treat diabetes?
    Treatment for diabetes may vary depending on what type of diabetes you have and your overall health. If you have Type 2 diabetes, we usually recommend exercise and a nutritional plan to help manage your condition. If you have Type 1 diabetes, you will need to be treated with insulin. You might also require insulin or another medication to help you manage Type 2 diabetes, but at Low T Center, we try to reduce how much medication you need to control chronic conditions whenever possible.
    How is diabetes diagnosed?
    Testing for diabetes is done with a simple blood glucose test. This is part of the overall blood panel we will do as part of a men’s health assessment.
    What is diabetes?
    Diabetes is a condition in which your body cannot manage your blood sugar levels either because your pancreas is not making insulin or because your body is not using insulin correctly. This can cause a variety of symptoms, including unexplained weight gain or loss, frequent urination and fatigue.
    What is the difference in Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes?
    If you have Type 1 diabetes, this means that your pancreas is not creating the insulin that you need to regulate your blood sugar levels. If you have Type 2 diabetes, then your body is not correctly using the insulin that your pancreas is producing. Type 2 diabetes may be managed with diet and exercise. With Type 1 diabetes, insulin is part of your treatment. Type 1 diabetes is associated with insulin dependency, but we are all dependent on insulin to manage our blood sugar. Insulin injections simply means you are getting the insulin from a different source.
    Can diabetes be cured?
    This is one of the most common diabetes FAQs. There is no cure for diabetes but depending on the type of diabetes you have and your overall health, it can be well-managed with treatment that may include a nutrition plan, exercise, medication or insulin.
    What causes diabetes?
    It is believed that the environment and genetics play a part in developing Type 1 diabetes. This may be true for Type 2 diabetes as well, but the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes may be increased by a poor diet, a lack of exercise or being overweight. However, you can also get Type 2 diabetes if you are not overweight.

    Physicals

    Why Do I Need a Physical?
    A men’s physical is important even if you do not have symptoms of any type of illness. Preventative medicine is the key to good health, and with a men’s physical, we can detect whether you are at risk for various conditions and work with you to take steps to remain healthy. A physical also gives us a baseline to work from in the future. If you are healthy, it will tell us what is normal for you if your health changes.
    What Kind of Paperwork Do I Need to Fill Out?
    Getting your medical history as well as some family medical history, if possible, is important. This gives us a better sense of what to look for and lets us know what conditions you might be at risk for. At Low T Center, we’ll have you fill out a health questionnaire, which leads to an overall score we call your Vitality Score. This helps us to quantify small improvements or declines in your overall health over time.
    What Does Having My Vitals Checked Mean?
    Checking your vitals is a simple but important element of a man’s physical. This includes your blood pressure, your heart rate, your temperature and your breathing. High blood pressure can be a serious condition, and a fast or slow heart rate or other deviations in your vital signs can be important clues to other health conditions.
    Why Do I Need a Blood Test?
    Bloodwork can help us determine whether you have a number of different conditions, including a hormone deficiency, diabetes, liver problems and more.
    What Is a Lipid Panel?
    We use a lipid panel to determine your overall cholesterol levels and your percentage of “good” and “bad” cholesterol. There are no symptoms associated with high cholesterol, but it can lead to serious issues. Medication and lifestyle changes can help keep your cholesterol levels under control.
    What Happens If I Am Diagnosed With Something?
    If we find out that you have sleep apnea, low testosterone, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, or any other condition that we treat at Low T Center, we can help. We’ll create a personalized treatment plan in consultation with you that takes your health needs and goals into account. We offer treatment that fits into your busy lifestyle and is convenient and affordable.
    If you don’t find an answer to your question above, contact us, and a knowledgeable member of the Low T Center staff will get back to you within 24 hours.

    NOTICE: The information contained on this page is general information and is not intended to take the place of your personal physician’s advice, or to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. The FAQ contained herein are not a substitute for medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions and should not be used as such. Only a qualified physician can determine if you qualify for and should undertake treatment.