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Perception of males' aging symptoms, health and well-being in elderly community-dwelling men is not related to circulating androgen levels

G T'Sjoen, S Goemaere, M De Meyere, J M Kaufman
Psychoneuroendocrinology 2004, 29 (2): 201-14
14604601
Aging in men is associated with a progressive but variable decline in androgen production. In aging men there is also an increased occurrence of symptoms such as lack of concentration, nervousness, impaired memory, depressive mood, insomnia, lack of energy and general sense of well-being, decreased libido and erectile dysfunction, periodic sweating, bone and joint complaints, reduction of strength and increased adiposity. This ill-defined male climacterium syndrome is often referred to as "andropause", with the underlying implication that it is at least in part related to (relative) androgen deficiency. Recently an "aging males" symptoms' (AMS) rating scale was developed aimed at a more systematic description of severity of symptoms related to a clinically defined "male climacteric". We studied the relationship of male climacteric symptoms as assessed by the AMS with androgen levels and other questionnaires assessing the perception of health and well-being. Serum levels of sex steroids, sex hormone binding globulin and gonadotropins were measured in blood samples of 161 healthy, ambulatory, elderly men, aged 74-89 years who also completed the AMS scale. Mean value of total, free and bioavailable testosterone in this group was 401.6, 6.8 and 151.4 ng/dl, respectively, with 24.7, 32.4 and 52.2% of the values under the normal range for young men. The results of the AMS scores mostly suggested mild psychological and mild to moderate somatovegetative symptoms. However, clear sexual symptoms were reported in 88% of cases. None of the three AMS domain scale scores significantly correlated with testosterone, free testosterone or bioavailable testosterone. Significant correlations were observed between results for the AMS scores and those for other health questionnaires, but none of the subscores for the latter questionnaires correlated with androgen serum levels. In conclusion, the results of this study have shown that, as assessed by the AMS, healthy ambulatory elderly males over 70 had a high perception of sexual symptoms with mild psychological and mild to moderate somatovegetative symptoms. These data failed to support the view that in healthy elderly men, "climacteric symptoms" can predict androgen levels.

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