Context: Late-onset hypogonadism (LOH) has been defined as a syndrome in middle-aged and elderly men reporting symptoms in the presence of low testosterone (T).
Objective: The objective of the study was to seek objective biochemical and end-organ evidence of androgen deficiency in men classified as having LOH according to our previously published criteria.
Design, setting, and participants: The design of the study included cross-sectional data from the European Male Aging Study on 2966 community-dwelling men aged 40-79 years in eight European countries.
Main outcome measure(s): Waist circumference, body mass index, muscle mass, estimated heel bone mineral density (eBMD), hemoglobin, insulin sensitivity, physical activity, metabolic syndrome, insulin resistance index, and cardiovascular disease were measured.
Results: Sixty-three men (2.1%) were classified as having LOH: 36 moderate and 27 severe. They were older and more obese than eugonadal men and had, in proportion to the graded T deficiency, lower muscle mass, eBMD, and hemoglobin, with poorer general health. Both moderate and severe LOH was associated with lower hemoglobin, mid-upper arm circumference, eBMD, physical function (measured by the Short Form-36 questionnaire), slower gait speed and poorer general health. Only men with severe LOH showed significant associations with larger waist circumference (β=1.93 cm; 0.04-3.81), insulin resistance (β=2.81; 1.39-4.23), and the metabolic syndrome (odds ratio 9.94; 2.73-36.22) after adjustments for confounders. Men with low testosterone only (irrespective of symptoms) showed lesser magnitudes of association with the same end points.
Conclusions: LOH is associated with multiple end-organ deficits compatible with androgen deficiency. These data support the existence of a syndrome of LOH in only a minority of aging men, especially those with T below 8 nmol/liter.