The objective of this review was to summarize the literature on the risk factors, comorbidities, and consequences of male hypogonadism, which is defined as a syndrome complex that includes biochemical confirmation of low testosterone (T) and the consistent symptoms and signs associated with low T. A systematic literature search was performed in PubMed/MEDLINE, EMBASE, Cochrane Library for articles published in the last 10 years on risk factors, comorbidities, and consequences of male hypogonadism. Of the 53 relevant studies identified, nine examined potential risk factors, 14 examined potential comorbidities, and 30 examined potential consequences of male hypogonadism. Based on studies conducted in Asia, Australia, Europe, and North & South America, the important factors that predicted and correlated with hypogonadism were advanced age, obesity, a diagnosis of metabolic syndrome (MetS), and a poor general health status. Diabetes mellitus was correlated with hypogonadism in most studies, but was not established as a risk factor. Although diseases, such as coronary heart disease, hypertension, stroke, and peripheral arterial disease did not predict hypogonadism, they did correlate with incident low T. The data reviewed on potential consequences suggest that low T levels may be linked to earlier all-cause and cardiovascular related mortality among men. This literature review suggests that men with certain factors, such as advanced age, obesity, MetS, and poor general health, are more likely to have and develop hypogonadism. Low levels of T may have important long-term negative health consequences.
Keywords: androgen deficiency; low testosterone; male hypogonadism; systematic literature review.
© 2014 American Society of Andrology and European Academy of Andrology.