Testosterone & Diabetes: Low levels linked to increased risk of Diabetes

At his heaviest Mark Shacklett tipped the scales at about 375 pounds--then he lost weight and that's when his Type 2 diabetes really flared up.

That's when Baylor-Irving Dr. Douglas Cluff decided to check Marks testosterone level.

"Low and behold,” Mark said in amazement. “My testosterone is very low."

So Dr. Cluff prescribed testosterone replacement therapy with the hope that a rising T level will lower his blood sugar level.

Researchers at the University of Edinburgh in the U.K. discovered that in mice low testosterone levels are linked to insulin resistance.

Insulin is the hormone that regulates blood sugar levels.

In the study--mice with low testosterone were more likely to become insulin resistant--regardless of how much they weighed.

Dr. Cluff said doctors always knew low testosterone contributed to weight gain--but possibly to Type 2 diabetes?

That's new.

"We know that with obesity that diabetes just follows shortly thereafter, in general,” Dr. Cluff said. “You compound that with the low testosterone and it gives us a couple of different angles to tackle the problem."

And that’s exactly what Dr. Cluff and Mark are doing--he has low testosterone and high blood sugar levels.

Dr. Cluff said a normal testosterone range is somewhere between 250 and 800 and that is what they're shooting for--that and reduced blood sugar levels.

"So I think the main thing right now is we just determine who has the low testosterone and treat that and hope that we reduce the person's risk," Dr. Cluff said.

European researchers will soon study patients with Type 2 diabetes.

Mark hopes to lose weight, regain testosterone and end his Type 2 diabetes.

"I really hope and pray this is what will take care of it,” Mark said. “There are a lot of other guys out there in the exact same position."



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