Health Check: Risks of low testosterone

Every two weeks for the past four months, Thom Testa has been going to the Men's Health Center at The Miriam Hospital.

"I was always tired, I had no energy level, very irritable," said Thom Testa.

Testa can trace it all back to when he was a child.

"My entire life I felt there was something different," Testa said.

After testing at the Men's Health Center, it was determined Testa had low testosterone levels. His diagnosis was Klinefelter's syndrome.

"Ordinarily, men have an X and a Y chromosome that determines sex. In this case, men with Klinefelter's have an X, another X and a Y chromosome, and it's that second X chromosome that causes the signs and symptoms of Klinefelter's syndrome," said Dr. Mark Paulos at The Miriam Hospital.

Every two weeks, Testa has a testosterone injection.

"Testosterone therapy is the cornerstone of their care," Paulos said.

Should patients like Testa go untreated, there are possible health ramifications.

"They are at risk for things like diabetes. There's increased risk for pulmonary disease. There's a very real risk for osteoporosis," Paulos said.

What are some of the signs and symptoms of Klinefelter's syndrome?

"Often in young men, say adolescent boys, when the changes first become apparent, gynecomastia happens, which is a benign enlargement of breast tissue in men. Later in life, men often present for evaluation of fertility. They have trouble conceiving or starting a family," Paulos said.

Testa is monitored very closely and he will be for life. He's noticed results after four months of testosterone therapy.

"I have more confidence. My libido is like a 20 year old. My overall body just feels so much better," Testa said.

Testa admits he hesitated to find out what was wrong until his symptoms became unbearable. His advice: don't wait. You know if something's wrong. Get it checked out.