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What Does an Increase in Testosterone Mean?

by
author image David Carnes
David Carnes has been a full-time writer since 1998 and has published two full-length novels. He spends much of his time in various Asian countries and is fluent in Mandarin Chinese. He earned a Juris Doctorate from the University of Kentucky College of Law.
What Does an Increase in Testosterone Mean?
High testosterone levels encourage muscle growth. Photo Credit muscles image by Inhumane Productions from <a href='http://www.fotolia.com'>Fotolia.com</a>

Testosterone is a chemical that is naturally produced by the human body, although it can be produced synthetically. It is present in males and females, but at higher levels in males. If your testosterone level has increased to a normal level, you will experience a number of benefits. If it has increased to excessive levels, you will experience undesirable side effects.

Normal Levels

Healthy levels of testosterone vary greatly according to age and gender. In the 20s and 30s, when testosterone levels peak, normal levels for men range from 270 nanograms/deciliter of blood, or ng/dl, to 1,080 ng/dl, while women range from 10 to 70 ng/dl, according to the University of Michigan. Testosterone levels in men decline about 1 percent per year after age 30. You can have your testosterone checked at a local medical clinic by providing a blood sample for analysis.

Benefits

Normal levels of testosterone are responsible for a healthy sex drive, according to MayoClinic.com. It is also responsible for a high muscle-to-fat ratio and a healthy distribution of fat. It encourages the formation of red blood cells, leading to a stronger immune response, and increased bone density. Normal levels of testosterone also cause men to enjoy a high sperm count.

Sexual Side Effects

Abnormally high testosterone levels in women can lead to the development of male secondary sexual characteristics, such as a deep voice, facial hair, chest hair, and male pattern baldness, according to the Harvard University Medical School. Men with levels of testosterone at the high end of the normal range often develop male pattern baldness. Excess levels can lead to the development of enlarged breasts in men, according to MayoClinic.com. Because testosterone contributes to a healthy libido, an excess of testosterone can result in an undesirably high level of sexual arousal in men.

Personality Changes

Testosterone is correlated to with increased aggressiveness, lack of impulse control, low tolerance for frustration and criminal behavior in adolescent boys, according to the "Journal of Psychosomatic Medicine." Nevertheless, these findings are not considered conclusive because prior research has shown mixed results. MayoClinic.com reports an increased incidence of irritability and depression among men with high levels of testosterone.

Health Risks

A number of health risks are associated with high testosterone levels. These include liver disease, enlargement of the prostate, prostate cancer, urinary problems and coronary artery disease, according to the Harvard University Medical School. High testosterone also increases levels of unhealthy cholesterol while decreasing levels of healthy cholesterol.

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