The Prevalence and Association of Low Testosterone Levels in a South African Male, Diabetic, Urban Population
Background: According to the literature, low serum testosterone levels are associated with diabetes mellitus. No or minimal data exist for its prevalence or predictors in South Africa.
Design: This was a cross-sectional study.
Setting: The setting was an academic centre, i.e. the University of Pretoria and Steve Biko Academic Hospital Diabetes Clinic.
Subjects: A total of 150 consecutive male patients aged 50 years and older with diabetes mellitus were selected using convenience sampling.
Outcome measures: The patients were evaluated for diabetes control and complications, and for hypogonadism symptoms. Early-morning serum testosterone levels were determined.
Results: The prevalence of androgen deficiency symptoms was 94.7%. Some 50% of the men had low total testosterone levels. Using multivariate logistic regression, the significant factors associated with low total testosterone were waist circumference and known cardiovascular disease. The prevalence of symptoms of androgen deficiency was very high; 94.7% of the patients reported a significant number of symptoms listed on the Androgen Deficiency in the Aging Male questionnaire.
Conclusion: This study confirms the high prevalence of low testosterone levels in diabetic male patients in a tertiary setting. Universal screening remains controversial owing to uncertainty regarding the risks and benefits of testosterone therapy in this population group. Predictors of low testosterone levels were identified.
Keywords: Diabetes Mellitus, Hypogonadism, Testosterone
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