Question: Iím 51 years old and have been very active all my life. I run triathlons, but just feel very fatigued and tired. Would a low testosterone cause this and what should I do?

I commend you on being an active person. Just training for triathlons is impressive. While your training can be a cause of your fatigue, low testosterone can cause far worse problems for your heart.

A recent cardiology journal shows that low or even borderline low testosterone increased chances of heart attack, as well as all cause mortality, which is death from other diseases.

In the study that followed almost 1,000 men for more than seven years, one in five men with low testosterone died, compared to those with normal testosterone.

Fatigue is another complaint from men with low testosterone. In fact, cancer, low quality of life and sexual function have all been implicated in men with low testosterone according to Journal of Oncology in October of this year.

General symptoms from low testosterone include depression, irritability, fatigue or low energy, decreased muscle mass, weight gain, impotence or erectile dysfunction and even occasional hot flashes or night sweats.

While these symptoms can be nonspecific, and other medical conditions could cause them, a testosterone blood test would be added to other tests to see what problems one might have.

A recent study on more than 400 male patients with cancer found 78 percent of them with low testosterone. The study basically said the cancer population had higher rates of low testosterone, and the jury is still out as to why.

Natural aging occurs in men and a loss of testosterone hormone is normal about one to two percent per year after the age of about 35. A lot of physicians are reluctant to actually call low testosterone a disease.

Personally, quality of life issues carry a great deal of weight in my practice, and I find many of my patients feel better when their testosterone is improved.

If you have any questions or comments, please send them to Dr. Peters at runsinthewynd@gmail.com.

Dr. Justus Turner Peters, a family physician at Glen Rose Medical Center's Pecan Plantation clinic, received his medical school training at Creighton University School of Medicine in Nebraska and completed his family medicine residency at John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth. Board-certified in family medicine, Dr. Peters' practice encompasses the care of infants and children as well as adults of all ages. He also conducts ongoing research in the areas of childhood obesity and lower extremity injuries. He serves as the county's Local Health Authority.