Cape Gazette
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Healthy Geezer

Uncertainty over benefits of testosterone therapy

By Fred Cicetti | Mar 13, 2014

Q. I’m 68 and thinking of taking testosterone. Will it help me to feel younger?

There is some controversy about whether testosterone therapy should be used in men who have naturally lower testosterone levels because of aging. It remains unclear whether restoring earlier testosterone levels benefits older men.

For example, studies found that healthy men who took testosterone medications got bigger muscles, but in most studies the men weren’t stronger. And, if you suffer from erectile dysfunction, taking testosterone may not relieve your condition.

The potential benefits of this therapy are: more muscle and strength, increased bone mineral density, thicker body hair and skin, elevated sexual desire, more energy, less irritability and depression, and improved mental capacity.

The potential risks are: growth of existing prostate cancer, benign growth of prostate that can worsen urinary problems, sleep apnea that makes you start and stop breathing as you sleep, reduced sperm production, fluid retention, baldness, skin reactions, enlarged breasts, testicle shrinkage, acne, and excess blood production that can increase your risk of heart disease.

Q. I have a problem with twitching eyes. Is that a symptom of anything?

Eye-twitching - also called eye spasms or blinking disorder - is known technically as blepharospasm. It usually is not a serious condition.

In most cases, the eyelid spasms stop on their own. The most common causes are fatigue, stress, prolonged staring, eye strain, and caffeine. The best remedies are more sleep, relaxation techniques, reduced caffeine, warm soaks, eye drops and correcting vision deficiencies.

In most people, eye-twitching develops spontaneously. However, the symptoms of dry eye frequently precede it.

You should see an eye doctor if twitching continues for more than a week, completely closes your eyelid or affects other parts of your face. Other symptoms that require medical attention are a drooping upper eyelid, redness, swelling, or a discharge from your eye.

Q. How do you get Legionnaires’ disease?

Most people become infected with Legionnaires’ disease when they inhale microscopic water droplets containing legionella bacteria. If you choke or cough while drinking, you can get water in your lungs. If the water contains legionella, you may develop Legionnaires’ disease, which is a form of pneumonia.

Legionnaires’ disease primarily affects the lungs. However, it can cause infections in wounds and in other parts of the body, including the heart.

Those who are especially vulnerable to Legionnaires’ disease are older adults, smokers, heavy drinkers and people with weakened immune systems.

If not treated, Legionnaires’ disease can be fatal. Immediate treatment with antibiotics can usually cure Legionnaires’ disease.

The legionella bacteria usually are found in water; they grow best when the water is warm. So, legionella is often found in hot tubs, plumbing, water tanks, whirlpool spas on cruise ships and large air-conditioning systems.

Legionnaires’ disease is common in the United States. About 25,000 cases of the illness occur each year and cause more than 4,000 deaths. The fatality rate is similar to that of other forms of pneumonia, which is about 15 percent.

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