According to a new study, those men who wrestle with fertility problems are also more prone to metabolic diseases as they grow older. These are serious illnesses such as diabetes and heart disease. One-third of those who experience infertility are likely to develop either diabetes or osteoporosis when they get older, according to Swedish researchers. They say it is lower hormone levels that cause this susceptibility. 192 men with a low sperm count and 199 healthy ones—serving as a control group, took part in this study.
All were under age 50. Bone mineral density was tested in each, as well as what level of protein HbA1c participants had in their system. This is used to determine the glucose or sugar level in the blood. Each participant’s testosterone level was also determined. It was discovered that infertile men were seven times more likely to have low testosterone. Since testosterone helps to strengthen bones, the lack of the hormone was considered a contributing factor to osteoporosis.
Diabetes was found likely to occur in one-third of the infertile. This is a worrisome condition more likely to occur as men grow older. If left unregulated, diabetes can lead to nerve and tissue damage, blindness, and in extreme cases, death. The trouble is, many men show few if any symptoms until it has already progressed, or damage occurs. Researchers believe one of the causes of male infertility may be hypogonadism or low testosterone. So a low level of the hormone could be used in the future to predict a man’s chances of developing osteoporosis or diabetes.
For those who have fertility problems, lead author Dr. Aleksander Giwercman recommends that they get their testosterone level checked. But the first step is to find out about your fertility in the first place. If a man and his partner have been trying for six months to a year with no success, experts say a fertility problem is present. At this stage, each party should visit a fertility specialist. For the father-to-be, it would mean a visit to an urologist.