High and Low Testosterone Levels in Men

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Testosterone is considered to be the "male hormone" that's produced by men in the testes. Although women's ovaries produce some testosterone, the hormone is produced in much higher concentrations in men and it is responsible for many of the secondary sex characteristics seen in men such as a deeper voice and hair on the chest, in addition to contributing to a healthy libido, building muscle mass, and maintaining energy levels. In general, the normal range in males is about 270 to 1070 ng/dL with an average level of 679 ng/dL. A normal male testosterone level peaks at about age 20, and then it slowly declines. Testosterone levels above or below the normal range are considered by many to be out of balance. Moreover, some researchers suggest that the healthiest men have testosterone levels between 400 - 600 ng/dL.

Men who have testosterone levels that are higher than average may experience both benefits and drawbacks. The benefits, which are modest, include normalizing blood pressure and lowering the likelihood of obesity and heart attacks. However, there is a tendency for such men to consume more alcoholic beverages, and they are more likely to smoke, and more likely to get injured. According to some researchers, the higher the testosterone level, the more likely men are to participate in risk-taking behavior (sexual, injury risk, and even criminal activity). The problems associated with high testosterone levels are infrequent and rare in middle-aged and elderly men who are not receiving testosterone treatments. When the testosterone level becomes out of balance, it usually becomes too low rather than too elevated.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 4/14/2014