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Testosterone Levels Might Impair Bone Weakness Diagnosis

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Fluctuations in testosterone levels might skew traditional methods for bone weakness diagnosis in men, Arthritis Research UK reports.

Research led by the University of Melbourne and published in the Osteoporosis International journal suggests that transient low serum levels of testosterone are commonly found in men diagnosed with acute fractures. This condition might have an impact on tests measuring testosterone deficiency to assess bone fragility.

The research team monitored 240 males diagnosed with a minimal trauma fracture. Their testosterone levels were compared with those of an additional control group of 89 age-matched men who had no history of minimal trauma fractures.

The findings of the report revealed that people with confirmed minimal traumas had lower testosterone levels, when compared to their age counterparts in the control group. However, a follow-up check six months later, when they had recovered from their fractures, showed that the testosterone levels of 43% of the patients were back to normal. This indicates that the effect was temporary.

Because of that, the research team suggested that to come up with a realistic and accurate diagnosis, additional factors must also be measured when such tests are performed. Right now, it is common practice to check a male´s testosterone levels, as well as their gonadal status, when assessing the level of bone fragility.

In conclusion, the study said that low levels of testosterone in males with acute fractures might partially be a consequence of a stress response associated with the fractures. Therefore, the study suggests that assessments of testosterone levels should be postponed until recovery from the fracture, avoiding overdiagnosis.