The ISMH is focusing on issues concerning gender specific medicine in general and men’s health in particular. Hypogonadism caused by low levels of testosterone is a common problem that is often undiagnosed and untreated. It correlates with different symptoms such as loss of enthusiasm, abdominal weight gain, depressed mood, lack of energy or low sex drive. Hypogonadism for example is associated with the metabolic syndrome (Makhsida N. et al., J Urol 2005;174(3):827-834), diabetes (Maric C et al, Am J Physiol Renal Physiol 2009;269 (4):F680-F688; Grossmann M et al, Curr Opin Endocrinol Diabetes Obes 2010; 17:247–256) and atherosclerosis (Svartberg J et al, J Int Med 2006;259:576-582).
Why does the ISMH run a campaign about hypogonadism?
There are three main topics in the field of men´s health: prostate health, erectile dysfunction and hypogonadism/TDS. The ISMH choose hypogonadism/TDS for the campaign as it is often correlated with other severe disease as diabetes, obesity, atherosclerosis or cardiovascular disease. Furthermore men with hypogonadism do have a lower life expectancy than men with normal testosterone level (Khaw K-T et al., Circulation 2007;116: 2694-2701, Shores MM, Matsumoto AM, Sloan KL, Kivlahan DR, Arch Intern Med. 2006;166:1660-1665).
What is the purpose of the campaign?
Many men have testosterone deficiency without knowing it. They are suffering from non-specific symptoms and most have no idea that apathy, irritability, lethargy and loss of libido may be due to hypogonadism caused by low levels of testosterone. Almost nobody knows that testosterone production is decreasing with increasing visceral fat while, at the same time, testosterone is needed to metabolize visceral fat. It is a vicious circle. More informed men can make better decision in regard to their health when they are aware of the consequences.
The aim of the campaign is to help men and their partners recognize that certain changes they may be experiencing might not be due just to aging, make them ask a doctor about it and help to prevent long-term effects like the metabolic syndrome.
Men are not likely to talk or read about their health problems and go to the doctor. This is why the campaign is being displayed in daily newspapers, finance and sport magazines. With the football a key visual was chosen that grabs the attention of many men in a more humorous way trying to channel their interest towards the important taboo afflicted health topic of hypogonadism.
What are GPs interested in/aware of when it comes to TDS?
Hypogonadism/TDS awareness amongst health care professional is usually low, treatment rates in Europe are about ¼ compared to the US. However, interest and knowledge of GPs are increasing along with the growing scientific understanding that hypogonadism is no life style issue and not part of the normal aging process. Hypogonadism caused by low levels of testosterone is often associated with serious health issues in men (Muller M et al, European Journal of Endocrinology 2003; 149 583–589; Mulligan T et al, Int J Clin Pract 2006; 60, 7, 762–769). This is the reason why the ISMH is requesting more international studies on testosterone and related medical conditions. The call for more research was one of the results of the ISMH consensus conference 2010 in New York. The ISMH runs a number of educational initiatives and more efforts are planned in the next future.
Who came up with the idea to start this campaign?
The concept was formed during the ISMH consensus conference on hypogonadism and testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) in New York in 2010 (Traish A et al, Am J Med 2011; 124: 578-587; Wang C et al, Diab Care 2011; 34: 1669-1675). This scientific meeting of 25 international experts was also attended by many pharmaceutical companies including Bayer. The current campaign about symptoms of hypogonadism caused by low levels of testosterone in Sweden is a logical result of this conference and the publications resulting from this meeting. It is part of the ISMH's mission to improve the health of men and empower them to pursue healthier lives. Bayer is named as the sponsor for this campaign, but the ISMH is responsible for content and the wording of the campaign. Additionally, the campaign is not related to any product but suggests to men with symptoms to consult their doctors. Other industry partners would be very welcome as these would help to increase the impact of this awareness campaign on the TDS/hypogonadism.
You can contact us through our website (http://www.ismh.org/en/contact/) or our bureau in Vienna:
1090 Vienna, Austria
Tel +43/ (0)1 / 904 78 12
Fax +43/ (0)1 / 409 60 11