Testosterone as a medical treatment means many things to many people. For some, it can mean enhancing performance. For others, it can mean a step towards identity. New studies now find that the male hormone can also be effective when used to treat asthma in men. The findings come as the result of years of research into inflammatory and respiratory disorders in patients throughout the United States. How is it that this simple solution can prevent such a debilitating breathing illness?
While the condition itself is pervasive, there is no clear consensus on exactly what causes asthma. Over the years, there have been a number of reasons given to explain how respiratory issues such as asthma work. Researchers suggest that the root could be a combination of both genetic and environmental factors. They have linked exposure to certain airborne allergens and infections during infancy to the development of asthma. Some also suggest that inherited vulnerabilities to certain irritants can result in asthma.
There is a theory that blames sanitation and hygiene as a contributing factor to the development of the condition. Experts argue that this increased dedication to killing germs lowers risks of infection in children. This lower risk means that their immune systems do not develop the ability to fight off certain illnesses.
Recent studies have also linked estrogen to allergies and asthma. Women suffer from allergic disease far more than men do. Researchers hypothesize that estrogen affects the immune system’s reaction when dealing with respiratory irritants.
In light of the connection between estrogen and chronic allergies and asthma, scientists believe that testosterone could prove a viable treatment for men. They cite a trend in the rates of asthma in childhood as the motivation to explore this new treatment. During childhood, boys tend to have much higher rates of asthma than girls. This trend reverses after puberty when boys start to produce testosterone and girls produce estrogen.
Tests on lab animals have shown that while estrogen increases inflammation in the lungs, testosterone actually decreases it. While there is no guarantee that the same happens in human beings, the results look promising. With grants, research teams hope to further explore new hormone treatments to help men with asthma.
What do you think about the possibility of more effective treatments for asthma? What other chronic illnesses do you think doctors can treat using hormone therapy? Do you think there are any risks involved in treating the diseases with something like testosterone? Let us know what you think in the comments below.