Former Actor, Now a Doctor, Offers Tips on Low T
Patients often recognized him as a former actor, but this Los Angeles internist found his true calling as a real life MD.
By Dennis Thompson Jr.
Medically Reviewed by Farrokh Sohrabi, MD
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Damon Raskin, MD, believes that low testosterone is harming the quality of life of countless men who have not been diagnosed with the hormone problem.
"I think it's a very important and misunderstood medical issue," said Dr. Raskin, an internist who practices in Pacific Palisades, Calif. "It's not only a real problem, it's very satisfying for the patient and the doctor when it's addressed properly because you can significantly improve quality of life."
In addition to his clinic, Raskin also serves as supervising physician at three Ageless Men's Health clinics in the Los Angeles area, and he sees more and more men coming in to have their blood tested for low testosterone levels.
"It's becoming more talked about. A lot more people are aware it's an issue," he said. "Because of that, maybe men are less embarrassed to come in and talk about their erections or their testosterone levels. Doctors are more aware, and patients are more aware."
An Actor Turned Physician
Raskin came to be a physician along a route befitting a longtime Los Angeles resident. He was a child actor in the late 1970s, appearing in guest roles on TV shows like "The Practice," "Eight is Enough," "Emergency!," "B.J. and the Bear," and "One Day at a Time."
"I enjoyed myself, but I realized it wasn't my destiny," Raskin said. "I wanted to have more control over my life and not have to wait for someone to choose me for a part."
So he took the money saved from his acting and went to the George Washington University School of Medicine, where he graduated with distinction. He's been in private practice since 1996.
"Occasionally, people will recognize me, or they'll go on Google to look up their doctor and find out about my acting," Raskin said. "It's something nice that I was able to do."
Increasing Low Testosterone Awareness
Raskin said that despite more familiarity with the term low T, many of the patients he sees come to him with the symptoms of low testosterone, yet are completely unaware that they likely have a hormone deficiency.
"Some men will come in just feeling tired, very fatigued. Sometimes they'll come in with low sex drive or erectile dysfunction," he said. "They'll see their muscle mass changing or their body composition changing. Diabetes can lead to low testosterone. We also see low testosterone in young men who are abusing prescription opiates."
Low T also can cause a general feeling of malaise. "Low testosterone can mask as a depression," Raskin said. "People say they feel low or down, and it's not depression, it's just low testosterone."
On the other hand, others think that they have low T due to the normal effects of aging. "They'll say, 'I think I have a problem. I'd like to look into it and check it out.' It's normal for testosterone levels to fall as we age, but we try to improve conditions if people are aging and showing symptoms," Raskin said.
In men found to have low T levels, it is imperative to address first the underlying cause or causes of low T. Raskin said he looks into the underlying reasons a man is experiencing low T, and tries to treat them as well.
In addition to addressing the underlying cause, testosterone replacement therapy may also help to improve the patient's condition. "You have to be very careful in giving testosterone, making sure to monitor the liver and other organs," Raskin said.
If you're concerned about low T, it's important to take action. "For men who possibly have some of these symptoms, I would tell them to go see your doctor and get checked," he said. "There is treatment, it can be convenient, and it can make a huge difference in their quality of life if it works. It's not just about sex.
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