Common Health Issues – Adults

Osteoporosis
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Osteoporosis is present in up to 40% of subjects with KS and has usually been attributed to low testosterone levels. However, reduced bone mass might also be present in KS adults with normal testosterone levels and testosterone replacement therapy does not always restore bone density in KS patients.

Exposure to sunshine and a diet high in calcium during childhood/adolescence can help.

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Diabetes - types 1 and 2
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The incidence of diabetes type 1 and 2 associated with Klinefelter’s Syndrome (KS) is significantly higher than in the general population, although the reason for this isn’t fully understood.

To minimise the risk of type 2 diabetes, it is  particularly important that a healthy diet is maintained. Regular exercise is also likely to help.

Autoimmune diseases
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Although most autoimmune diseases predominately affect women, those with KS appear to have an increased risk compared to XY males.

A study of patients with lupus indicated that  KS/XXY  adults have the same risk as  females.

It is thought that this increased risk may be  related to the the extra chromosome.

Other autoimmune diseases include rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis and inflammatory bowel syndrome (IBS).

Conditions affecting veins (venous conditions)
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Varicose veins, leg ulcers, deep vein thrombosis (blood clots in veins) and pulmonary embolism (blood clots in the lung) are significantly more common in KS adults than the general population. It is thought that this may be due to the extra chromosome rather than the absence of testosterone.

Essential tremor and unbalanced gait
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Many adults with KS complain of ‘essential tremor’ – an involuntary shaking of the hands. In some cases this can be so bad that use of a computer mouse or keyboard is impossible.

Testosterone treatment may have a positive effect.

Many also have an unbalanced walk.

Lung diseases
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There is an increased risk of conditions such as chronic bronchitis although the reason for this isn’t known.

Depression
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Depression is quite common. Some find that testosterone replacement can help.

Sleep apnoea
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This is caused by the muscles and soft tissues in the throat relaxing  sufficiently to cause a total blockage of the airway.  It is called an apnoea when the airflow is blocked for 10 seconds or more during which time the sleeper isn’t able to take a breath.

It may be caused by poor muscle tone, small lower jaw and being overweight. Your GP can refer you to a local sleep centre.

 

Dental problems
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Taurodontism is rare condition which appears to be more prevalent in those with KS. Taurodontism mainly affects the development of the molar teeth in such a way that the body of the tooth is enlarged. As it may not show up in an examination without an x-ray, you should  inform your dentist that you have KS.

Oral hygiene is particularly important.

Prostate cancer
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Although untreated KS adults are less likely to suffer from prostate cancer, when using testosterone their risk factor increases to that of an XY male. The prostate should be examined before treatment starts. PSA levels should then be checked after a year then every 1 to 3 years.

Next… Gynaecomastia