Physicians are seeing an increasing number of older male patients with chronic diseases and conditions. However, the potential relevance of low levels of circulating endogenous androgens in connection with these diseases and conditions is generally poorly understood. Research findings have suggested that androgens play a distinct role in bone metabolism, body composition such as muscle and fat mass and fat distribution, cognitive functioning, mood and well being. The aim of this paper is to summarize the currently available data on the association between endogenous androgens and the intermediate or clinically manifest indicators of chronic conditions in men that might contribute to the phenomenon 'frailty'. The evidence that reductions in endogenous androgens play a role in age-related health problems is circumstantial. Therefore, large-scale randomized trials are needed to establish whether aging males with low serum androgen levels benefit from androgen supplementation.