Testosterone supplementation significantly reduces heart attack and stroke in men with unnaturally low levels of the hormone, according to new research presented at the European Association of Urology Congress today.
The ten-year study involved over 800 men from Germany and Qatar with testosterone deficiency whose family history, blood pressure, cholesterol levels, diabetes or weight put them at high risk for heart attack or stroke.
Only men with testosterone levels below normal, who also showed symptoms of low testosterone, such as bad mood, decreased appetite, depression, erectile dysfunction, loss of libido or weight gain, were included in the research.
Just over half of the men chose long-term testosterone replacement therapy, which allowed the researchers to compare this group with those whose condition was left untreated. All men were encouraged to make lifestyle changes in terms of diet, alcohol, smoking and exercise to improve their cardiovascular health.
Men’s health with testosterone treatment was also improved by other measures. They lost weight, had more muscle mass, their cholesterol levels and liver function improved, their diabetes was better controlled and their blood pressure dropped.
Professor Omar Aboumarzouk of Hamad Medical Corporation in Qatar explains: “Given that all of these men would normally have been expected to have a heart attack or stroke for the next five to ten years without any other intervention, it was not a real surprise at all. to see cardiovascular events in the group on testosterone treatment. It is clear that this treatment can significantly reduce the risk in this group. “
However, the team is eager to emphasize that testosterone treatment is not a silver ball and should only be considered for patients who meet certain criteria.
“Testosterone can be seriously harmful if taken by men with normal levels, or which works perfectly with reduced levels of the hormone,” says Professor Aboumarzouk. “While men need testosterone for certain psychological and biological functions, only those with low levels show other symptoms that are likely to benefit from testosterone treatment.
“For those at high risk for heart attacks and strokes who have testosterone deficiency, it is likely that bringing the hormone back to normal levels will help them maximize the benefits of other steps needed to improve their overall health. This includes increased exercise levels, eating healthier food, giving up smoking and reducing alcohol consumption.
“We believe that physicians treating patients with low testosterone who are at high risk for heart attack or stroke should consider testosterone therapy as an aspect of their treatment.”
The study, which involved researchers from Dresden, Bremen and Münster in Germany and Doha in Qatar, is still ongoing.
Dr Maarten Albersen, Member of the EAU Scientific Office from Leuven University in Belgium, states: “The long-term cardiovascular risks or benefits of testosterone treatment are still unclear due to conflicting results from previous research. This new study has shown a reduction in major cardiovascular events and mortality in men who received testosterone treatment compared to men who chose not to receive this treatment.
“However, these were men with a moderate risk of heart attack or stroke, and those who received testosterone were younger and had a slightly lower risk at the start of the study. The study was long enough to see differences in the frequency of cardiovascular However, the numbers involved and the fact that the trial was not randomized mean that it is still difficult to draw hard conclusions.A new trial is now under way with the aim of recruiting 6000 participants and this should the cardiovascular risks or even benefits of hormone therapy in men with low testosterone. ”
Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases sent to EurekAlert! by contributing to institutions or to the use of information through the EurekAlert system.