Men under 55 years of age had a 25% lower risk of heart attack and stroke, whereas men over 60 had a 15% reduced risk with testosterone supplementation.
Therapy with testosterone supplementation significantly reduces heart attacks and strokes among men with unnaturally low levels of the hormone, according to new research presented at the European Association of Urology congress.
Researchers conducted a 10-year study with more than 800 men from Germany and Qatar with testosterone deficiency. Participants’ family history, blood pressure, cholesterol levels, diabetes, or weight put them at high risk of heart attack or stroke. Only men with below-normal testosterone levels were included in the research. They displayed symptoms of low testosterone, such as low mood, decreased appetite, depression, erectile dysfunction, loss of libido, or weight gain.
Slightly more than 50% of the men chose long-term testosterone replacement therapy, which allowed the investigators to compare this group to those whose condition was left untreated. All participants were encouraged to make lifestyle changes, including dietary changes, smoking cessation, and increased exercise in order to improve their cardiovascular health.
Of the 412 men on testosterone therapy, 16 died and none suffered a heart attack or stroke. Of the 393 men who did not receive testosterone supplements, 74 died, 70 had a heart attack, and 59 suffered a stroke. Even after accounting for age discrepancy, these differences remained clear, according to the study. Men under 55 years of age had a 25% lower risk of heart attack and stroke, whereas men over 60 years of age had a 15% reduced risk.
“Given that all these men would normally have been expected to suffer a heart attack or stroke in the next 5 to 10 years, with no other intervention, it was a real surprise to see no cardiovascular events at all in the group on testosterone therapy,” said Omar Aboumarzouk, MD, from the Hamad Medical Corporation in Qatar, in a press release. “It’s clear that this treatment can significantly reduce the risks in this particular group.”
Researchers found that the health of men on testosterone therapy also improved in other ways, including weight loss, increased lean muscle mass, improved cholesterol levels and liver function, and more controlled diabetes and blood pressure. Despite these results, the study authors said testosterone therapy should only be considered for patients who meet specific criteria.
“Testosterone can be seriously harmful if taken by men with normal levels, or who function perfectly well with reduced levels of the hormone,” Aboumarzouk said in the press release. “While men need testosterone for certain psychological and biological functions, only those with low levels who display other symptoms are likely to benefit from testosterone therapy.”
Aboumarzouk said testosterone therapy could help men at high risk of heart attack and stroke maximize the benefits of other steps to improve their health. These steps could include increased exercise, eating healthier foods, quitting smoking, and reducing alcohol consumption.
“We believe that physicians treating patients with low testosterone, who are at high risk of heart attack or stroke, should consider testosterone therapy as one aspect of their treatment,” Aboumarzouk said.
Testosterone therapy reduces heart attack and stroke. EurekAlert; July 9, 2021. Accessed July 12, 2021. https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2021-07/eaou-ttr070821.php