Testosterone and the heart
International Journal of Clinical Practice, 06/22/2012
Continuing Medical Education
Hackett G – There is early evidence from non–randomised studies that physiological testosterone replacement is extremely safe and may reduce cardiovascular mortality. The fact that few patients in potentially risk groups are being screened and treated is probably because of the wide range of specialities involved and the reluctance of one discipline to embrace and manage testosterone deficiency.
- Several large scale studies in recent years have demonstrated increased cardiovascular mortality in men with low testosterone, especially those with existing cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.
- In some patients the baseline measurement was a single total testosterone level, in others the association was seen only with free or bioavailable testosterone.
- These differences are most likely related to different characteristics of the cohorts studied in terms of age, obesity and presence of metabolic syndrome.
- Other smaller studies show consistent benefit from testosterone replacement in terms of reduced insulin resistance, HbA1c, total, LDL–cholesterol, triglycerides and inflammatory markers for CHD.
- There is clear evidence for a reduction in visceral and lean fat mass, improvement in sexual function, mood and symptom scores.
- Whilst most of these benefits are modest, the combined effect on these surrogate markers for cardiovascular risk is considerable and the improvement in well–being is likely to be welcomed by patients.