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Confused about testosterone replacement therapy?

Kathleen Blanchard's picture
Testosterone replacement may have heart benefits

Replacing testosterone in older men is found in the first new study to improve cardiovascular health in findings published online Aug. 6, 2015, in the European Heart Journal.


Another study that is published in JAMA, suggests taking the hormone for “low T” also will not make atherosclerosis any worse for men already diagnosed with heart disease, though larger trials are needed.

The study also found TRT (testosterone replacement therapy) had no effect on older men when it came to sexual function, intimacy, desire for sex or overall health related to quality of life.

Patches, testosterone injections and gels were found in the a new VA study to decrease risk of overall death in men whose level of the hormone was treated and restored to normal as much as fifty-six percent.

Corresponding study author, Dr. Rajat Barua, says, “Testosterone isn't prescribed with the goal of improving heart health, but that is a consideration in many cases.” The finding showed lower heart risks only for men who regained normal levels of the hormone.

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In addition to a lower chance of dying during the 2009 to 2014 study period, men whose ‘low T’ returned to normal were 24 percent less likely to suffer a heart attack, and 36 percent less likely to have a stroke during the follow-up period of 4.6 to 6.2 years.

Normal testosterone level is 270 to 1070 ng/dL and is measured with a simple blood test. Levels of the male hormone peak at age 20; then slowly start to decline. Lower than normal values are associated with decreased energy, poor strength and endurance, weight gain, depression and more.

Low testosterone is found in past studies to increase risk of diabetes, obesity, heart disease and diabetes. Smoking, alcohol, some medications, aging, infection, radiation treatment, obesity, hypogonadism (failure to make enough testosterone) and diabetes are all known to cause lower levels of the male hormone.

The good news is testosterone replacement therapy could help older men live longer and does not appear to worsen existing heart disease. Testosterone gels, injections or patches may not do much for your sex life, which may be a bit of bad news.

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