Contrary to previous warnings, men with Low T who undergo testosterone therapy have a lower risk of heart attacks. Testosterone replacement can decrease heart attack risk and incidence of cardiovascular events by as much as 33%. These results from a Kaiser Permanente study published in February 2017 in JAMA Internal Medicine confirms possible benefits of supplemental testosterone.
Men are more likely to suffer cardiovascular events such as stroke or heart attack as they age. Testosterone levels also decline with age. The concern between testosterone injections and heart health came to light due to incidents of cardiovascular events. However, when the doctors involved in the study evaluated the 44,335 male patients with androgen deficiency, they found the following results:
- Of the 8,808 men treated with testosterone replacement therapy (TRT), 8.2% suffered a stroke or heart attack during the study period.
- Of the 35,527 men who did not receive TRT, 10.2% suffered a stroke or heart attack during the same time.
Doctors estimate that of men under age 60, one in 200 has low testosterone levels. That number increases to two in 10 for those over 60 years. While not all individuals with low levels of testosterone will endure symptoms of Low T, the importance of testosterone for heart health cannot be overlooked.
What Impact Does Testosterone Have on the Heart?
Testosterone has numerous beneficial properties concerning the heart. Although there may be many reasons why a man (or woman) turns to testosterone replacement, heart health is often high on the benefits list.
Men tend to develop coronary disease approximately ten years earlier than women. This is important to understand because male testosterone levels begin to decline in the early thirties. Women do not see a decline in testosterone until menopause.
Here are some of the ways testosterone levels and heart health are intertwined:
- Testosterone improves myocardial ischemia in males with angina pectoris
- Testosterone stimulates red blood cell production in bone marrow
- Testosterone improves exercise capacity
- Testosterone helps lower LDL cholesterol
- Testosterone increases coronary artery diameter and coronary blood flow
Other ways that testosterone replacement can decrease heart attack risk is by lowering LDL cholesterol to reverse atherosclerosis. Unclogging the arteries helps improve blood flow to and from the heart. Testosterone also lowers blood pressure through dilation of the arteries.
Low Testosterone and Heart Attack Risk – How Testosterone Therapy Can Help
Lowering the risk of future heart attacks is a concern for every person – male and female alike. It has long been known that hormones such as estrogen have protective effects on the heart. Women suffer an increased risk of heart disease ten years after menopause onset. Estrogen helps to keep blood vessels flexible.
Much of the estrogen in the body comes from testosterone conversion into estradiol by the enzyme aromatase. That is one of the reasons for the low testosterone heart health concern. Decreased levels of testosterone can lead to a reduction in available estrogen in the body. Increase testosterone levels, and you can also safely increase estrogen’s effects on the heart.
Another study that shows testosterone replacement can decrease heart attack risk is out of Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute. The Salt Lake City researchers followed 755 men between age 58 and 78 at their Intermountain Healthcare hospitals.
All participants had severe coronary artery disease and were split into three groups:
- No testosterone supplementation
- Medium-dose testosterone therapy
- High-dose testosterone therapy
Testosterone administration was by injection or gel. The results of the study were as follows:
- At the one-year mark:
- No testosterone – 64 patients suffered major adverse cardiovascular events
- Medium-dose testosterone – 12 cardiovascular events
- High-dose testosterone – 9 cardiovascular events
- At the three-year mark:
- No testosterone – 125 patients suffered major adverse cardiovascular events
- Medium-dose testosterone – 38 cardiovascular events
- High-dose testosterone – 22 cardiovascular events
This study on testosterone therapy and heart health also showed that TRT did not increase risk factors for men with no prior heart disease history.
Testosterone has beneficial effects on the heart. Protecting heart health is crucial as you age. if you suspect you have Low T, it is imperative that you contact a hormone specialist to assess your testosterone levels.
For more information about testosterone and heart health, please contact Hormone Replacement Clinic for a free consultation.