Understanding the Risks of Testosterone Therapy
Testosterone is a crucial hormone produced by the testicles that ensures the proper development of male sexual characteristics. This hormone also helps men maintain muscle bulk, adequate red blood cell levels, bone growth and sexual function. Testosterone replacement therapy is being marketed to older men as the new way to turn back a man’s body clock and improve his sexual performance. However, several research studies point to the fact that these benefits may come at a high price. These studies state that heart problems and stroke may be just some of the serious side effects and risk factors when it comes to testosterone replacement therapy.
Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Study
In a 2013 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, scientists found that men resorting to testosterone therapy had a 29 percent higher risk of death, heart attack and stroke compared to those not taking the treatment. The study looked at 8,709 men with low testosterone levels who underwent coronary angiography, a procedure used to open blocked or narrow arteries. Researchers found that 19.9 percent of those who were not on testosterone experienced heart attacks and strokes while 25.7 percent of those resorted to testosterone therapy experienced those problems.
New England Journal of Medicine Study
A 2010 study in the New England Journal of Medicine showed that testosterone treatment in men aged 65 years and older who have limitations in mobility is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular issues including myocardial infarction or heart attack and hypertension. Because of these adverse events, the treatment phase of the trial, which was supported by the National Institute on Aging of the National Institutes of Health, was halted. Results of the study were published online in June 2010.
As part of the trial, 209 men were randomly chosen to receive 10 grams of a transdermal gel containing either a placebo or 100 mg of testosterone to be applied to the skin daily for six months. During a review, researchers found that 23 of the 106 men who received testosterone experienced adverse cardiovascular events compared to five of the 103 men who got the placebo. The events included heart attacks, arrhythmias, hypertension and one heart attack-related death.
PLOS One Study
A new study published in February 2014 in the journal PLOS One also found that prescription testosterone therapies could increase the risk of heart attacks. In fact, this new study, which explains that men 65 or older could double their heart attack risk within three months of testosterone therapy, has prompted the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to look into the dangers associated with this type of treatment. The PLOS One study also showed that the heightened heart attack risk was also present in younger men who suffered from heart disease.
Is Testosterone Therapy Right for You?
Testosterone therapy may have a number of benefits, but it also comes with several serious health risks. If you are looking at testosterone therapy, it is important that you have an in-depth discussion with your doctor and make sure it is the right course of treatment for you before you proceed. It is important that your doctor explains the risks along with the benefits so that you can make an informed decision regarding your treatment options.