Low testosterone increases risk of death in men with type 2 diabetes

Allowing low testosterone levels to go untreated may sharply increase the risk of early death among men with type 2 diabetes, according to a new study from a group of British researchers.

University of Sheffield officials said that their findings, which were presented at the annual meeting of the Society for Endocrinology, are important because low testosterone is a common complication of type 2 diabetes. Treating this problem could save the lives of countless men.

For the study, the researchers examined 587 men with type 2 diabetes. Participants were split into three groups. The first group had normal levels of testosterone, the second was receiving treatment for low testosterone and the third had untreated testosterone deficiency. These men were followed for six years.

During the course of the study, men who went untreated for testosterone deficiency were more than twice as likely to die, compared to those who had normal levels of the hormone. Participants who were on testosterone replacement therapy were the least likely to die.

Professor Hugh Jones, who led the investigation, said that the findings are important, but they are likely the tip of the iceberg when it comes to complications associated with low testosterone in men with type 2 diabetes. There have been few investigations into how hormone deficiencies affect men with the condition.

"It is well known that men with type 2 diabetes often have low testosterone levels, so it is important that we investigate the health implications of this," he said. "We now need to carry out a larger clinical trial to confirm these preliminary findings. If confirmed, then many deaths could be prevented every year."