Low Testosterone and Cardiovascular Disease Risk in Men

The word testosterone on a tablet with a stethoscopeA study conducted by researchers in Germany suggests that low testosterone levels in men may contribute to their heightened risk of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality.

According to the researchers, men experience cardiovascular disease earlier in life than women, and they have a life expectancy that is 5-10 years shorter than their female counterparts. The researchers argue that though low testosterone has been identified as a potential contributor to cardiovascular disease risk, the role of the condition in cardiovascular gender disparities has not been well explored.

In their study, “Low testosterone concentrations in men contribute to the gender gap in cardiovascular morbidity and mortality,” the researchers set out to explore impact of low testosterone on men’s heightened risk for cardiovascular problems. The study was published online ahead of print in November 2012 in the journal Gender Medicine.

The researchers looked at data on 4,152 people (2,113 women and 2,039 men) from the Study of Health in Pomerania. The participants ranged in age from 20 to 79 years.

Using multivariable Poisson and Cox proportional hazard regression models, the researchers assessed patients’ risk of incident cardiovascular morbidity and their all-cause and cardiovascular disease mortality to understand the differences in morbidity and mortality among men and women. The researchers also examined the impact of low testosterone in men on gender differences.

The results of the study confirmed that men had a higher risk of incident cardiovascular morbidity and all-cause mortality. They also had a higher 10-year cardiovascular disease risk than women. Examination of a subgroup of men with low testosterone showed an even higher 10-year cardiovascular disease and mortality risk.

The study authors conclude that their findings show that men have a higher risk of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality than women, and that low levels of testosterone in men appear to exacerbate this gender gap.

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