Perks And Detriments Of Testosterone Therapy
Aging significantly as well as adversely affects the testosterone levels in men. As men starts getting older, their testosterone levels decline, and to overcome the adverse effects that result from this phenomenon, men opt for artificial replacement therapies. JAMA and JAMA Internal Medicine published 5 papers based on the how this therapy affects several aspects of health. Four of these five studies target the effects on anemia, cognitive function, bone density and coronary plaque buildup. However, the fifth one focuses on the relationship between cardiovascular health and testosterone therapy. Researchers from Perelman School of Medicine and 12 other medical centers located in US in association with National Institute on Aging conducted 7 testosterone trials. The aim of these trials was to determine how testosterone therapy affects men above 65 with considerably low levels of sex hormone. The first three trials were marked by evident boost in overall sexual activity and mood.
Trials Of Testosterone Therapy
The testosterone trial analyzed 51,085 men out of which 790 subjects were selected under the criteria of age associated decline in testosterone levels. The subjects were divided into 2 groups for the double-blind study; one of which took a specified dose of testosterone on the daily basis in the gel form and the other took placebo, both for a period of 12 months. The groups were monitored every three months via variety of tests; such as:
- For the determination of bone density, computed tomography was used
- Delayed paragraph recall test was used for assessing cognition.
- Coronary computed tomographic angioplasty was used to determine the coronary plaque buildup.
Cox proportional hazard models were employed for understanding the relation between overall cardiovascular outcomes (stroke, angina, myocardial infarction, sudden cardiac death and transient ischemic attack) and testosterone therapy.
- This therapy boosted bone strength and bone mineral density.
- Testosterone therapy also enhanced the hemoglobin levels in anemic subjects. This improvement was 40% greater in subjects who took testosterone as compared to the placebo group.
- Testosterone did not improve cognitive functions or memory.
- Testosterone caused further buildup of coronary plaque in patients who took testosterone in contrast to the placebo group. Testosterone-treated group exhibited increased buildup of non-calcified plaque. However, this requires further research work.
Professor of Medicine in Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolism division at University of Pennsylvania, Dr. Peter J. suggests that the findings of these trials propose the cardiovascular risk in people who opt for testosterone therapy. But he also thinks that the number of subjects and the duration of the study was not sufficient enough to base conclusions on regarding cardiovascular risk and coronary plaque buildup associated with testosterone therapy.
The bottom line is that several studies supports the fact that testosterone therapy can be beneficial for older men who have low levels of testosterone. There are also several trials that also suggests how testosterone therapy can benefit anemia and bone. But the trial determining the relation between testosterone therapy and cardiovascular health showed that the treatment may certainly come with some heavy risks. To understand the incidence of unwanted cardiovascular outcomes linked with testosterone therapy, it is highly recommended to speak to your doctor to determine if testosterone therapy is a viable option for you.
- Spitzer, M., Huang, G., Basaria, S., Travison, T. G., & Bhasin, S. (2013). Risks and benefits of testosterone therapy in older men. Nature reviews Endocrinology, 9(7), 414-424.
- Finkle, W. D., Greenland, S., Ridgeway, G. K., Adams, J. L., Frasco, M. A., Cook, M. B., … & Hoover, R. N. (2014). Increased risk of non-fatal myocardial infarction following testosterone therapy prescription in men. PloS one, 9(1), e85805.