Is There a Connection between Testosterone and Heart Health?
The debate between testosterone and heart health has raged on for many decades, with medical experts taking both sides of the case. Is there a connection between testosterone and heart health that is beneficial or dangerous? Research can be found arguing in favor of each theory. Perhaps the most influential research to date is that which comes from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
In August of 2015, the Office of Research & Development of the VA published key findings that support the benefits of testosterone replacement therapy for cardiovascular health. The VA database study looked at more than 83,000 men with low testosterone levels. That is by far one of the biggest studies done on this subject to date.
The connection in this report between heart health and low testosterone contradicted many smaller studies done in the past. Men who had a history of heart attacks or strokes were excluded from this study. Those who had been diagnosed previously with heart disease but who had not had the above-mentioned incidents were included in this research.
The findings showed that men who received testosterone replacement therapy through the use of injections, patches, or gels to reverse Low T had a lower risk of heart attack, stroke, or death from any cause compared to those individuals who did not receive treatment for their low testosterone levels.
Benefits of Testosterone for the Heart
One of the biggest concerns about Low T is its link to metabolic syndrome, a condition made up of a number of other medical issues that include:
- High blood pressure
- Elevated triglycerides
- High LDL cholesterol
- High blood sugar
Each of these factors can affect the heart. Men with heart disease, osteoporosis, dementia, obesity, diabetes, and high blood pressure are all at a greater risk of being diagnosed with Low T.
By turning to heart healthy testosterone treatment, a man can improve his overall health in many ways. Here are some specific benefits for the heart:
- Improved Cardiac Output:
- Testosterone therapy has been shown to improve vascular reactivity and blood flow. Cardiac output increases as a result of decreasing systemic vascular resistance.
- Increased Exercise Capacity:
- Men dealing with chronic heart failure typically have a reduced tolerance for exercise. There are concerns about exercise-induced myocardial ischemia and decreased endurance in men with CHF. Research has shown significant improvements in the 6-minute walk test, peak oxygen consumption, and in the isometric walk test. Testosterone therapy also improves muscle mass and strength, aiding in improved exercise capacity. Increased exercise training ability helps to improve exercise capacity in individuals with CHF.
- Red Blood Cell Production:
- Testosterone stimulates red blood cell production, which can help reverse anemia that is often common in older men.
There are many benefits of increasing levels of testosterone. Heart health is only one reason why this treatment for Low T is important.
Improving Heart Health with Testosterone Therapy for Low T
The treatment of Low T for improved heart health relies on one important factor – being able to provide the proper dosage in order to achieve the ideal therapeutic range of testosterone levels. Men who did not reach this increase did not reap the benefits in the VA study. Additional research in other studies has shown that men have the best improvements with testosterone injections and heart health when their levels reach 550 ng/dL. That seems to be the magic number for optimum well-being and healthfulness as men who had levels at this point or higher had a 30% reduction in the risk of cardiovascular events in a study of 2,416 men between the ages of 69 and 81.
That does not mean that reaching a level of 400 ng/dL will not be beneficial, especially if a man started out significantly lower. It is essential to discuss the results with the hormone replacement therapy specialist that has prescribed this treatment to ensure that you are optimizing your benefits.
At Kingsberg Medical, our doctors and clinical advisors work closely with each individual to ensure that the ideal testosterone levels are achieved for maximum benefits. If you are concerned about Low T and heart health, please contact us for a complimentary consultation.