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5 July 2010
New evidence linking heart attacks, high testosterone
by George Atkinson

Disputing earlier research, a large U.S. study shows that older men with higher testosterone levels are more likely to have a heart attack or other cardiovascular problems. The findings were presented at The Endocrine Society's 92nd Annual Meeting.

"The study finding contradicts smaller studies that have shown that testosterone levels are not associated with higher rates of cardiovascular disease," said researcher Kristen Sueoka, from the University of California, San Francisco. "Many in the general public are using testosterone supplements for various medical problems, including low sex drive and mood disorders, which are not life-threatening. These men may unknowingly be placing themselves at higher risk for cardiovascular disease."

The study participants, who were aged 65 or older, had their testosterone levels measured and were followed up after four years. About 14 percent had a coronary disease event during that period. After the researchers adjusted for other potential contributing risk factors, such as elevated cholesterol, they found that higher total testosterone level relates to an increased risk of coronary disease. Men with the highest levels of testosterone (greater than or equal to 495 nanograms per deciliter) had more than twofold the risk of coronary disease.

"Men with the highest testosterone could potentially be at risk for heart disease regardless of the definition of 'normal' levels," says Sueoka. "One day testosterone measurements may be used to help predict which men are more likely to develop cardiovascular disease. But we need more studies to confirm that high testosterone is a risk factor for heart disease."

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Source: The Endocrine Society

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