A new study has found that older men with low testosterone levels benefit greatly from hormone therapy. Once the subjects reached normal testosterone levels, they suffered fewer strokes, heart attacks and fatalities.
A team of researchers from Kansas City’s VA Medical Center looked at 83.000 older men with the age of 50 and over, and noticed that those who had a positive experience with testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) improved their health. The men reported having more energy, better mood and sex drive.
The findings were somewhat surprising as the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ordered that testosterone replacement therapies carry warning labels saying that they increase the risk of having a heart attack or a stroke.
Rajat S. Barua, study author, MD, PhD, and cardiologist from Kansas City’s VA Medical Center, gave a statement in a press release informing that “With such widespread and ever increasing use of TRT, there has been growing concern regarding its effect on mortality, as well as conflicting results”.
He went on to explain that the researchers’ goal was to investigate the knowledge gap and find an explanation.
It’s worth mentioning that the study subjects who underwent testosterone replacement therapy but did not increase their levels of the hormone, did not show any signs of the above mentioned cardiovascular benefits.
In fact, Dr. Barua stressed that it’s critical for health workers to prescribe the precise dose needed to reach normal testosterone levels. He also mentioned that this si the first study of its kind.
But the study is not necessarily widely embraced. MD Aaron Michelfelder, family physician from Loyola University’s Health System, believes that not all older men should be treated with hormone therapy. He gave a statement saying that only men who have low testosterone levels and show symptoms should be considered for testosterone replacement therapy.
But “asymptomatic men should not be” considered for testosterone replacement therapy, or even screened for low testosterone levels. He stressed that the researchers have found no proof that if men without symptoms are given testosterone supplements, their health will improve.
He also wants people to know that “aging is a normal process”, and a lot of older men do not develop significant fatigue, sexual issues, or any other symptoms of low testosterone as they age.
What’s more, Dr. Michelfelder said that men can raise their testosterone levels naturally by losing weight and performing muscle-building exercises.
The study took place between the years of 1999 and 2014. As a measure of control, the research team divided subjects into three (3) separate groups – the ones who reached normal testosterone levels after undergoing testosterone replacement therapy, the ones who underwent testosterone replacement therapy but did not reach normal testosterone levels, and the ones who had low testosterone levels and did not undergo testosterone replacement therapy.
The researchers also took into account factors such as age, cholesterol levels, body mass index (BDI), various chronic diseases, the use of beta blockers, aspirin and / or statins.
Statistically speaking, the men who reached normal testosterone levels were 56 percent (56%) less likely to die before the five (5) to six (6) year follow-up period, 24 percent (24%) less likely to experience a heart attack, and 36 percent (36%) less likely to experience a stoke.
However, 40 percent (40%) of the men who underwent testosterone replacement therapy kept having low testosterone levels.
The findings were published earlier this month, in the European Heart Journal.
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