Plasma total testosterone and cardiovascular risk factors - Tips from Other Journals

Author: Richard Sadovsky
Date: May 1, 1997

Androgens have been thought to increase cardiovascular risk in both men and women. However, findings of recent studies have contradicted this idea and have demonstrated that lower plasma total testosterone actually is associated with a higher cardiovascular risk. Simon and colleagues used a nested case-control design to investigate the association between plasma total testosterone levels and cardiovascular risk factors in men.

Men with either low or normal plasma total testosterone levels were matched by age and ethnicity and were compared for cardiovascular risk factors. Both groups contained 25 men.

The group with low plasma total testosterone had significantly higher fasting and two-hour postprandial levels of plasma glucose, serum triglycerides, total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and Apo B lipoprotein. This group also had significantly lower high-density lipoprotein and Apo A1 lipoprotein levels.

The link between low plasma total testosterone levels and reduced insulin sensitivity has been shown to be related to increased abdominal adiposity. Studies have shown that androgen supplementation in middle-aged obese men with slightly decreased plasma total testosterone levels reduces abdominal fat tissue and improves insulin sensitivity and lipid metabolism. Other studies show that after short-term androgen treatment, normal healthy men also have a tendency toward a decrease in the insulin response curves and a decline in total and LDL cholesterol.

The authors conclude that androgen treatment may have a beneficial effect on healthy adult men with low plasma total testosterone concentrations. Further studies are needed in healthy adult men with low plasma total testosterone levels to determine if these metabolic changes can improve cardiovascular outcomes.

COPYRIGHT 1997 American Academy of Family PhysiciansCOPYRIGHT 2004 Gale Group

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