A multicenter study has shown that older men with higher testosterone levels are more likely to have a myocardial infarction or other cardiovascular disease in the future.
Study participants were age 65 or older and included 697 community-dwelling men who were participating in the National Institutes of Health-funded study, Osteoporotic Fractures in Men ( MrOS ). None of these men were receiving Testosterone therapy.
All subjects had blood tests to determine their testosterone levels. The investigators then divided the men into quartiles, or four groups, of testosterone range to observe trends in rates of coronary heart disease events.
A coronary heart disease event included a myocardial infarction, unstable angina, an angioplasty or bypass surgery.
During an average follow-up of nearly 4 years, 100 men, or about 14%, had a coronary disease event, in particular, myocardial infarction.
After the researchers adjusted for other potential contributing risk factors for heart disease, such as elevated cholesterol, they found that higher total testosterone level relates to an increased risk of coronary disease. Men whose total testosterone was in the highest quartile ( greater than or equal to 495 ng/dL ) had more than twofold the risk of coronary disease compared with men in the lowest quartile ( below 308 ng/dL ).
Other important measures of testosterone in the body and of a protein that tightly binds with testosterone ( sex hormone-binding globulin, SHBG ) also showed a close relationship between testosterone and coronary heart disease.
The investigators did not divide the men by normal or abnormal testosterone levels because the definition of abnormal levels depends on many factors, including increasing age.
Men with the highest testosterone could potentially be at risk for heart disease regardless of the definition of normal levels. ( Xagena )
Source: 92nd Annual Meeting - The Endocrine Society, 2010