One in four men over 30 currently has low testosterone (aka “low T”). A recent study suggests that those who opt for testosterone replace therapy (TRT) may inadvertently improve their heart health.
The study, which was conducted by researchers at Kansas City VA Medical Centre, included over 83,000 U.S. veterans who’d been treated between 1999 and 2014. All participants were at least 50 years old and had low testosterone and no history of stroke or myocardial infarction (MI).
Researchers began by splitting the men into three groups: those who’d undergone TRT and regained normal testosterone levels, those whose levels did not stabilize after treatment, and those who never received TRT.
What they found was that men in the first group experienced a variety of cardiac benefits. When compared to men who never sought therapy, these men were 56 percent less likely to die during the follow-up period. They were also 24 percent less likely to suffer an MI and 36 percent less likely to have a stroke.
While less pronounced, these benefits held true when researchers compared these men to participants who received TRT but never normalized. Corresponding author and cardiologist Dr. Rajat S. Barua says the findings are significant as previous research has suggested a potential link between increased cardiovascular risk and TRT.
“Our study was born out of our own dilemma of what to say to our patients because there was conflicting news in the past few years,” he says.
Barua cautions, however, that further research is needed to better understand the relationship. He adds that doctors shouldn’t simply prescribe testosterone to patients complaining of fatigue or low sex drive. Instead, Barua advises that patients go through the appropriate screening process to determine if TRT is indeed the best treatment approach.
That said, men who are good candidates may experience the additional perk of improved heart health.