For men, Testosterone has always been recognized for its importance with regard to sexual function, but over the course of the last decade, researchers continue to become more aware of the other important effects of Testosterone, and how dangerous Testosterone Deficiency is for aging men. Recent Research published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism has uncovered a strong link between Testosterone and Atherosclerosis in men with Adult-Onset Diabetes.
What Is Atherosclerosis?
Atherosclerosis is also known as “Hardening of the Arteries,” and is a condition in which cholesterol, fats, and other materials start to form plaques in the arteries, which inhibit proper blood flow and make the heart have to work harder to pump blood. Atherosclerosis increases the risk of numerous other diseases, and vastly increases the risk of blood clots, heart attack, and stroke.
Atherosclerosis, Diabetes, and Low-T are Related
In the past, researchers have already linked Testosterone Deficiency with both an increased risk of Diabetes and Atherosclerosis, but this study demonstrates how the three conditions interact, feeding on each other to diminish the health of the patient. Also, this study indicates the severity of Atherosclerosis, and provides insight into how Testosterone Levels and Atherosclerosis severity are correlated.
Low-T Associated with Increased Incidence and Increased Severity of Atherosclerosis
This study shows that not only does Low-T increase the risk of Atherosclerosis, it also increases the severity of the condition, both with regard to plaque build-up and other health issues related to that build up.
In this study, the researchers related Low-T with a number of physiological issues related to Atherosclerosis, including inflammation, the number and severity of plaques present in the arteries, and the thickness of the carotid arteries, which are responsible for delivering fresh blood to the brain.
The results of this research shows that males that had Adult-Onset Diabetes in combination with Low-T had six times the risk of patients with only Diabetes to experience malfunctions of epithelial function and carotid arteries that were thicker than normal as a result of atherosclerosis.
Among patients that did not have Testosterone Deficiency, only ten percent of patients were in the at-risk category with regard to cardiovascular disease, whereas fifty-four percent of patients with Low-T were in the at-risk category.
Atherosclerosis Leads to Deadly Cardiovascular Disease
One of the authors of this study is Dr. Javier Farias of Sanatorio Guemes University in Argentina. This study was a multinational, multi-center effort which also involved the Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. Atherosclerosis is one of the root causes and key indicators of Cardiovascular Disease, one of the most deadly diseases in America, and the world, today.
Testosterone Therapy Currently Being Evaluated as a Potential Treatment Option
In recent years, there have been a few studies which have presented evidence which supports the notion that Testosterone Replacement increases the risk of heart conditions such as heart attack, and this has led Bio-Identical Testosterone to undergo increased scrutiny. Of course, the body of research is mixed, as many studies have also shown that when Testosterone is administered properly, the risks of heart related issues are significantly mitigated.
The issue with the studies which reported the potential cardiovascular dangers of Low-T Therapy are that the patients that used the treatment and the doctors that prescribed it did not provide the treatment in the safest and most effective way possible. Most cardiovascular issues related to Testosterone Restoration are either the result of increased Estrogen Levels in the blood stream or increased Red Blood Cell Count owing to increased Erythrocyte activity in the bone marrow. When both of these factors are appropriately accounted for and monitored, with the appropriate counteractive measures put in place, the safety of Testosterone Therapy for the heart increases dramatically.
Patients that abuse Testosterone do put themselves at risk, but for patients that legitimately use Testosterone Therapy for the treatment of Low-T and Hypogonadism, the treatment is safe when the proper protocol is followed. Testosterone Therapy and Optimization increases in popularity annually in the United States, with millions of men using these treatments in an attempt to enhance their health and wellness.
Although research at this point indicates the relative safety of Testosterone when used as indicated, it’s important to note that there have been no sufficiently long-term clinical trials with regard to the safety of Testosterone for the heart, although no studies published thus far present strong evidence without having series issues with methodology.
Testosterone, Diabetes, and Atherosclerosis
This Atherosclerosis study was small scale, and examined and monitored a total of 115 male patients suffering from Adult-Onset Diabetes. All of the patients that were examined were under the age of seventy, and none of the patients had a clinical history of cardiovascular disease. What researchers discovered was that more than over fifty percent of the patients examined had Testosterone Deficiency.
Previous studies have shown that men with Testosterone Deficiency and Diabetes simultaneously have an increased mortality risk. One study in particular shows that patients with Low-T and Diabetes at the same time were over 17% more likely to experience death over the course of a six year period. Cardiovascular Disease and Atherosclerosis are clearly two related health issues which play a role in increasing this mortality risk.
Although this study was preliminary, the results were significant and easily warrant further examination. It’s clear that these three conditions (Low-T, Type-2 Diabetes, and Atherosclerosis) are correlated, based simply on the results of this study, but a larger study will be necessary to more accurately assess the strength and relatability of that correlation.
Researchers Unsure Which Came First—Low-T or Atherosclerosis
This research does not have any power of causality—that is to say, it does not provide reliable evidence regarding whether Testosterone Deficiency is a symptom of Atherosclerosis or a precursor to the condition. A larger, future study will have the power to present evidence regarding a causal relationship.
It is clear that Testosterone Deficiency and Diabetes are both conditions which significantly impact health and quality of life, and both conditions impact cardiovascular health in at least some way. Perhaps in the future, as evidence bears out, Testosterone Therapy, whether with creams, patches, injections, or implants, may be a tool in the battle against both Atherosclerosis and health risks associated with Type-2 Diabetes.