New York, Jul 10 (IANS): Supplementing testosterone significantly reduces heart attacks and strokes in men with unnaturally low levels of the hormone, a new study suggests.
The study, presented at the European Association of Urology Congress, indicated that the health of the men on testosterone therapy also improved by other measures.
They lost weight, had more lean muscle mass, their cholesterol level and liver function improved, their diabetes was better controlled and their blood pressure dropped.
"While men need testosterone for certain psychological and biological functions, only those with low levels who display other symptoms are likely to benefit from testosterone therapy.
"For those at high risk of heart attack and stroke, who are deficient in testosterone, it's likely that bringing the hormone back to normal levels helps them to maximise the benefits of other steps necessary to improve their overall health," the study said.
For the study, the team included over 800 men with testosterone deficiency, whose family history, blood pressure, cholesterol levels, diabetes or weight put them at high risk of heart attack or stroke.
Only men with testosterone levels below normal, who also displayed symptoms of low testosterone, such as low mood, decreased appetite, depression, erectile dysfunction, loss of libido or weight gain, were included in the research.
Just over half of the men opted for long-term testosterone replacement therapy, enabling the researchers to compare this group to those whose condition was left untreated.
All the men were encouraged to make lifestyle changes, in terms of diet, alcohol, smoking and exercise, to improve their cardiovascular health.
Of 412 men on testosterone therapy, 16 died and none suffered a heart attack or stroke, the study said.
Of the 393 men who chose not to take testosterone supplements, 74 died, 70 had a heart attack and 59 suffered a stroke.