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Testosterone Therapy = Risk of Heart Disease
It seems that in every city drivers see billboards advertising testosterone therapy to "improve" men's well-being. This therapy promises to treat declining strength, endurance, muscle mass, and libido--among other symptoms. For many middle-aged men, testosterone therapy may appear to be an easy way to recapture the youthful physique and vitality they once enjoyed.
Too Good to be True?
In 2014 the FDA began requiring testosterone products to carry a label warning of possible increased risks of heart attack and stroke. This label requirement came after numerous studies linking testosterone therapy to cardiovascular events.
- A 2009 study was discontinued early because there was a significantly higher rate of cardiovascular events among the participants receiving testosterone therapy.
- In a 2013 retrospective study of elderly male veterans, testosterone therapy was associated with all-cause mortality, heart attack, and stroke.
- A meta-analysis published in 2013 reviewed 27 randomized trials. Researchers concluded that "particularly in trials not funded by the pharmaceutical industry, exogenous testosterone [testosterone from an external source like a gel] increased the risk of cardiovascular-related events, with corresponding implications for the use of testosterone therapy."
Increased likelihood of prostate cancer was found in a meta-analysis published 2000. Also, increased risk of blood clots due to a thickening of the blood is associated with testosterone replacement therapy. Although less common, sleep apnea and gynecomastia (breast enlargement) are other possible side effects of taking hormone treatments.
It's natural for testosterone levels to gradually decrease as a man ages. Men can take control of the aging process with their diet and lifestyle. These lifestyle measures have a profound impact on every aspect of a man's health, including hormone production. Would you believe that men who eat an exclusively plant-centered diet have higher testosterone levels than their counterparts who eat the standard Western diet or vegetarians? My article What Factors Influence Testosterone Levels? identifies what men can do to enjoy excellent health, strength, and vitality throughout their entire lives.
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