A recent article in the Journal of the American Medical Association showed that men who take supplemental testosterone therapy have a significantly increased risk of coronary events and stroke than men who do not.
“In the three years following their heart tests, 20% of men who didn’t start taking testosterone had a heart attack or stroke or died. That compared to almost 26% of those who had started using testosterone.” The relative risk increase was 20% but more importantly the absolute risk was 6%. That means for every one hundred people 6% more people will have heart attack or stroke vs. those who do not take therapy.
Personally, I have long been skeptical of testosterone therapy. It increases sleep apnea, which increases the risk of cardiac arrhythmia, may increase the risk of prostate cancer and now there is evidence that it increases one’s risk of having a heart attack or stroke. A lot of our patients complain of fatigue and ask that we check their testosterone level. In my opinion, these feelings of fatigue are much more likely to be related to insulin resistance than low testosterone. In addition, when I did my research for our healthy aging manual May You Live a Long and Healthy Life, I found that long-lived cultures generally had lower testosterone levels at every stage of life than we as Americans have. I think when considering the use of any anabolic hormone, whether it be testosterone, estrogen, or human growth hormone, caution is the watchword.