Washington: Older men with higher testosterone levels are more likely to have a heart attack or other cardiovascular disease, says a study.
"The study finding contradicts smaller studies that have shown that testosterone levels are not associated with higher rates of cardiovascular disease," said Kristen Sueoka, physician at the University of California, San Francisco.
"Many people are using testosterone supplements for various medical problems, including low sex drive and mood disorders. These men may unknowingly be placing themselves at higher risk for cardiovascular disease," she said.
Study participants were aged 65 or above and included 697 community-dwelling men who were participating in the National Institutes of Health-funded study, Osteoporotic Fractures in Men (MrOS). None of these men were receiving testosterone therapy, according to the study abstract.
All subjects had their blood tested to determine their testosterone levels. The investigators then divided the men into quartiles, or four groups, of testosterone range to observe trends in rates of coronary heart disease events.
This type of heart disease results from plaque-clogged or narrowed coronary arteries, also called atherosclerosis.
A coronary heart disease event includes a heart attack; unstable angina, which is chest pain usually due to atherosclerosis and which doctors consider a prelude to a heart attack; or an angioplasty or bypass surgery to clear blocked arteries.
During a follow-up after four years, 100 men, or about 14 percent, had a coronary disease event, in particular, heart attacks, Sueoka said.
After the researchers adjusted for other potential contributing risk factors for heart disease, such as elevated cholesterol, they found that higher total testosterone level relates to an increased risk of coronary disease, said a university release.
The results were presented at The Endocrine Society`s 92nd Annual Meeting in San Diego.