ENDO: Low Testosterone Linked to Increased Death Risk

Other research shows that hormone replacement benefits older men with metabolic syndrome

WEDNESDAY, June 18 (HealthDay News) -- Regardless of age, men with low testosterone levels have a higher risk of death. In older men with low levels, however, testosterone replacement may lead to significant improvements in signs of the metabolic syndrome and may reduce the risk of diabetes and heart disease, according to study findings presented at the Endocrine Society's 90th Annual Meeting, held June 15-18 in San Francisco.

In one study, Robin Haring, a Ph.D. student from the Ernst-Moritz-Arndt University of Greifswald, Germany, and colleagues assessed testosterone levels in 1,954 German men aged 20 to 89, and followed them for an average of 7.2 years. After adjusting for age, body mass index (BMI), waist-hip ratio, smoking habits, heavy alcohol use and physical activity, they found that men with the lowest levels had a significantly higher risk of all-cause mortality compared to men with normal levels (hazard ratio, 2.6). Their cause-specific analysis showed that low testosterone predicted an increased risk of death due to cardiovascular disease and cancer but not from any other cause.

In a second study, Farid Saad, Ph.D., of Bayer Schering Pharma in Berlin, Germany, and colleagues recruited 95 German men aged 34 to 69 with low testosterone levels and metabolic syndrome, and treated them for 12 months with parenteral testosterone undecanoate. They observed significant and progressive declines in the subjects' BMI, waist circumference, serum cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and triglycerides, and a significant and progressive increase in high-density lipoprotein cholesterol.

"We conclude that if elderly men have a deficiency of testosterone, it is worthwhile to treat them with testosterone," Saad said in a statement.

Novo Nordisc provided funding for the first study. Saad is an employee of Bayer Schering.

Abstract - Haring
Abstract - Saad
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