Low Testosterone Linked with Higher Risk of Death

Elevated risk remains after controlling for other factors such as age, adiposity and lifestyle

TUESDAY, Oct. 30 (HealthDay News) -- Men with low testosterone levels are more likely to die earlier than men with high testosterone levels, according to a report that will appear in the December issue of the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

Gail A. Laughlin, Ph.D., of the University of California San Diego in La Jolla, Calif., and colleagues studied 794 white men who were participants in the Rancho Bernardo Study and who had a mean age of 73.6 years. Medical and lifestyle information was gathered via questionnaire, interview, blood tests, examinations and death certificates. The average follow-up was 11.8 years.

Men with low levels of circulating total testosterone at baseline were 40 percent more likely to die over the following 20 years than men with normal levels of testosterone, an association that was independent of age, adiposity and lifestyle. Additional adjustments for blood pressure, lipid levels and glycemia, among other risk factors, did not significantly change the results. Low testosterone levels were associated with increased risk of cardiovascular and respiratory disease, but not cancer.

"Randomized placebo-controlled trials are necessary to determine whether physiologic testosterone replacement can safely extend the quality and duration of life for older men with well-documented testosterone insufficiency," the authors conclude.

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