Testosterone Could Keep Older Men From Falls

Low level of the hormone raised falling risk by 40%, study found

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TUESDAY, Oct. 24, 2006 (HealthDay News) -- Higher testosterone levels may help protect elderly men from dangerous falls, a new study finds.

Researchers found that older men with the lowest levels of testosterone in their blood were 40 percent more likely to fall and to have multiple falls than men with the highest levels of testosterone. Falls are a leading cause of bone fracture in older populations.

The association between falls and testosterone levels was strongest in men aged 65 to 69. The link was not apparent in men over age 80.

Testosterone levels naturally decline as men age.

Reporting in the Oct. 23 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine, a team from Oregon Health & Science University, in Portland, studied nearly 2,600 men, ages 65 to 99, who enrolled in the Osteoporotic Fractures in Men Study between 2000 and 2002.

Researchers obtained blood samples from the men, who also filled out questionnaires on their medical history, medications, and lifestyle habits. The men also did a number of physical performance tests.

By the end of the study, in March 2005, 56 percent of the men had fallen at least once. The link between falls and testosterone levels was apparent, even after the researchers factored in the men's scores on the physical performance tests.

That suggests that low testosterone levels may raise falling risk in other ways, including impairment of vision, thinking, and coordination, the researchers said.

"These findings strengthen the link between testosterone and the health of older men," the team wrote. They added that testosterone measurements might be useful for identifying men at higher risk for adverse events.

"Moreover, these results provide additional justification for trials of testosterone supplementation in older men and should aid in the design of those studies," they said.

More information

The Endocrine Society-Hormone Foundation have more about low testosterone.

SOURCE: JAMA/Archives, journals news, release, Oct. 23, 2006

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