Low testosterone and death riskBy HSC Staff Writer • Published: November 15th, 2006
Category: Health in a Heartbeat
Testosterone is the primary sex hormone in men. And according to a recent study, a lack of it could contribute to premature death. Although women reach menopause, a time in their forties and fifties when the production of the hormone estrogen plummets, middle-age men don’t see a major, sudden decrease in their bodies’ production of testosterone.
But new research published in the journal Archives of Internal Medicine indicates men with low testosterone levels appear to have a higher risk of dying than men who have normal testosterone levels. Levels of testosterone gradually go down in all men as they age, but generally only on the order of one-point-five percent a year after age thirty. Low testosterone is commonly known to cause a drop in sex drive, as well as bone strength and muscle mass.
Researchers studied eight-hundred-fifty-eight male veterans, and revealed that men with low testosterone were sixty-eight percent more likely to have died during the study’s almost four-and-a-half-year follow-up than subjects who had varying levels that were within normal bounds.
The paper concluded that heightened mortality in men with low testosterone was not due to acute illness, but subtler, underlying factors.
While testosterone levels sometimes dip as a result of obesity or inactivity, doctors may recommend hormone replacement for men whose low levels are caused by other factors. Hormone replacement, while not proven to reduce mortality risk, may be warranted if they don’t have conditions… such as prostate cancer or other serious illnesses… that preclude the therapy.