Male heart disease risk linked to high testosterone

9 March 2015

A new study suggests that high testosterone levels could help explain why heart disease affects more men than women. The research, led by Harvard Medical School, found that the sex hormones testosterone and estrogen can alter cardiovascular risk factors in a way that increases a man's risk of heart disease. 

Presented at the Endocrine Society's annual meeting, the findings were based on 400 healthy men between 20 and 50 years old. It found that higher levels of testosterone led to lower levels of "good" cholesterol but estrogen had no impact. 

In contrast, the team reported that low levels of estrogen resulted in higher fasting blood glucose levels, worsening insulin resistance and more fat in muscle, which can indicate developing diabetes.

Dr Elaine Yu, lead investigator of the study and assistant professor at Harvard Medical School, said the observations may help explain why men are at a higher risk of cardiovascular disease.

The team compared the hormone levels of two groups of men who had received medication to change their estrogen or testosterone to see whether it altered the cardiovascular risk factors. They found that higher levels of testosterone and lower estrogen levels in men raise their risk of heart disease.

Posted by Edward Bartel

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