Testosterone-based treatment may stimulate bone density and reduce anemia in older men who have low levels of this hormone, but this treatment may also present risks for heart disease, data from recent studies suggest.com.
The findings belong to the last four studies in the field, conducted over a year in 12 clinics in the United States.
"Our studies seem to indicate that the best use of testosterone therapy is indicated in case of decreased sexual function in men suffering from low levels of this hormone," says Dr. Thomas Gill, professor at Yale University and author to one of the four researches.
But the data also indicate that the men who underwent testosterone treatment had a significant increase in the thickness of the artery wall plate, compared to the men participating in the test who did not undergo such treatment. These results indicate an increased risk for myocardial infarction, stroke and other heart disease, among the former, researchers believe.
"Even though doctors recommend testosterone-based treatment to improve male sexual function, we believe that they should consider the potential risk of this treatment and the potential long-term adverse effects, particularly on heart health," "adds the author.
The studies involved 790 men 65 years of age, who had low testosterone, as well as other symptoms, such as sexual dysfunction, fatigue, muscle weakness, memory and thinking disorders.
The first three studies focused on the benefits of testosterone therapy, of which we mention: improvement of sexual capacity, vitality and physiological functions.
Specialized reports have revealed that testosterone could improve both men's sexual desires and sexual functions, but the results were not as positive when it comes to the level of vitality and physical strength.
The results of the studies were published in the February issue of the journal "The Journal of the American Medical Association". Among them we mention the results regarding:
- Anemia: About 54% of men suffering from anemia have registered significant increases in the level of red blood cells, after one year of testosterone treatment
- Bone health: after the treatment period, the participants presented a significantly higher bone density, both in terms of the mineral level and the estimated bone strength. The results were more significant in the spine
- Cardiovascular health: studies found that the volume of arterial plaques increased significantly among men who were under testosterone treatment, compared to the test group
- Mental health: after one year of testosterone treatment, the researchers did not notice any improvement in visual memory, language articulation and problem solving skills.
Even though research shows that there are certain benefits of testosterone treatment - especially for bone health and treating anemia - this treatment should not be recommended for improving these conditions. There are already other, more effective treatments that target more causes of these conditions, compared to testosterone-based treatment, which is particularly recommended for low levels of this hormone in the body, adds Dr. Gill.
In addition, the author points out that there are side effects of testosterone-based hormone treatment that may increase the risk for prostate cancer development, as is the case with estrogen therapy and the increased risk for breast cancer development in people with female gender. However, studies in people who have undergone testosterone hormone treatment have not been conducted for a long enough period for scientists to be able to provide a conclusive answer to these risks.;