Is Taking Testosterone Bad For Your Heart?
Sufficient levels of testosterone are critical in promoting optimal health in men.
Testosterone is important for maintenance of muscle mass, bone density, sperm production, optimal lipid profiles, healthy numbers of red blood cells, sex drive, and fertility.
Pharmaceutical drugs, environmental toxins, obesity, and an unhealthy diet are all factors that can prematurely decrease testosterone.
What is testosterone therapy?
Men suffering from side effects associated with low testosterone levels are often prescribed some form of testosterone therapy. Testosterone treatments come in a variety of forms including gel, patch, injection, and pill. These methods are used to help increase testosterone levels in the body that may have declined due to the body’s natural aging process or a chronic condition.
Signs of testosterone deficiency
Declining muscle and bone mass
Increased body fat
Swollen or tender breasts
Flushing or hot flashes
Lower sex drive
Fewer spontaneous erections
Difficulty sustaining erections
What’s the problem with Testosterone Therapy?
Recent studies have found testosterone therapy may be linked with risk of serious cardiac problems in men.
Testosterone therapy increases the risk of heart disease
A study published in JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association discovered that after starting testosterone therapy, men with a history of heart disease had a 30 percent increase in death, heart attacks, and stroke.
Several systematic reviews of the medical literature regarding testosterone therapy have further backed up these findings, confirming that exogenous testosterone is strongly associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular events.
The FDA released a report in 2015 cautioning that prescription testosterone products have only been approved for men with low testosterone due to hypogonadism. The warning also advised that the benefits and safety of testosterone have not been established from the treatment of low T due to aging.
Testosterone therapy thickens blood
Testosterone therapy causes blood cells to increase in size which is why testosterone therapy appears to raise the risk of cardiovascular disease. Red blood cells can clump together and thicken the blood. For older men who with pre-existing cardiovascular problems, thickened blood poses a serious health risk and may trigger a cardiovascular event.
The FDA is requiring manufacturers of testosterone replacement drugs to include warnings stating there is a risk of increased blood clots which may develop and cause conditions such as pulmonary embolism.
Testosterone may cause strokes and mini-strokes
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, strokes are the fifth leading cause of death in the U.S. and leading cause of long-term disability in adults. Blood clots that are caused by testosterone therapy can lead to stroke if the blood flow to the brain is blocked.
The effects of a stroke depend on the area of the brain that was affected. The effects can range from mild impairments in vision, speech, memory, and movement, to major long-term disabilities.
Men who take testosterone drugs are 30 percent more likely to suffer from strokes.
Testosterone therapy raises blood pressure
Testosterone has been found to increase blood pressure and reduce HDL cholesterol. These are risk factors that play a role in the pathogenesis of heart disease. Adding Testosterone for men who are struggling with high blood pressure and lipid abnormalities may be a dangerous combination for their heart health.
Alternatives for raising testosterone
Testosterone levels can be raised naturally by modifying diet and lifestyle. Not only will these side benefits help raise testosterone, they may also improve blood sugar control, liver health, and strengthen the immune system.
Low testosterone is associated with obesity, therefore undertaking dietary and lifestyle changes may be one of the most effective steps a man can take to raise testosterone levels.
Healthy eating habits
Since losing weight has been found to increase testosterone levels, cleaning up your diet would be essential for healthy weight loss. In order to maintain optimal testosterone levels, a diet that includes plenty of protein, zinc, magnesium, and healthy fats is crucial.
Get enough Vitamin D
Low levels of vitamin D may lead to decreased testosterone. Vitamin D is involved in male reproductive health including regulation of testosterone. Having sufficient levels of vitamin D in males prevent the conversion of testosterone into estrogens by the aromatase enzyme.
Exercise and stay active
It is known we should exercise for many positive benefits; this also includes testosterone regulation. It is important to know the type of exercise performed effect testosterone levels differently. For example, moderate and high-intensity exercise such as weightlifting, boost long-term testosterone levels. Aerobic exercise and overtraining may decrease testosterone levels.
Improve sleep habits
Try to get at least eight hours of sleep every night. It would be helpful to turn off electronics to avoid interruptions and eat your last meal of the day at least two hours before heading to bed. Sleep deprivation can significantly decrease testosterone levels.
FDA gives recommendations
The FDA convened an expert panel giving it the task of reviewing key studies. Upon completion of the review, some of the recommendations made:
- Doctors should be required to document signs and symptoms of low testosterone in a man before prescribing the hormone.
- The label on testosterone products should specify the potential for cardiovascular risk
- Before a man starts taking testosterone, his doctor should check his cardiovascular history and do routine follow-ups to determine when and if the treatment should be stopped.
How can a Testosterone lawsuit help me?
There are many laws and regulations in place for how products should work and fulfill expectations. Individuals who have suffered severe side effects and have been injured by testosterone therapy may be entitled to compensation for damages such as medical expenses, pain, suffering, loss of wages and ability to work. It is crucial to have a seasoned personal injury attorney by your side to help you through the complex process of proving liability.
How The Carlson Law Firm can help
Here at The Carlson Law Firm, we have a team of attorneys, personal investigators, and registered nurses on staff that help us quickly gather evidence and review medical records related to our clients’ injuries. We will fight to get you the compensation you rightfully deserve. Contact us today for a free, no-obligation consultation. We care, we can help.
- Written by Adriana Torres