Low Testosterone Levels Could Increase Mortality Risk In Men, Study Show

In Education

A recent study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine challenges the belief that testosterone shortens men’s lives, contrasting previous research on neutered animals and Korean eunuchs.

Men with low testosterone levels at high risk of mortality

The recent study led by researchers from the University of Western Australia conducted a meta-analysis combining findings from 11 studies on the relationship between testosterone levels and lifespan. These studies, spanning at least five years, revealed that individuals with lower testosterone levels had a higher likelihood of mortality.

The study examined mortality, primarily attributing deaths to heart disease, the foremost global cause of death in men. It suggests a correlation between heart disease and erectile dysfunction, indicating the potential of the latter as an early indicator of heart issues. Testosterone levels are also implicated in both conditions.

As men age, their testosterone levels naturally decrease, dropping around 1% per year after the age of 30, a phenomenon sometimes called male menopause or andropause. This decline is attributed to various factors, including a gradual decrease in testicular function and signaling, along with potential acceleration from chronic illnesses.

Low testosterone a marker of chronic diseases

The study doesn’t determine if low testosterone directly causes higher mortality risk. It suggests low testosterone might be a marker for underlying diseases, like those with chronic inflammation, such as obesity.

Prostate cancer treatment often involves reducing testosterone levels, which can help manage the cancer but may raise the risk of heart attack and stroke. This suggests that low testosterone, while indicative of illness, can also contribute to future health issues and even mortality. Determining what constitutes a “low” testosterone level is complex, as it varies between individuals and requires considering other factors besides testosterone alone.

Researchers analyze average testosterone levels across diverse populations to establish normal ranges, aiding in the detection and treatment of related diseases. A recent meta-analysis indicates that elevated mortality risk in men is predominantly observed with very low testosterone levels. Notably, regardless of individual normal ranges, decreased testosterone levels correlate with increased mortality risk.

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