The use of supplemental testosterone for heart health is a subject of decreasing controversy as more studies back up the benefits of testosterone for the heart. What was for a few years one of the most controversial of hormone therapies, testosterone replacement is once again showing it has tremendous benefits for men – and women! However, research of females and testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) is limited. Some studies point to higher testosterone to estrogen ratios in postmenopausal women being a factor in heart disease. These studies are limited, and there is also research that speaks to the benefits of testosterone for the female heart. Ultimately, maintaining a proper hormonal balance is crucial for a healthy body and life.
Here are some important facts about the heart:
- Men tend to develop coronary artery disease (CAD) ten years before women
- Males have a 3-times the risk of developing CAD than females
- 610,000 people in the US die of heart disease every year
- Coronary heart disease is responsible for 370,000 deaths each year
- 735,000 heart attacks occur in the US each year (210,000 are repeats)
In this report, we will focus on numerous aspects regarding testosterone for heart health, including:
- Some of the problems the heart can experience
- Benefits of testosterone for the heart
- The relationship between testosterone and heart disease
- Whether you can take testosterone after heart attack
- The use of testosterone after heart surgery
As you will see, there are reasons whyincrease with age. After all, testosterone levels decline as we get older. The benefits discussed below highlight why testosterone is vital to the heart and its daily functions.
Testosterone is vital to heart health at any age.
Types of Heart Health
Having an understanding of the different issues the heart can face may help you better understand the benefits of testosterone for heart health. The following are problems associated with cardiovascular decline:
- Aneurysm – a bulge caused by a weakening in the aortic wall that can burst and spill blood into the body
- Angina – chest pain due to decreased blood flow to the heart
- Aortic Stenosis – a narrowing of the aortic valve opening that restricts blood flow into the aorta from the left ventricle (the most serious and common valve disease problem)
Arrhythmia – irregular heartbeat that could be fatal, including:
- Bradycardia: slow heartbeat
- Tachycardia: rapid heartbeat
- Fibrillation: irregular heartbeat
- Premature ventricular contractions: additional, abnormal beats
- Atherosclerosis – buildup of plaque along the arterial walls, often caused by high LDL cholesterol
- Atrial Fibrillation – irregular heartbeat that can increase the risk of blood clots, heart failure, stroke, and other heart complications
Congenital Heart Disease – heart deformities present at birth, including:
- Cyanotic heart disease: heart defect causing oxygen shortage to the body
- Obstruction defects: blood flow through the heart chambers is partially or totally blocked
- Septal defects: a hole located between the two heart chambers
- Congestive Heart Failure – heart cannot properly pump blood through the body, often resulting from coronary artery disease or elevated blood pressure levels
- Coronary Artery Disease – often due to plaque buildup that narrows the coronary arteries, resulting in reduced oxygen and nutrients to the heart
- Dilated Cardiomyopathy – heart muscle weakness resulting in dilation of the heart chambers typically affecting the left ventricle due to lack of oxygen to the heart
- Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy – genetic disorder causing the wall of the left ventricle to thicken, interfering with blood pumping out of the heart (associated with sudden athlete death)
- Mitral Regurgitation – mitral valve regurgitation occurs when the mitral valve cannot close tightly, causing blood to flow back into the heart rather than move through the body
- Mitral Valve Prolapse – bulging up or back of the valve between the left atrium and ventricle preventing it from closing
- Myocardial Infarction – also called a heart attack
- Pulmonary Stenosis – the right pulmonary valve is too tight, making it harder to pump blood into the pulmonary artery from the right ventricle
While the use of testosterone for heart health will not help all of the conditions above, it will improve the symptoms associated with some of them.
Many issues can affect the heart, some of which can be helped by testosterone therapy to treat Low T symptoms.
Benefits of Testosterone for the Heart
Recent studies have shown that low testosterone levels may lead to cardiovascular problems. The testosterone impact on heart health cannot and should not be overlooked. Indirectly, Low T can increase the risk of obesity, high cholesterol, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, and other factors that can lead to cardiovascular disease.
How is testosterone good for heart health?
Here are some of the benefits of testosterone for the heart:
- Improved exercise capacity
- Better muscle strength
- Enhanced glucose metabolism
- Decrease in LDL cholesterol and a normalizing of HDL cholesterol levels
- Improved myocardial ischemia in males with coronary artery disease
- Reduction in visceral fat which decreases the stress and strain on the heart
- Better red blood cell production in bone marrow stimulated by testosterone
The benefits of testosterone for heart health extend beyond the heart, to improve many of the risk factors that can lead to cardiovascular disease.
Testosterone has both direct and indirect influence on heart health.
Relationship between Testosterone and Heart Disease
Aging is undoubtedly associated with many changes in the body, including lower testosterone levels and a higher risk of heart problems.
Many implications exist for the correlation of low testosterone in heart disease, including:
- Elevated LDL and reduced HDL cholesterol levels
- High blood pressure
- Increased inflammation
- Adverse metabolic risk profile
- Insulin resistance
- High body mass index (BMI)
- Type 2 diabetes
- Atherosclerosis due to high LDL cholesterol levels
As we look at testosterone effects in heart disease, we find that a condition called myocardial cachexia is characterized by low levels of testosterone and increases the risk of heart failure.
Here are some statistics and facts gathered from research into testosterone for heart health:
- A 2016 study from Intermountain Medical Center reports that elderly men with pre-existing coronary artery disease and low testosterone levels who did not receive testosterone therapy had an 80 percent higher risk of suffering an adverse event.
- A 2007 study linked low testosterone to peripheral arterial disease.
- In one study of 656 men (360 receiving testosterone and 296 in the control group), there were 2 deaths not associated with cardiovascular disease in the 10-year trial in the TRT group, and 21 in the control group – 19 of which were related to CVD events.
- A study of 6844 men showed a small yet significant decrease in cardiovascular event risk brought about by a lower incidence of CAD
Research continues to point to the relationship between low testosterone and heart health concerns.
Can I Take Testosterone After a Heart Attack?
Having a cardiac event, such as a heart attack can be frightening. Men with Low T and CVD, CAD, and CHF have an increased risk of mortality. That prompts many of them to ask about the possibility of testosterone replacement therapy after heart attack. The good news is that yes, you can receive testosterone therapy after heart attack.
In fact, a 2017 study from Kaiser Permanente that was published in JAMA Internal Medicine reported that men with Low T who received TRT experienced a 33 percent decline in the risk of cardiovascular events. The benefits of testosterone therapy after heart surgery can help reduce the risk of further cardiovascular episodes.
One of the biggest adverse factors to know is that some men experience an increase in the severity of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) with testosterone therapy. However, there is no evidence that this leads to any significant health issues, as weight loss associated with TRT tends to reduce the incidence of OSA. It is important to discuss all these factors with a hormone specialist before using testosterone therapy.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Heart Disease Facts
- Science Daily: Testosterone supplementation reduces heart attack risk in men with heart disease
- Healthline: Testosterone and Your Heart
- Taylor Francis Online: Analysis of cardiovascular risk factors associated with serum testosterone levels according to the US 2011–2012 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey
- Medical Press: Study finds testosterone replacement therapy reduces cardiovascular risk