Diabetic Men with Low Testosterone Run Higher Risk of Developing Atherosclerosis

Posted by Dr. Michael White, Updated on February 9th, 2024
Reading Time: 3 minutes

Testosterone Linked to Condition Where Clogged Arteries Restrict Blood Flow

 There are many health problems in men who have low testosterone levels: the reduced desire for sex, fewer erections that happen spontaneously, such as during sleep, infertility, increased body fat, decreased strength and loss of muscle mass, weakened bones, loss of body hair, swelling/tenderness in the breast tissue, hot flashes, constant, chronic fatigue, higher cholesterol levels, sleep disturbances, and emotional changes.

And if these weren't enough, there's more. Keep reading.

Some males who have low testosterone and Type Two diabetes are at a higher risk of suffering atherosclerosis (a condition where plaque builds up in the arteries) than men who have diabetes and normal levels of testosterone, according to a new study published in the Endocrine Society's Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism (JCEM).

Atherosclerosis occurs when fats, cholesterol, and other substances build up in and on the walls of the body's arteries.

This can restrict blood flow through the body's blood vessels. Eventually, the plaques may burst and cause blood clots.

Several studies have raised concerns about the safety of testosterone therapy and the risk of cardiovascular complications.

But the results of this study may have some saying, “not so fast.”

Perhaps low testosterone is a greater threat to men's health than testosterone replacement therapy.

The Endocrine Society recommends that testosterone treatment should be reserved for men with clinical symptoms of hypogonadism and consistently low levels of testosterone.

The Society also has called for large-scale, well-controlled trials to assess the long-term cardiovascular risks associated with testosterone therapy.

The cross-sectional study published in JCEM compared testosterone levels and critical atherosclerotic markers, including intimal thickening of the layers in the carotid artery, the presence of atherosclerotic plaques, function of the endothelial cells that line the heart and blood vessels, and inflammatory markers in 115 men with Type 2 diabetes.

The participants were younger than age 70 and had no history of cardiovascular disease.

Researchers measured the levels of testosterone in each member's blood. Among the participants, more than half of patients with diabetes were found to have low testosterone levels.

The study uncovered a surprising result: men who had low testosterone and Type 2 diabetes were six times more likely to have increased thickness of the carotid artery and endothelium dysfunction compared to men with normal serum testosterone levels.

A total of 54 percent of the men with low testosterone and 10 percent of men with normal testosterone were found to be at higher risk for vascular disease.

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