Heart disease and testosterone: Just the facts | Lifestyles


Growing up, I had a brother two years younger than me. We fought every now and then, and for excellent reasons — like unequal candy distribution or whether or not Nolan Ryan is the greatest pitcher in history (and he is, of course).

Freddy, my brother, was tough … until Mom came around. He could tangle with me on my best day, but if Mom started coming down the hall, he’d look at me, grin, then start crying! It was embellished at best and thus I wrongly got accused of many things growing up because he knew how to fake a cry on the spot and I didn’t.

How does that relate to heart disease and testosterone? Well, hormones, in general, have been misrepresented ever since the WHI study came out in 2002. As a society, we’ve been the mom who assumes one child tends to be more at fault. We (patients and healthcare providers) don’t have all the facts and thus make biased conclusions based on perception and lack of factual knowledge. I want to challenge you today to read on. I’m going to objectively and without bias fill you in on testosterone’s impact on heart disease risk for both men and women.

I love living in Mississippi — the people, the culture, the hospitality — but it is the most unhealthy state in the nation. Anything I can do to positively impact this makes my heart leap for joy.

Let’s talk about low testosterone levels first. There’s an established low testosterone range for men and women. Here’s what you need to know, though: men and women with low testosterone levels have approximately a 40 percent increased morbidity and mortality rate, which is primarily tied to heart disease. Another way of saying that is folks who inherently have normal testosterone levels tend to live longer and have less heart disease. This is pretty straightforward and has been illustrated in several…

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