Testosterone is a marker of youth as far as men’s bodies are concerned. The levels of this sex hormone usually stay at its peak when men are in their teen years. The scenario remains the same till early adulthood; however, as men start getting older, the testosterone levels in their body experience a gradual decline.
Consequences of the drop in testosterone levels are often harsh. Men might face problems such as decreased sexual desire, sleep disturbances and physical changes like an increase in body fat, reduction in muscle mass and hair loss.
One way of fighting all those issues triggered by a drop in testosterone levels is undergoing testosterone replacement therapy or TRT. TRT may involve the use of patches, gel and injections. Studies on the effects of TRT have produced mixed results. As a result, still, there’s significant confusion about the benefits vs. risks of TRT among healthcare professionals.
Now, a new study involving 83,000 veterans have provided some evidence that testosterone replacement therapy can be effective. The study reveals that patients with low testosterone levels who underwent TRT might have the lower risk of suffering a stroke or heart attack.
The study has been published in the European Heart Journal and is the biggest one to date on testosterone replacement therapy. It had the longest follow-up period and had men undergoing the therapy between December 1999 and May 2014 as participants. Each of these men underwent the therapy at the Kansas City VA Medical Center.
Out of all the men treated, just 63% reached normal testosterone levels. Researchers found that men in that group had significantly fewer cardiovascular events, and deaths compared to men belonging to the other group.
Rajat S. Barua, a coauthor of the study and a cardiologist by profession, stated that this is the first time a study has demonstrated that notable benefits are observed only if the doses used are enough for normalizing the testosterone levels.
According to the researchers, this new study doesn’t offer any definitive conclusion about TRT. They feel that further follow-up is required before making definitive conclusions.
Here, it must be mentioned that several studies conducted previously suggested that TRT can increase one’s chances of having a stroke or heart attack. The therapy has also been linked to other scary conditions such as sleep apnea, blood clots, rapidly-growing prostate cancer, etc.