A notable study shows that men aged 20–79 who have low testosterone levels below 8.7 nmol/L (250 ng/dL) have a more than two-fold increased risk of mortality from all causes, compared with those with higher serum testosterone levels.
Importantly, this risk is independent of age, waist circumference, smoking habits, high-risk alcohol use, and physical activity.
The association of low serum testosterone levels with mortality has gained strength in recent research. However, there are few population-based studies on this association.
This study examined whether low serum testosterone levels are a risk factor for all-cause or cause-specific mortality in a population-based sample of men aged 20–79.
We used data from 1954 men recruited for the prospective population-based Study of Health in Pomerania, with measured serum testosterone levels at baseline and 195 deaths during an average 7.2-year follow-up.
A total serum testosterone level of less than 8.7 nmol/L (250 ng/dL) was classified as low.
The relationships of low serum testosterone levels with all-cause and cause-specific mortality were analysed by Cox proportional hazards regression models.
Men with low serum testosterone levels had a significantly higher mortality from all causes than men with higher serum testosterone levels (HR 2.24; 95% CI 1.41–3.57).
After adjusting for waist circumference, smoking habits, high-risk alcohol use, physical activity, renal insufficiency, and levels of dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEAS), low serum testosterone levels continued to be associated with increased mortality (HR 2.32; 95% CI 1.38–3.89).
In cause-specific analyses, low serum testosterone levels predicted increased risk of death from cardiovascular disease (CVD) (HR 2.56; 95% CI 1.15–6.52) and cancer (HR 3.46; 95% CI 1.68–6.68), but not from respiratory diseases or other causes.
Low serum testosterone levels were associated with an increased risk of all-cause mortality independent of numerous risk factors. As serum testosterone levels are inversely related to mortality due to CVD and cancer, it may be used as a predictive marker to improve the ability to predict health risks.
Haring R, Völzke H, Steveling A, Krebs A, Felix SB, Schöfl C, Dörr M, Nauck M, Wallaschofski H.Low serum testosterone levels are associated with increased risk of mortality in a population-based cohort of men aged 20-79. Eur Heart J. 2010 Jun;31(12):1494-501
Medical Writer & Nutritionist
MSc in Nutrition
University of Stockholm & Karolinska Institute, Sweden
Baylor University, TX, USA
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