Ageless Forever Anti-Aging News Blog

Cardiovascular Risks and Elevations of Blood DHT Levels Vary by Testosterone Preparation

 

 

 

The cardiovascular effects of testosterone and testosterone therapy are subject to intense investigation in medical research and have recently generated heated discussions among healthcare professionals. 
 
While the main focus has been on testosterone per se, it is important to remember that testosterone is both a hormone in its own right, and a pro-hormone that gets converted to both estradiol and DHT (dihydrotestosterone). Estradiol and DHT exert effects themselves that are different from the effects of testosterone.
 
Therefore, when analyzing the effects of testosterone, especially supplemental testosterone administered as testosterone replacement therapy, it is critical to take into consideration how it affects downstream testosterone metabolites like estradiol and DHT.
 
Here I will present results from a recent systematic review and meta-analysis that specifically investigated how different routes of testosterone therapy administration (i.e different testosterone preparations) affect blood levels of testosterone and espcially DHT , and how this in turn relates to cardiovascular adverse events.[1]
 
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Aspirin – can it save you from heart disease or cancer?

 

In people with pre-existing cardiovascular disease, it has long been well documented that long-term use of aspirin is an effective anti-platelet treatment that significantly reduces the risk of serious cardiovascular events (such as heart attacks and strokes) by 30% and cardiovascular death by 15%.[1, 2] 
 
This benefit greatly exceeds the potential risk of increased bleeding events, which is a side effect of aspirin.[3] Therefore clinical guidelines recommend that people with cardiovascular disease take low dose aspirin (75 to 162 mg) daily to prevent recurrence of cardiovascular events.[4-6]
 
More recently, the use of aspirin in healthy people for prevention of cardiovascular disease, as well as cancer, has been getting more and more attention. However, research on prophylactic use of aspirin conflicting and clinical guidelines are contradictory. Here I will shed some light on new research to help you make an informed decision whether aspirin may protect you…
 
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Normalization of testosterone level is associated with reduced risk of heart attack, stroke and mortality in men

The effect of testosterone replacement therapy on cardiovascular outcomes such as heart attack and stroke are controversial and have been generating heated discussions among clinicians as well as researchers. This, coupled with biased media sensationalism blowing up the supposed “dangers” of testosterone therapy has created great confusion among suffering men, who could gain tremendous health benefits from testosterone therapy.[1]
 
Here I report the results of a new study that examined the relationship between normalization of total testosterone levels with testosterone therapy and cardiovascular events as well as all-cause mortality, in patients without a previous history of heart attack and stroke.[2] This notable study was published in the European Heart Journal on August 6th, 2015.
 
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Effects of Testosterone Treatment in Older Men

The so called double-blind randomized controlled trial (RCT) is accepted by medicine as the gold standard objective scientific methodology, and provides the highest strength of evidence for the effectiveness of a treatment.[1-4]
 
An accumulating body of evidence shows that treating hypogonadal men with testosterone therapy provides a number of wide-ranging benefits beyond mere relief of symptoms, including improvements in muscle mass, insulin sensitivity, fat mass (both total body fat and visceral fat), endothelial function, blood pressure, lipid profile and bone mineral density.[5, 6]
 
Recent clinical practice guidelines state that testosterone therapy is safe if treatment and monitoring are appropriately executed [7-9], and the totality of available evidence to date does not support alleged concerns regarding risk of cardiovascular disease [10] and prostate cancer.[11] Despite this, opponents state that the clinical benefits and potential long-term risks of testosterone therapy have not been adequately assessed in large RCTs, and that therefore a general policy of testosterone replacement in all older men with age-related decline in testosterone levels is not justified.[12]
 
To address the lack of large RCTs on testosterone therapy, the US National Institute of Health has funded The Testosterone Trials, which is a coordinated set of 7 large double-blind RCTs. Here I report the first results from The Testosterone Trials,  which were released February 18, 2016.[13]
 
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Survival and cardiovascular events in men on testosterone treatment

On the surface, testosterone therapy is a controversial treatment because previous studies investigating the effects of testosterone therapy have been conflicting, with some studies showing supposed harm and others showing significant benefit.
 
Here I summarize the results of a new study published in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology on May 7 2016, which addressed some shortcomings in previous studies by analyzing effects based on duration of testosterone treatment.[1]
 
 
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Hematocrit (blood thickness) elevation following testosterone therapy – does it increase risk of blood clots?

 

In discussions about side effects of testosterone treatment, prostate cancer and heart disease get most attention. However, as we have described in several study reports published here in the “Research News” section, the widespread fear of prostate cancer and heart disease is unfounded and not supported by medical research.

The expected potential side effect of testosterone treatment - which in fact is a therapeutic effect in men with anemia [1-3] - is an increased level of red blood cells, known as erythrocytosis or polycythemia.[4-7]  In the context of testosterone treatment, erythrocytosis and polycythemia are used interchangeably to refer to an abnormal increase of red blood cells or hematocrit, which may increase blood viscosity (“blood thickness”).[8, 9]


However, it should be pointed out that technically, erythrocytosis is just red blood cell elevation, while polycythemia involves elevation of red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. Using these terms as synonyms can cause confusion. In polycythemia, it is likely the increase in platelets that is the major culprit of blood clots.


Elevated hematocrit is the most common side-effect of testosterone treatment.[4-7] The clinical significance of a high hematocrit level is unclear, but it may theoretically be associated with an increased risk of thrombosis (blood clots).[4]

Here I summarize the results of an analysis of the effect of different testosterone preparations on hematocrit elevations, published in the journal Sexual Medicine Reviews.[10]

 
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Dr. Pierce's Medical Organization Affiliations

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