Testosterone Replacement Therapy and The Dangerous Effect It Has On Your Heart
In January of 2014, the FDA issued a safety warning concerning the use of testosterone replacement therapy and the increased risk of heart attack or stroke associated with its use. Unfortunately, prior to this date many American men had already been receiving testosterone replacement therapy or TRT. Despite the FDA’s warning, millions of American men continue to use this type of hormone therapy at great risk to their personal health. The lure of higher energy, youthful muscle mass, and an increased sex drive are a powerful incentive, but the risks to your heart are unmistakable and more pronounced than you may realize.
Natural Levels of Testosterone:
As you grow older, normally around the age of 30, your levels of testosterone begin to decline. This is a perfectly natural and normal part of aging. Not surprisingly, an influx of commercials, infomercials and misinformation online, led and still leads American men to believe that ‘Low T’ is a condition to be remedied. Big pharma offered the fountain of youth and testosterone replacement therapy became a habit for millions of men, including younger men and men who had never been tested for ‘Low T,’ but simply received a prescription without proper testing.
The Risks to Your Heart are Real:
New studies are proving beyond any doubt that testosterone replacement therapy can have damaging and potentially fatal effects, specifically to the cardiovascular system.
One study in 2010, which was published in The New England Journal of Medicine, began as a simple investigation of the effects of testosterone on muscle function, and resulted in the cessation of the study as there was a significantly higher rate of cardiovascular events in the testosterone group in comparison to the placebo group. Of the total 209 men, 23 in the testosterone group and 5 in the placebo group had a cardiovascular related occurrence. 23 cases out of 209 would be significantly high and a cause for concern, but 23 out of an even smaller group (the testosterone group) provides irrefutable evidence to suggest that TRT is dangerous.
More recently, a study published in The Journal of the American Medical Association, in November of 2013, was conducted to specifically assess the association between testosterone replacement therapy and myocardial infarction, ischemic stroke, and all-cause mortality. The study found that, the use of TRT had significant and notable adverse effects on patients within the testosterone group. This study was the reason behind the FDA’s warning in January 2014.
Men over 65 and younger men with undiagnosed heart conditions appear to be at the greatest risk when using testosterone therapy. In fact, according to studies the risk of heart attack or stroke is doubled for these men. Truly frightening, is the fact that men over 65 and younger men who feel fatigued due to an undiagnosed heart condition, are the most likely to seek out and become recipients of TRT.
Weighing the Risks and Benefits:
Are there benefits to using TRT? Absolutely. Yet, the question of the benefits outweighing the risks must be addressed. Doctors who measure only total testosterone without addressing the amount of free testosterone are failing their patients, and prescribing a potentially dangerous treatment.
On one hand, men receiving treatment for ‘Low T’ may feel more energetic and vigorous, however the increased risk of cardiovascular problems is significant. Comparatively speaking, the risk of untimely death due to heart failure seems to far outweigh any possible benefit that could be achieved, in many cases, with a simple solution such as increased exercise and an improved diet. Only in extreme cases of ‘Low T,’ such as a cancer patient who cannot produce testosterone, should TRT be considered and even then, with great caution and full disclosure to the patient of the serious health risks.
Record Breaking Use of Testosterone Therapy:
Despite studies that have been done in recent years, the simple fact is that the long term effects of testosterone replacement therapy are not known. There is no long term study made available to the public, showing that TRT is safe. The reason for this is that no long term study exists. In recent years, from 2000 to 2011, the use of TRT increased over 5 times to a record 5.3 million prescriptions in the United States alone, according to the AMA, resulting in billions in profit for pharmaceutical companies.
TRT is a dangerous solution to a perfectly natural process that every man must face in the course of his life.