Testosterone: Wonder Drug for the Heart?

Monday, 18 Jun 2012 04:32 PM

 

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Testosterone has become the treatment of choice for middle-aged men looking for more energy, muscle, and sex drive. But now it is becoming clear that testosterone therapy may stop hearts from failing and also bring other health benefits — and not just for men, says top heart doctor Dr. Chauncey Crandall.



I’ve known about the benefits of testosterone on heart health for years,” said Dr. Crandall, director of the preventive cardiology program at the world-renowned Palm Beach Cardiovascular Clinic in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. “I’ve run heart transplant programs, and we’ve found in patients that if their testosterone level was low, we could supplement it, and their hearts would improve. Now this finding is being supported with many studies,” Dr. Crandall said, referring to new research published in the journal Heart Failure Circulation.
Researchers are finding many other benefits as well, Dr. Crandall noted. “As we doctors get older, we are looking at testosterone differently,” he told Newsmax Health. “We know that after the age of 50, men go through a period known as ‘male menopause.’ Their weight increases, they don’t think as clearly, and the muscle mass changes. We also know that heart disease increases as well, so we are also finding that testosterone has a beneficial effect in all these ways, and in reducing the risk of heart disease as well.”
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Doctors say some women can benefit from testosterone supplementation, which is available by prescription as an injection, patch, or topical gel. “Testosterone is known as the male hormone, but it is manufactured by women’s bodies as well, so if a woman’s testosterone level is too low, she may also need it,” said Dr. Crandall
Four separate studies of heart failure patients showed that testosterone boosted the ability to walk and increased skeletal strength and muscle endurance. Heart failure, known also as congestive heart failure, is a condition in which the heart grows too weak to pump blood efficiently through the body. Causes include diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, and smoking.
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