Heart Health And Testosterone: All Things You Need To Know

Heart Health And Testosterone

Heart Health And Testosterone

In this article, we will discuss heart health and testosterone.

Testosterone is a hormone that is said to ‘define men’. Produced in the testicles of the male human, it is responsible for masculine characteristics which include a deep voice, facial hair, increased muscle mass, etc. It plays a vital role in controlling a man’s libido, sexual performance, healthy bone density, and positive mental health. There are traces of testosterone present in women as well, but it is generally known as the ‘male hormone’.

Testosterone is in its most active stage during puberty. It promotes the growth of genitals throughout that age, while also being imperative to sperm production for an entire lifetime. While testosterone’s effect on the organs of the body are well and widely known, challenges arise when it comes to making a clear between the hormone and the heart, circulation, and metabolism

Testosterone Levels

With age, the human body undergoes a lot of changes that slow it down. Testosterone is no different. Levels of this hormone start diminishing by 1% every year, after the mid-life phase, which is roughly between 35 and 40 years of age.

Of course, there are cases where men already have low levels of it due to some genetic conditions, unhealthy lifestyle changes, or other bodily problems. Hence it is available as a supplement as well, in the form of medical treatments such as an injection, patch, tablets, gel, and pallets that can be placed under the skin.

The Connection

Here comes the dilemma. Reports suggesting the connection between heart conditions and testosterone provide mixed results. Studies find that deficiency in testosterone adversely affects the cardiovascular system. Still, some others find the more significant relationship being between abnormal increases of the hormone due to medical treatments, playing a pivotal role in messing with the heart.

Testosterone is hard to keep in check since its levels in healthy men vary in extremity.

The variations are:

  • It can be anywhere around 270 to 1070 nanograms per decilitre.
  • Peak levels are recorded in the morning, and it keeps fluctuating throughout the day.
  • Levels are temporarily boosted by exercise, changes in the diet, and other lifestyle-related steps.
  • The scale decreases when there is excessive body fat, or when abdominal fat increases.

Testosterone doesn’t always exist in its pure form. It is converted to estradiol, a type of estrogen, which affects the metabolism in both men and women. It is also used to create dihydrotestosterone, which is responsible for acne, hair loss, and the other negative attributes testosterone is infamous for.

Other Complications

The heart system has its dependence on other significant factors of the body as well. These include the quality of lifestyle the man lives through, his eating habits, the decline in overall health condition with age, the problems related to other organs and hormones, etc. Even issues like blood pressure, high sugar, and poor brain health may hurt the heart. Some may also be genetically inclined to face cardiovascular problems in their lifetime.

Low Testosterone

As mentioned in the previous paragraphs, testosterone levels begin to decrease with age. There might be cases when it declines sooner or in an unexpected way.

Some of the red flags to watch out for are:

  • Infertility
  • Osteoporosis or low-trauma fractures
  • Decreased libido
  • Hot flashes and night sweats
  • Loss of height and less bulky muscles
  • Fatigue or depression

One of the reasons low testosterone is a calling sign for heart complications is its relationship with cholesterol. Men who have deficient levels tend to have higher cholesterol, and those with normal or higher levels have it lesser, respectively. And it is common knowledge that cholesterol, if not kept in its safe levels, would be a reason for the arteries to clog up and lead to disrupted blood pressure in turn affecting the heart.

Men could also have low levels due to androgen-deprivation therapy, a medical procedure that is undertaken for dealing with prostate cancer. This therapy may also bring on diabetes, or worsen the condition of diabetics as it produces insulin resistance in the body.

But other than small observations like that, there haven’t been many links to low testosterone and heart defects. However, there are things still left to discover when the treatment for low levels of this hormone is taken.

High Levels of Testosterone

Statistically speaking, men have always had a higher chance of the risk of heart attacks and the likes of such health conditions, when compared to women. Males have been observed to develop cardiovascular problems almost ten years before women. Is it because of the widely touted ‘male hormone’?

The answer to that varies, but research shows that cardiac muscles bind up well with the proteins in the testosterone. Higher levels have resulted in enlarged hearts. Supplements taken for the same may even result in arteries stiffening up, and such individuals are at double the danger of blood clots and blockages. There is, however, a more ‘emotional’ approach to the high levels being the cause of that heartache.

Another form of ‘Toxic’ Masculinity

Testosterone, as described in the introduction, is what leads to masculine features. Traditionally, their influence includes mental influences as well. Aggression, rage, temper, and an overall kick to the body, all feed off of this hormone.

Uncontrollable excitement, anger, and having little to no control over the sudden violent impulse that runs through the body, are the lesser-known messengers of the heart, eventually failing.

Additionally, testosterone is infamous for being used by athletes to dope. 

And these factors are precisely why it is the go-to steroid for achieving tough, sporty achievements. It surely does have a performance-enhancing effect, but always at some cost.

It yet comes with it’s basket-full of complications like a higher risk of heart attacks, high blood pressure, and even stroke.

And it is not just seen in sports. Even the men who work around the stock market are known to display the effects of this raging hormone. Here, it doesn’t matter that the hormone is being additionally taken. The climbs and crashes of the market are enough for extremely passionate traders to lose subconscious control over their testosterone levels and simply end up having a heart attack- or at least, giving them extreme heartaches, to start with.

Conclusion

While it is quite evident that the hormone is somewhat responsible for troubling the heart’s workings by itself, its indirect effects on the body, which eventually prove defective for the heart, exist more in number. 

Overall, this peculiar relationship demands a more in-depth and detailed study. Still, it is safe to say that keeping testosterone at just the right levels wouldn’t end up doing much harm to the ever-vital organ.