Testosterone and cardiovascular risk
Tirabassi G, Gioia A, Giovannini L, Boscaro M, Corona G, Carpi A, Maggi M, Balercia G. Intern Emerg Med. 2013 Mar 9. [Epub ahead of print]


Division of Endocrinology, Department of Clinical and Molecular Sciences, Umberto I Hospital, Polytechnic University of Marche, Via Conca 71, 60126, Ancona, Italy.


Cardiovascular (CV) disease is one of the most common causes of death in the western populations and, nowadays, its incidence is increasing even in the developing countries; although CV disease affects both sexes, it is more frequent in males in whom it shortens the average life expectancy. In this regard, this difference has been wrongly attributed for many years to the negative effects of testosterone (T); however, nowadays, a large amount of evidence suggests that this hormone may have protective effects on the CV system and that, indeed, the low levels of T could be associated with an increased CV risk and with an augmentation of morbidity and mortality in males. Such an aspect gains great relevance in light of the consideration that T decrease, besides occurring as a consequence of rare pathological conditions, can often take place with natural aging, causing a state of "male menopause", also called late-onset hypogonadism. In this review, we aimed to summarize the present state of the art concerning the association between T deficit and CV disease by analyzing the protective role of T on CV system and the relationship of this hormonal lack with metabolic syndrome, CV morbidity and mortality, and with the CV complications, such as ischemic heart disease, heart failure and stroke, that frequently occur in T deficiency.