Low Testosterone Linked to Alzheimer’s and Early Death

October 26, 2010

Hormone balance is not confined to women but somehow men don’t get the same level of attention. This may be because they do not pay as much attention to their own health, or visit the doctor as often, so this is aimed as much at the women in their life as it is at them. This is an alert to prompt men to get their testosterone levels checked because of the new links between that and Alzheimer’s and even premature death.

This new research on Alzheimer’s comes from a team that was led by Leung-Wing Chu, M.D., Chief of the Division of Geriatric Medicine at Queen Mary Hospital at the University of Hong Kong. The researchers studied 153 Chinese men who were at least 55 years and older, lived in the community and didn’t have dementia. Of those men, 47 had mild cognitive impairment — or problems with clear thinking and memory loss.

Within a year, 10 men who all were part of the cognitively impaired group developed probable Alzheimer’s disease. They also had low testosterone; elevated levels of the ApoE 4 (apolipoprotein E) protein, which is correlated with a higher risk of Alzheimer’s disease; and high blood pressure. Going a step further, the research indicates that having good levels of testosterone may also have a protective value against the disease.

Low Testosterone Linked to Greater Risk of Early Death
A report in the BMJ-British Medical Journal this month also reported that low testosterone levels seem to be linked to a heightened risk of premature death from heart disease and all causes.

This research is based on 930 men, all of whom had coronary artery heart disease, and had been referred to a specialist heart centre between 2000 and 2002. Their heart health was then tracked for around 7 years.

On referral, low testosterone was relatively common. One in four of the men was classified as having low testosterone, as opposed to a tailing off in levels of the hormone as a result of ageing. During the monitoring period almost twice as many men with low testosterone died as did those with normal levels.

The only factors that influenced this risk were heart failure, treatment with aspirin or a high blood pressure drug and low bio-T levels. A low bio-T level was an independent risk factor for premature death from all causes and from heart disease, after taking account of other influential factors, such as age, other underlying health problems, smoking and weight.

It is not just low levels that are a problem either, as borderline levels of low total testosterone also increased the risk of an early death. Low levels are associated with obesity, risky blood fats, and insulin resistance, all of which are themselves risk factors for diabetes and heart disease.

Time for a visit to the doctor?


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