Low Testosterone Raises Atherosclerosis Risk in Diabetics

Low testosterone may increase cardiovascular risk in middle-aged men with type 2 diabetes.
Low testosterone may increase cardiovascular risk in middle-aged men with type 2 diabetes.

Low testosterone may exacerbate the risk of atherosclerotic complications in men with type 2 diabetes, according to research published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

Javier M. Farias, M.D., of Sanatorio Guemes in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and colleagues conducted a cross-sectional study evaluating atherosclerotic disease markers in 115 male patients. Participants were aged younger than 70 years and had type 2 diabetes and serum testosterone levels that were normal (≥3.5 ng/mL; 79 patients) or low (<3.5 ng/mL; 36 patients).

The researchers found that, compared with individuals with normal testosterone levels, those with low testosterone levels were more likely to have carotid artery intima-media thickness (IMT) of 0.1 cm or greater (80 versus 39 percent; odds ratio [OR], 6.41; 95 percent confidence interval [CI], 2.5 to 16.4; P < 0.0001), atherosclerotic plaques (68.5 versus 44.8 percent; OR, 2.60; 95 percent CI, 1.12 to 6.03; P < 0.0001), endothelial dysfunction (80.5 versus 42.3 percent; OR, 5.77; 95 percent CI, 2.77 to 14.77; P < 0.003), and higher highly sensitive C-reactive protein levels (2.74 ± 5.82 versus 0.89 ± 0.88 mg/L; P < 0.0001).

After multivariable adjustment, low total testosterone level was found to be independently associated with greater carotid IMT (OR, 8.43; 95 percent CI, 2.5 to 25.8) and endothelial dysfunction (OR, 5.21; 95 percent CI, 1.73 to 15.66), but not with the presence of atherosclerotic plaques (OR, 1.77; 95 percent CI, 0.66 to 4.74).

"Low testosterone is associated with more advanced atherosclerotic disease markers in middle-aged patients with type 2 diabetes," the authors write.

One author disclosed financial ties to pharmaceutical and medical device companies.

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