Are American men getting soft? According to a 2006 study in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, American men are losing testosterone at a rate of 1% a year. The reasons vary from obesity and toxic exposure to simply aging.

When there is a perceived medical need, Big Pharma usually has an answer. A quick look at the sports pages of most American newspapers and blogs will show ads, some offering coupons, aimed at men and offering a “quick fix,” suggesting that they should get tested and ask their doctors about testosterone-boosting drugs to cure everything from fatigue to a diminished sex drive. As a result, the number of testosterone prescriptions written for American men has tripled since 2001.

Increased risk of death by taking testosterone replacement drugs

The Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA) recently released a report describing a high risk of damage to the heart and blood vessels of men taking testosterone-therapy drugs to treat a medical condition known as low testosterone, or Low T.

Clinical trials are used to test the safety of drugs by evaluating a drug’s effect while being taken by human beings. Researchers halted a recent clinical trial because men were developing cardiovascular disease resulting in myocardial infarction, strokes, and death at alarming rates.

The study was performed at patient centers in the Veterans’ Healthcare System on 8709 men with documented levels of low testosterone. After 531 days of receiving testosterone therapy, they were given a test known as a coronary angiography that uses dye and a special x-ray to show the inside of a patient’s arteries. Researchers divided the group of men into two subgroup. The first 7486 did not receive Low T therapy while the other group of 1223 did. The results are scary.

Of the group that did not receive the drug, 681 died, 420 had heart attacks, and 486 had strokes, resulting in a 19.9% rate of adverse event risk. Comparatively, of the 1223 patients who got Low T therapy, 67 died, 23 suffered heart attacks, and 33 had strokes, resulting in 25.7% adverse incidents. This means that those who take testosterone therapy are at a 5.8% higher risk for having a heart attack, stroke, or dying.

This test is a virtual dose of reality for millions of men who are looking for a miracle cure in a syringe or gel. I urge readers to carefully consider the risks versus the benefits of Low T therapy, have meaningful conversations with their prescribing physicians, and perhaps hit the gym a little more often.

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