Elder men who undergo testosterone treatment may have improved bone density levels that can determine risk for fractures and anaemia, a condition in which the blood does not have enough healthy red blood cells, a study has found.
The results showed that after an year of testosterone treatment, men over 65 years of age with low testosterone significantly increased bone density and estimated bone strength compared to those on placebo.
Further, testosterone treatment also increased haemoglobin concentrations, corrected the anaemia of men who had no other identifiable cause of anaemia and corrected the blood levels of men who had an identifiable cause, such as iron deficiency.
However, the treatment did not improve memory or any other measure of cognitive function. Instead, it increased the amount of plaque build-up in participants' coronary arteries, the researchers said.
"Our study finds benefits of testosterone treatment in improving bone density and anaemia. However, the cardiovascular study showed that the testosterone treatment group had increased plaque build-up in coronary arteries, suggesting a possible risk factor," said Ronald S. Swerdloff from Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute (LA BioMed) — a non-profit research institute in California.
The findings are detailed in the paper published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) and JAMA Internal Medicine.
For the study, the team conducted the Testosterone Trials (TTrials) — a coordinated group of seven trials — which studied the effects of testosterone treatment for one year in 51,085 men.
In the cardiovascular trial, researchers assessed coronary artery plaque build-up by CT angiography. That assessment showed more plaque build-up in men treated with testosterone than in men treated with placebo.
Nonetheless, in all 788 men in the TTrials, the number of major adverse cardiovascular events was similar in the men treated with testosterone as in the men treated with placebo.