Male gender is a major risk factor for premature cardiovascular death, a relationship not yet explained. Low testosterone in men is a risk factor for the metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes and is associated independently with individual components of the metabolic syndrome--visceral obesity, insulin resistance, hyperglycemia, hypertension and dyslipidemia. Epidemiological studies report increased mortality in men with low testosterone. Testosterone replacement in the short-term reduces waist circumference, cholesterol and circulating pro-inflammatory cytokines and improves insulin sensitivity and glycemic control in diabetics. Testosterone also has beneficial effects on cardiac ischemia, angina and chronic heart failure. This manuscript reviews the current evidence supporting a link between low testosterone and cardiovascular disease, highlighting the need for larger, longer-term studies.
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