Testosterone (T) has a number of important effects on the cardiovascular system. In men, T levels begin to decrease after age 40, and this decrease has been associated with an increase in all-cause mortality and cardiovascular (CV) risk. Low T levels in men may increase their risk of developing coronary artery disease (CAD), metabolic syndrome, and type 2 diabetes. Reduced T levels in men with congestive heart failure (CHF) portends a poor prognosis and is associated with increased mortality. Studies have reported a reduced CV risk with higher endogenous T concentration, improvement of known CV risk factors with T therapy, and reduced mortality in T-deficient men who underwent T replacement therapy versus untreated men. Testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) has been shown to improve myocardial ischemia in men with CAD, improve exercise capacity in patients with CHF, and improve serum glucose levels, HbA1c, and insulin resistance in men with diabetes and prediabetes. There are no large long-term, placebo-controlled, randomized clinical trials to provide definitive conclusions about TRT and CV risk. However, there currently is no credible evidence that T therapy increases CV risk and substantial evidence that it does not. In fact, existing data suggests that T therapy may offer CV benefits to men.
Keywords: androgen; dihydrotestosterone; testosterone; testosterone deficiency; testosterone replacement therapy.