Low testosterone and cardiometabolic risks in a real-world study of US male firefighters

Sci Rep. 2021 Jul 9;11(1):14189. doi: 10.1038/s41598-021-93603-z.


Low serum total testosterone (TT) is associated with increased cardiovascular risk and metabolic derangements, with fatty liver (FL) emerging as an additional cardiometabolic threat. We investigated the associations between TT and cardiometabolic (CM) health in 298 US male firefighters. Cross-sectional data from occupational health examination were analyzed. TT was categorized as low (< 264 ng/dL), borderline (264-399 ng/dL), and reference (400-916 ng/dL). Conventional CM risk factors were compared among TT categories, and between firefighters with and without FL. 81% of firefighters were obese/overweight; almost 40% had FL. In the low-TT group, only 3.1% had normal BMI, while 78.1% had FL. The low-TT group had a worse CM profile, independently of age and BMI, and a fourfold higher adjusted odds of having FL. FL was associated with lower TT, regardless of age, BMI and HbA1c. Having a FL, HbA1c ≥ 5.7% or triglycerides ≥ 150 mg/dL increased the odds for low-TT by 4.1, 2.7 and 6.6 times, respectively. These real-world data reveal strong associations between low-TT and CM risk factors and support a call for action towards screening for low-TT and FL, regardless of age, BMI or dysmetabolic conditions in firefighters. Recognizing cardiometabolic risks in firefighters provides an opportunity to lessen cardiovascular diseases burden.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cardiometabolic Risk Factors
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / blood
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / etiology*
  • Firefighters
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Testosterone / blood*


  • Testosterone