Heart failure speeds up male menopause

A new research, presented at the Heart Failure Congress, 2013, has linked the early andropausal syndrome to heart failure. According to the research, male menopause was four times more common in men who had suffered from heart failure in the past.

Men tend to suffer from andropausal syndrome (AS) as they grow older. Andropausal syndrome, also known as male menopause, or late-set hypogonadism and androgen deficiency in the aging male (ADAM), occurs when men demonstrate a decrease in the levels of anabolic hormones including testosterone, due to which, certain clinical symptoms occur.

These clinical symptoms are categorized into three, according Aging Male Symptom Rating Scale-sexual (decrease in beard growth, libido problems, sexual dysfunction, erectile dysfunction, feelings of having passed the 'zenith' of life), somato-vegetative (joint problems, sweating, muscle problems, need for more sleep, weakness, exhaustion, sleep disturbances) and psychological (feeling depressed, discouraged, nervous, anxious and irritable).

"AS leads to poor quality of life. We wanted to discover whether heart failure increases AS and whether additional androgen therapies could improve quality of life in heart failure patients," Professor Ewa A. Jankowska (Wroclaw, Poland) said.

Until now, the impact of heart failure on andropausal syndrome had not been studied, and all we knew was that heart failure increased with age, and that patients who had suffered from heart failure tend to have deficiencies of anabolic hormones, leading to a reduced capacity of physical work, depression and poor prognosis.

Now, this particular study took into consideration 232 men with systolic heart failure, all of them between the ages of 40 to 80 years, and evaluated the prevalence of andropausal syndrome in them, along with the severity of the symptoms associated with it. The magnitude of the symptoms was then assessed using the Aging Male Symptom Rating Scale, and it was discovered that almost one-third of the men suffering from heart failure were affected by andropausal syndrome, and that heart failure in general, led to a fourfold increase in the risk of suffering from andropausal syndrome.

"Heart failure leads to anabolic hormone deficiencies at a relatively young age and thereby accelerates male aging and the development of AS. These patients have poor quality of life and need endocrinological and sexual counseling," Professor Jankowska said.

Currently, there's a speculation that heart failure treatments could be responsible for the decreased endocrine function, leading to andropausal syndrome. However, a follow-up study showed weak associations between them both, thus validating that heart failure itself impacts the functioning of the endocrine gland.

"Further research is needed to determine whether androgen supplementation can reduce the severity of andropausal symptoms," Jankowska concluded.

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