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Androgen Replacement Therapy: Testosterone Has Its Benefits for Older Men

By Charles Omedo , Feb 22, 2017 01:26 AM EST
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Androgen replacement therapy is the new focus for scientists from the Kaiser Permanente; and they published a finding in the JAMA Internal Medicine detailing the benefits of androgen replacement therapy and how it could raise the risks of cardiovascular events. The researchers found that testosterone replacement therapy works to boost male sexual drive in the short term, but increases risks of heart problems in the long term. About 44,335 male patients who had been diagnosed with androgen deficiency took part in the study.

Androgen deficiency and what you must know

Androgen replacement therapy is not really a new idea but people tend to use "androgen" and "testosterone" interchangeably when they are actually not the same. For instance, androgen deficiency can lead to testosterone deficiency but not vice-versa. Symptoms of androgen deficiency can also be treated with testosterone replacement therapy but not the other way round. Appropriate drugs are okay for treatment and there is no need for any surgeries.

When men have lower levels of androgen, the symptoms are loss of sexual appetite, reduction in male sex hormones - particularly testosterone, erectile dysfunction, irritability and depression among others. This phenomenon occurs in men above the age of 30 year and progresses to over the age of 60. To this extent, testosterone replacement can be administered topically, orally or via injection to treat both androgen and testosterone deficiencies, Medical Express reports.

Benefits and dangers of androgen replacement therapy

Researchers have not really focused on the dangers of androgen replacement therapy in younger men, but they agree it could be bad for much older men. While recent studies say it can reduce anemia and boost bone density in men, other studies say it poses cardiovascular risks for older men, WebMD writes. For instance authors of one study praise the benefits of one and authors of other studies highlight risks of the other.

Androgen replacement therapy is available for older men who would require the treatment after approved medical tests. "Our study found no indication of an increased risk for cardiovascular events for men with androgen deficiency," said T. Craig Cheetham of Kaiser Permanente Southern California Department of Research and Evaluation. He added that patients and doctors should be more positive about the use of testosterone replacement therapy following the results of the study. This is because 8.2% of the study's participants who got treated with testosterone faced risks of cardiovascular events compared to 10.2% of those who never received testosterone.

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