Type 2 diabetes with low testosterone raises atherosclerosis risk in men

By: Mohan Garikiparithi | Diabetes | Friday, April 15, 2016 - 12:00 PM

Type 2 diabetes with low testosterone raises atherosclerosis risk in menType 2 diabetes with low testosterone raises atherosclerosis risk in men. Atherosclerosis is a condition in which plaques build up against the lining of the arteries causing stiffness, which can contribute to cardiovascular disease.

Study author Dr. Javier Mauricio Farias said, “Our study indicates a strong association between low testosterone concentration and the severity of atherosclerotic plaques as well as other key atherosclerotic markers in middle-aged men with type 2 diabetes. The results of our study advance our understanding of the interplay between low testosterone and cardiovascular disease in patients with diabetes.”

The study looked at 115 men with type 2 diabetes and analyzed their testosterone levels and key atherosclerosis markers. The participants were below the age of 70 with no prior history of cardiovascular disease. Testosterone levels were measured in the participants’ blood and half of them were found to have low levels of testosterone.

The researchers found that men with type 2 diabetes and low testosterone were six times more likely to develop atherosclerosis, compared to men with normal testosterone levels. Farias added, “We still need to determine whether testosterone is directly involved in the development of atherosclerosis or if it is merely an indicator of advanced disease. This study is a stepping stone to better understanding the risks of cardiovascular events in men who have both low testosterone and type 2 diabetes.”

The correlation between diabetes and low testosterone

One may not think that low testosterone and type 2 diabetes have anything in common or that there is an association between the two, but type 2 diabetics are twice as likely to have low testosterone compared to men without type 2 diabetes. This is not to say that type 2 diabetes causes low testosterone, but researchers suspect that low testosterone and type 2 diabetes share many common risk factors. Because of this, managing both conditions is quite easy, as it involves the same lifestyle changes.

Low testosterone in men is often linked to insulin sensitivity and insulin resistance – this is when the body produces insulin but cannot use it properly. As a result, the insulin can build up in the blood, leading to type 2 diabetes and other health problems, including heart disease.

Low testosterone can lead to symptoms like fatigue, low energy, low libido, loss of muscle mass, and even depression. Luckily, lifestyle changes can work to improve type 2 diabetes – along with low testosterone. Eating a healthy diet can support overall good health and help with weight. Being overweight can contribute to both type 2 diabetes and low testosterone, so keeping your weight down is ideal in both scenarios.

Regular exercise, too, is essential with both conditions, as it can help raise testosterone levels naturally, maintain a healthy weight, and help better manage diabetes.

Aside from lifestyle remedies, your doctor can prescribe medications to help bring up your testosterone and manage your diabetes. Sometimes, these different treatments may interact, so follow up with your doctor, especially if you begin to notice unpleasant side effects.

Type 2 diabetes and low testosterone are not life sentences. Speaking to your doctor can help choose the best treatment option for you.


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Sources:
https://www.endocrine.org/news-room/press-release-archives/2014/diabetic-men-with-low-testosterone-run-higher-risk-of-developing-atherosclerosis
http://press.endocrine.org/doi/abs/10.1210/jc.2014-2585
http://www.everydayhealth.com/hs/low-testosterone-guide/low-testosterone-diabetes/


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