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Here’s a shocker for all of you. Remember how for years our doctors have told us to know our cholesterol levels, to be careful of high blood pressure and to stop smoking? Well, if you are worried about heart disease risk and risk of heart attack, the things you should be most concerned about are your free testosterone levels, HDL and your age. In one study published in the Journal Metabolism in March of 2004, researchers found that low testosterone levels posed the greatest risk for men and was the greatest predictor of heart attacks and clogging of the arteries. NOT high cholesterol, not diabetes, not smoking, not high blood pressure, not even being fat.
It’s not that we shouldn’t be careful of obesity because it does lead to diabetes which is the number 3 killer of Americans. It doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t still stop smoking because we still care about lung cancer, emphysema and terrible breath. And it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be very concerned about high blood pressure because of risk of strokes. But for heart disease risk, make sure that your doctor has checked you for free testosterone. A Total testosterone measurement might not pick up the risk. But it seems that low free testosterone is very related to heart disease risk. Interestingly, low testosterone is found more often in people with diabetes, obesity and high blood pressure. Maybe that is why for years we’ve thought it was the high blood pressure, diabetes or being too fat that caused heart disease.
In men, signs of low testosterone include loss of body hair, low libido, muscle weakness, depression, mood disorders, erectile dysfunction, small testicles. Men can actually have low testosterone without experiencing all these symptoms. But if you have had an early heart attack and have family history of heart disease, ask your doctor to check your hormone levels thoroughly.
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