In the simplest of terms, the CVS is comprised of the heart, blood vessels, and blood itself. Your heart acts as the system’s pump, where the blood vessels merely act to ensure that the blood is transported throughout the system. Your blood could be described as the fluid that effectively carries oxygen, nutrients, and more around the body. It also serves to carry waste products away to be removed.
Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) are the leading cause of death worldwide; more people die from CVD than any other cause 1. The bleak figures are an estimated 17.9 million deaths in 2016, which represented 31% of all global deaths; 85% of these were specifically due to heart attack and stroke 1. The symptoms of CVD tend to be insidious and chronic in nature, creeping up until a complication occurs, such as a heart attack. A healthier CVS will generally promote better overall health and wellbeing, though your primary motivator should be to not die from CVD.
Among the medical community, there is ongoing debate regarding the effects of Testosterone on cardiovascular health (CVH). There are decades of conflicting evidence around the association of endogenous Testosterone levels and CVD. Respectively, Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT) has been reported to increase CVD events in patients, with the US Food & Drug administration (FDA) going as far as releasing a warning statement about testosterone and its potential risk for CVH. However, later studies were found to be critically flawed, with world renowned Clinical Endocrinologists and expert panels stating that said FDA claims lack evidence 2. Further investigation reveals that TRT, within physiological use, may generally have very positive cardioprotective effects 2. Testosterone levels do in fact appear to correlate positively with high-density lipoprotein (HDL) and negatively with low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and inflammatory states. Low testosterone is associated with greater risk of atherosclerosis (hardening of arteries), CAD and CVD events 2. This is likely, in part, due to the profound positive metabolic effect that testosterone has on the body; that is, it increases lean body mass, bone mineral density, reduces adiposity and thus reduces the risk of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus. But, while this relationship has been shown to exist, it remains unclear if it’s a causal relationship, or if it’s due to low testosterone levels merely being a biomarker of poor overall health. We are nonetheless certain that normal healthy physiologic levels of Testosterone would not increase the risk of CVDs, but it’s uncertain if they can decrease the risk.
- Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs). https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/cardiovascular-diseases-(cvds). Accessed January 1, 2021.
- Elagizi A, Köhler TS, Lavie CJ. Testosterone and Cardiovascular Health. Mayo Clin Proc. 2018;93(1):83-100. doi:10.1016/j.mayocp.2017.11.006