In a new study, researchers found high testosterone levels may play a role in the development of major heart problems in men.
Heart problems include blood clots, heart attack, and heart failure.
The research was conducted by an international research team, led by the City University of New York.
Previous studies have shown that genetically predicted, or endogenous, testosterone is linked to heart disease and stroke, especially in men.
However, it is unknown whether testosterone can cause the development of heart disease.
In the current study, the team used a new tool to examine genetic variants that predict testosterone levels and the links to blood clots, heart failure, and heart attack.
The participants included 400,000 men and women from a large genome study and the UK Biobank database.
These people were aged 40 to 75 years. Their heart health conditions were collected from self-reports and hospital records.
The team also used data from another large genome study to validate their results.
The researchers found in men, high testosterone levels were linked to a higher risk of blood clots, heart failure, and heart attack.
The connections were much lower in women.
The findings suggest that men should be careful when they take testosterone supplements to increase their energy levels and sex drive.
The researchers believe their new method can avoid problems that afflict traditional observational studies and is more reliable.
They also suggest that in their study, the participants tend to be more educated and have a healthy lifestyle.
Future work needs to examine the link between testosterone levels and heart disease in a broader population.
In addition, future research should clarify whether the current findings are relevant to the higher rates of these diseases in men than in women.
It is important to check if existing treatments that lower testosterone levels could help protect against these heart conditions.
The lead author of the study is Professor Mary Schooling at the City University of New York and the University of Hong Kong.
The study is published in The BMJ.
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