High Testosterone May Raise Cardiac Risks in Older Women

Higher levels linked to insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome and coronary artery disease
By Jane Parry
HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, Nov. 6 (HealthDay News) -- Women over the age of 65 years who have higher levels of testosterone may likely be at greater risk of coronary heart disease (CHD), insulin resistance and the metabolic syndrome (MetSyn), according to a study published online Oct. 21 in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

Shrita M. Patel, M.D., of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine in Philadelphia, and colleagues conducted a study of 344 women aged 65 to 98 years to determine their levels of total and free testosterone and its association with incidence and risk of cardiovascular disease.

The researchers found an association between higher levels of total and free testosterone and abdominal obesity, as well as high fasting glucose. In addition, MetSyn was associated with insulin resistance. The odds of having MetSyn were three times greater among women in the top quartile for total testosterone compared to those in the bottom quartile. In addition, women in the top quartile had three times greater odds of CHD as compared to those in the second quartile. However, free testosterone was not associated with MetSyn or CHD. The researchers acknowledge that the implications of this association are unclear.

"Higher levels of testosterone are associated with insulin resistance, MetSyn, and CHD in elderly women. Whether testosterone is a marker or mediator of cardiovascular disease in this population merits further investigation," the authors write.

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