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Can Low Testosterone Affect Your Blood Pressure?

Can Low Testosterone Affect Your Blood Pressure?

Testosterone is an essential hormone for the overall health of the male body. Testosterone plays a role in bone mass, fat distribution, muscle mass, muscle strength, sex drive, red blood cell formation, and sperm production. Although testosterone is an essential hormone, many men have lower than average testosterone levels in their bodies. It is estimated that nearly 39% of men over 45 have a low testosterone level. Low testosterone levels do not necessarily indicate a poor level of health, but low testosterone levels have been linked to several health conditions, including diabetes, obesity, and high blood pressure. 

Causes of Low Testosterone

Testosterone is a male sex hormone responsible for many male characteristics. Low testosterone is a condition that affects many men and can result in various symptoms and health problems. 

Many factors can contribute to testosterone deficiency. The testicles, the pituitary gland, and the hypothalamus all play a vital role in testosterone production. If there are any issues within these organs, low testosterone can result. Primary hypogonadism is when the testes do not produce enough testosterone. The decreased testosterone production can occur due to injury or disease to the testicles. Secondary hypogonadism is a testosterone deficiency caused by an injury or signal problem from either the pituitary gland or the hypothalamus. 

Men naturally start to experience a decline in testosterone levels by about 1% each year, beginning at the age of 30. For some men, testosterone levels can decline more rapidly, contributing to more prominent symptoms of low testosterone. 

Other causes of low testosterone include 

  • Chemotherapy 
  • Certain medications (opioids, steroids) 
  • Alcohol abuse 
  • Liver or kidney problems
  • HIV/AIDS
  • Obesity 
  • Uncontrolled diabetes 

Symptoms of Low Testosterone 

Low testosterone can lead to a variety of distressing symptoms. Not every man with low testosterone will experience the following signs and symptoms can vary depending on age and testosterone levels. Some common symptoms include: 

  • Decreased sex drive and erectile dysfunction
  • Fatigue or low energy levels 
  • Difficulty concentrating 
  • Decreased muscle mass
  • Anxiety, depression, or other mood changes
  • Changes in weight, including weight gain
  • Decreased body hair
  • Gynecomastia (enlarged male breasts) 

Low Testosterone and High Blood Pressure 

High blood pressure or hypertension is a condition that affects nearly half of the adult population in the United States. High blood pressure affects multiple organs within the body and can lead to significant cardiovascular events, including heart attack and stroke. Men of advancing age are more susceptible to high blood pressure and significant cardiovascular events than postmenopausal women. The disparity in cardiovascular events in men versus women raises a substantial question of whether lower testosterone levels can contribute to heart disease.

Research into the effects of low testosterone is ongoing, but there has been evidence linking low testosterone levels in men to an increased risk of high blood pressure. A 2017 study published by The Journal of the American Heart Association identified that primary hypogonadism could significantly increase the risk of cardiovascular disease in men. This study also found a significant correlation between low testosterone levels and the increased risk of hypertension in men who smoke or have a family history of hypertension.  The overall conclusion of this study was that low testosterone levels could be a significant risk factor for high blood pressure.