MedWatch- Testosterone replacements increase heart disease risk from Medwatch 7 KSWO on Vimeo.

LAWTON, OK (KSWO)- A low testosterone level often raises concern, especially for men. And sometimes it prompts them to seek hormone replacements to help boost it. But Doctor’s say hormone replacement isn’t necessarily always the best option.

Low testosterone levels can lead to fatigue, depression, low libido, weight gain, and other symptoms. And many men often turn to testosterone boosters for relief.

“You may cause at first, improvement in some of the symptoms, but when you look at the controlled studies, in terms of you feeling stronger, having more muscle, more power, less fatigue, actually there is no benefit,” said Dr. Bassam Saliba, CCMH Cardiologist.

Comanche County Memorial Hospital Cardiologist Dr. Bassam Saliba says testosterone boosters may provide temporary relief for some of those symptoms, but the benefits do not outweigh the risks.

“You’re increasing your risk of heart disease and heart attacks. And the data is still in its infancy but even after twelve weeks and after six months, we’re seeing a trend in smaller studies. But when we’re putting together, we’re seeing that you’re increasing your risk of heart disease and of sleep apnea, etc.,” said Dr. Saliba.

Young men reach their peak testosterone levels at puberty, and then from age 20 on, the levels slowly decline. Dr. Saliba says many men who start taking testosterone boosters, can become dependent on the medicine.

“Men continue to secrete testosterone. As we get older, we still produce testosterone. When you introduce testosterone, you inhibit that secretion, which means you will end up after you give testosterone, actually causing shrinking of the testicles,” said Dr. Saliba.

While testosterone boosters may be the best option for some, Dr. Saliba says natural remedies are preferred. He says you can start by living a healthier life.

“Instead of you know, sitting down and having twelve pack of beer, and watch TV, and smoke. Rather, quit smoking, eat healthier, maybe have a beer in the evening, and get up and start exercising,” said Dr. Saliba.

And that goes for women, as well. Dr. Saliba says women also must be cautious when taking hormone replacements. Estrogen and testosterone are similar molecules, and women who increase their estrogen levels with medicine, face risks too.

“Risk of cancer, breast cancer, uterine cancer…which is well known today with the use of estrogen treatments. So, a woman who has a family history for breast cancer or uterine cancer, they probably need to stay away from estrogen,” said Dr. Saliba.

Dr. Saliba says obesity is also a major cause of low testosterone, and making healthy lifestyle changes can help keep your testosterone levels up.

In other heart month news, Comanche County Memorial Hospital will host a Healthy Heart Luncheon on February 27th at 11:30 in the morning featuring cardiologist Dr. Ayirala. She’ll talk about heart disease in women, the signs and symptoms of a heart attack, and how to modify risk factors for a healthier life. The cost of the lunch is $5. Seating is limited, so please RSVP by calling 580-585-5406.

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