Testosterone Related Diseases Blood Pressure

Medical professionals once referred to high blood pressure (or “hypertension”) as the “silent killer,” because it rarely produced any symptoms but, if left untreated, could cause fatal complications. Today, this common condition is screened for at almost every doctor’s visit, and researchers continue learn more about the multitude of interdependent risk factors for hypertension.

About Blood Pressure

The term “blood pressure” refers the amount of pressure placed on the blood vessels as blood is pumped through the circulatory system. The circumference of the arteries and the amount of blood being pumped by the heart determine a person’s blood pressure. Normal blood pressure is anything below 120/80. Once blood pressure reaches 140/90, it is considered high, and usually requires close monitoring and medication.

Most cases of high blood pressure (90 to 95 percent) are classified as “primary hypertension.” Primary hypertension develops slowly throughout a person’s lifetime. Although a specific cause has not been identified, primary hypertension does have several risk factors, including:

  • Age (more common with increasing age)
  • Family history
  • Obesity and inactivity
  • Race (more common in Africans than in other ethnicities)
  • Smoking.

If left untreated for too long, excessive pressure on the walls of the blood vessels can lead to a heart attack or stroke. It can also do permanent damage to the heart by causing the heart muscles to thicken. Thickened heart muscles do a poor job of pumping blood and could lead to heart failure.

Low Testosterone and Blood Pressure

During puberty, men experience a surge in the production of testosterone, a sex hormone important for sexual maturation. As men age, particularly past age 40, their testosterone levels begin to decline. Some men undergo a more severe decline than others and, subsequently, may experience some of the symptoms associated with low testosterone, such as erectile dysfunction, infertility and depression.

Lower-than-normal testosterone levels are known to be more common in men with high blood pressure than in men with normal or low blood pressure. Currently, this association is poorly understood, but it is unlikely to be a simple cause-and-effect relationship. Instead, the two conditions are probably both the influenced by the same risk factors.

Testosterone Replacement Therapy for Hypertension Patients with ED

Researchers have long observed that men with high blood pressure have a higher incidence of erectile dysfunction (ED). Many of these patients attributed their ED to a side effect of their high blood pressure medication, which can make sustaining an erection more difficult. However, more recent studies have demonstrated a link between ED and high blood pressure in the absence of any medication.

Researchers currently believe that these men may be suffering from ED because they have low testosterone levels. This finding opens up the possibility of using testosterone replacement therapy to treat these men for their ED without needing to alter their high blood pressure medications. Testosterone treatment can have serious side effects, however, and patients and their physicians need to weigh the options carefully.

Resources

American Accreditation HealthCare Commission. (n.d.). High blood pressure. Retrieved January 17, 2010 from the Medline Plus Web site: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/highbloodpressure.html.

Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. (2008). High blood pressure (hypertension). Retrieved January 17, 2010 from the Mayo Clinic Web site: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/high-blood-pressure/DS00100.

Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. (2008). Testosterone therapy: Can it help older men feel young again? Retrieved January 17, 2010 from the Mayo Clinic Web site: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/testosterone-therapy/MC00030.

WebMD, LLC. (n.d.). How high blood pressure leads to erectile dysfunction. Retrieved January 14, 2010 from the WebMD Web site: http://men.webmd.com/testosterone-15738.

WebMD, LLC. (2008). Testosterone. Retrieved January 14, 2010 from the WebMD Web site: http://men.webmd.com/testosterone-15738.

Zoppi, F. R., et. al. (2002). Sexual activity and plasma testosterone levels in hypertensive males. American Journal of Hypertension, 15(3), 217-221.