Not so fast, says Dr. Angela DeRosa, DO, MBA, CPE. It was misunderstandings, misreporting of results and media hype that launched the panic over the WHI study on women and HRT in 2002, and the negative impact for women’s health has lasted to this day.
This study linking testosterone to heart attacks makes the same mistakes and in my opinion they are committing reporting malpractice. Here is what men need to know…
According to Dr. DeRosa, an internal medicine doctor and hormonal health specialist, this is NOT a randomized controlled study. They do not match the patients properly, and they are not accounting for many variables that may already exist in this population comparison.The 26-29 percent increase quoted is a relative risk, NOT an absolute risk.
In the original WHI study, the media reported that there was a 26 percent increase for risk of developing breast cancer when using hormone replacement therapy – specifically, this occurred in the Prempro trial. In reality, this number wasn’t statistically significant. Here’s why: the percentage was based on EIGHT more women having breast cancer in the Prempro arm.
This study linking testosterone to heart attacks does the same thing. Once again, the media is looking at a small number of people that’s not statistically significant and making the larger number the report, and it’s again spreading fear and misinformation.
This testing was done on an older male population, which will naturally have a higher incidence of Coronary Artery Disease. As we age, plaque builds up in our arteries. For some people, it’s never a problem. For others, it advances to Coronary Artery Disease. The testosterone supplementation is not causing the condition: the groundwork has already been laid by years of lifestyle, usually poor diet, alcohol and tobacco use, or other variables.
Testosterone supplementation is usually prescribed for use in otherwise healthy males who are experiencing abnormal rates of testosterone decline. Catch it early, and we reduce the risk for developing heart disease, some cancers and other health conditions.
This is a terrible leap to make these claims…once again. Let’s hope they don’t have the lasting negative impact irresponsible reporting and misinterpretations of data associated with the WHI 2002 study. If you’re still concerned, see your doctor.