Can Low Testosterone Affect Blood Pressure?
Posted: May 9, 2022
Low testosterone is a common health condition that affects many men. Some estimate as many as 4 in 10 men over 45 years old suffer from low T. High blood pressure also affects many men and is associated with many negative health effects, primarily heart disease and stroke. There is some evidence that testosterone influences blood pressure in the body, leading many people to wonder if their low testosterone could increase the risk for hypertension (high blood pressure). Researchers are still studying the effects of low T on blood pressure, but some evidence suggests that testosterone levels can be a risk factor for high blood pressure and other conditions linked to it. In this article, we’ll discuss the connection between low testosterone and high blood pressure.
What is Low Testosterone?
Before we get into the link between blood pressure and testosterone, it’s important to discuss what low testosterone is. Low testosterone is a health condition that affects many men. It’s also known by the medical term hypogonadism, as well as more informally as low T. Essentially, it means that you have testosterone levels in your body that are lower than the average and healthy range. Typically, this means you have testosterone levels lower than 300 ng/dL in your blood.
Testosterone deficiency can happen for many reasons. There are three key areas in your body that play a role in testosterone production: the testes, the hypothalamus, and the pituitary gland. An issue with any of these organs can lead to low T. If there’s injury or disease to your testes, then they can’t produce testosterone for your body to use because they are essentially the manufacturing facility for your body’s testosterone. Low testosterone from conditions that affect the testes is called primary hypogonadism.
Secondary hypogonadism is testosterone deficiency that comes from issues with either the hypothalamus or the pituitary gland. The hypothalamus is a part of your brain that tells your body to make testosterone. The hypothalamus sends signals to the pituitary gland that the body needs more testosterone. Then, the pituitary gland relays this signal by releasing luteinizing hormone. This hormone then tells the testes to make more testosterone.
With age, the testes, hypothalamus, and pituitary gland may not all function like a well-oiled machine. This is why testosterone levels start to decline by about 1% per year. However, for some men, testosterone levels decline more significantly, leading to symptoms and health risks associated with low testosterone. In these cases, you may benefit from testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) for treatment.
Symptoms of Low T
Low testosterone can cause many symptoms. These symptoms often trigger a visit to our clinic for diagnosis and treatment because they can affect everyday life. Some of the symptoms of low T include:
- Low libido
- Erectile dysfunction
- Unexplained weight gain
- Low energy levels
- Loss of muscle mass
- Mood changes
- Gynecomastia (enlarged breasts)
If you’re experiencing these symptoms, the good news is that testosterone replacement may be able to help. Our team can help identify underlying causes of your symptoms and offer customized treatment to help you feel your best.
Who is at Risk for Testosterone Deficiency?
Low testosterone affects many men and can strike at any time. However, some people are more at risk than others for developing hypogonadism. There are many health conditions associated with low T. They may increase your risk for this condition.
Older men are more likely to develop low testosterone. As we mentioned before, the testes, hypothalamus, and pituitary gland may not function as well as we get older, which can increase the risk of hypogonadism.
Obesity is another common risk factor for low T. While weight gain is a common symptom, it can also be a cause of low testosterone, like a feedback loop. The more fat in your body, the less testosterone you produce. The less testosterone you have, the more fat you retain and the less muscle mass you create. Therefore, it’s a negative cycle.
Men with diabetes are also at risk. Testosterone deficiency may actually be a complication of diabetes as well as a risk factor for it. Like the cycle of obesity and testosterone deficiency, diabetes and testosterone affect each other on a two-way street. High blood sugar levels can lower testosterone levels, and low testosterone levels can increase the risk for insulin resistance, which can also increase blood sugar levels.
However, keep in mind that really anyone can develop low T. If you’re experiencing symptoms, visit our providers for a comprehensive health assessment, including a blood testosterone test.
Low Testosterone and Blood Pressure
Low testosterone can increase the risk for several health conditions, so it’s a common question whether testosterone can affect blood pressure. After all, blood pressure is considered one of the biggest risk factors for heart disease, heart attacks, and strokes. It is also typically controllable with lifestyle changes, treating the root cause of the high blood pressure, or taking blood pressure reducing medications. There is some evidence that low T may increase the risk for high blood pressure. Let’s explore some of the research:
Low T May be Linked to High Blood Pressure
Scientists are still researching all the effects of low testosterone. However, a recent study indicates that hypogonadism can be a risk marker for high blood pressure. The 2021 study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association followed a group of men for three years between 2013 and 2016. The researchers measured many things, including total testosterone, free testosterone, luteinizing hormone, sex hormone binding globulin, and blood pressure. They found an association between high blood pressure and low testosterone levels, as well as high sex hormone binding globulin levels. The association was even stronger for men who smoked or had a family history of hypertension. Therefore, the researchers concluded that low testosterone may be an indicator of high blood pressure risk.
Another study from 2008 looked at the relationship between blood pressure and testosterone and found some interesting results. The researchers in this study found that testosterone replacement showed a short-term blood pressure lowering effect shortly after treatment by relaxing arteries. However, they also mention that testosterone replacement therapy can also increase red blood cell production, which can raise blood pressure by increasing the amount of blood in your veins, so there is both a lowering and raising risk.
Low Testosterone is Associated with Metabolic Syndrome
It’s also important to note that low testosterone is linked with metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is a collection of different health conditions, including high blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat (especially around the waist), and high cholesterol. This can increase the risk for type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. This may also explain the link between low T and high blood pressure. There’s no single cause for metabolic syndrome, but it’s typically linked to excess weight, which we mentioned testosterone deficiency can also cause as a symptom. However, many studies have found men with low T who take TRT are able to lose more weight and may even be able to reverse their metabolic syndrome.
Reinventing Men’s Health Care at Low T Center
Convenient, affordable, and customized health care is simple when you choose our team at Low T Center. We work hard to make taking care of your health as simple as possible so you can get back to your busy lifestyle. Our providers can help with diagnosis, treatment, and ongoing health management to help you live your best life. Whether you’re suffering from low testosterone, sleep apnea, or another health condition, we have solutions for you. Make an appointment now to discover how we’re reinventing health care for men.
Disclaimer: This article is made available for general, entertainment and educational purposes only. The opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect those of Low T Center. You should always seek the advice of a licensed healthcare professional.