Testosterone therapy may help reduce early deaths due to type 2 diabetes

When people think of testosterone, some may picture so-called "macho" men with lots of muscle and a propensity for attracting mates. However, testosterone is an essential part of men's health, as indicated by medical research. This may be especially true for men with type 2 diabetes.

For example, a recent study presented at the Society for Endocrinology annual meeting in Birmingham, Alabama, showed that men with type 2 diabetes who have low levels of testosterone may be more likely to experience early death than those with healthy amounts of the hormone or who receive testosterone replacement therapy.

According to the study's results, among a group of more than 580 male participants with type 2 diabetes, a total of 20 percent of subjects with untreated low testosterone levels died during the six-year investigation period, compared to less than 9 percent of those who received hormone replacement therapy.

Although the researchers cautioned that clinical trials will need to be conducted in order to determine whether testosterone therapy is a viable option to be combined with other diabetes treatments, the survey portion of the investigation indicated that higher levels of the hormone improved the subjects' quality of life and scores of perceived health.

In this section, the participants ranked their health based on areas such as physical and social functioning, vitality and pain. The findings indicated that men with type 2 diabetes who had the lowest levels of testosterone reported the poorest quality of life and overall health scores.

According to the American Diabetes Association, one out of every three men with type 2 diabetes will experience low testosterone levels, a condition clinically known as hypogonadism. Some symptoms of this disorder include lowered muscle mass, fat gain and inflammation. The organization notes that low testosterone levels have also been associated with increased insulin resistance and a high risk of cardiovascular complications, such as heart disease and stroke.