Elevated T/E2 Ratio Is Associated with an Increased Risk of Cerebrovascular Disease in Elderly Men
To investigate the relationship between sex hormones and the risk of vascular disease in elderly men and to evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of testosterone replacement.
A total of 337 men, aged 60 to 91 years, were enrolled in this single-center, cross-sectional study, and their sex hormone levels were assessed. Linear and logistic regression analyses were utilized to compare the sex hormone levels between patients with and without vascular disease. The nonparametric K-sample test was used for inter-group comparisons.
Aging and abnormal metabolism were both significantly associated with an increased risk of vascular diseases and changes in sex hormone levels. Primary linear and logistic regression analyses showed no significant differences in sex hormone concentrations between patients with and without vascular diseases after adjusting for age. Logistic regression with abnormal metabolism as categorical variable showed that free testosterone (FT) and free estradiol (FE2) had significant relationships with CEVD risk (P<0.05). In further regression with all metabolic continuous variables included, the testosterone/estradiol (T/E2) ratio replaced FT and FE2 (P<0.05). Trend line analyses showed that T/E2 actually had a binomial linear correlation with the risk of cerebrovascular disease; its best protective effect occurred at values of 0.13–0.15, with an OR value extremely close to those of FT and FE2 (0.23 vs. 0.24–0.25).
T/E2 balance plays a key role in the relationship between sex hormones and the risk of cerebrovascular disease. The balance between T and E2 may be more important than their absolute quantities. Extremely low T/E2 and inappropriately high T/E2 ratio can both harm the brain blood vessels. Careful consideration should be given before beginning testosterone replacement treatment, and supplementing with estrogen seems to be a good way to protect blood vessels of the brain in elderly men.