Blood pressure and endogenous testosterone in men: an inverse relationship

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Exogenous sex hormone use, including oral contraceptives, post-menopausal hormonal therapy and anabolic steroids, has been associated with blood pressure changes in both sexes, but little is known about the relationship between blood pressure and endogenous sex hormones. We examined this relationship in men in the Rancho Bernardo population study. Out of 1132 men aged 30–79 years, those with hypertension, categorically defined as systolic blood pressure (SBP) <160mmHg and/or diastolic blood pressure (DBP) <95 mmHg had significantly lower testosterone levels than non-hypertensives. Systolic and diastolic blood pressure inversely correlated with testosterone levels (r = 0.17, P < 0.001 for systolic; r = −0.15, P < 0.001 for diastolic) in the whole cohort. This association was present over the whole range of blood pressures and sex hormone levels with a stepwise decrease in mean SBP and DBP per increasing quartile of testosterone. Obesity accounted for some, but not all, of this relationship, which was reduced, but still apparent after adjusting for age and body mass index. No other hormone (androstenedione, estrone, estradiol) nor sex hormone-binding globulin showed a consistent relationship with blood pressure. The clinical and physiological significance of this relationship merits further investigation.

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