Sex hormones and cause-specific mortality in the male veterans: the Vietnam Experience Study

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Background: Testosterone levels have been linked to life expectancy in men, less is known about the sex hormones follicular stimulating hormone and luteinizing hormone.

Aim: To examine the association of testosterone, follicular stimulating hormone, luteinizing hormone with mortality.

Design: Prospective cohort analysis.

Methods: Participants were 4255 Vietnam-era US army veterans with a mean age of 38.3 years. From military service files, telephone interviews and a medical examination, socio-demographic and health data were collected. Contemporary morning fasted hormone concentrations were determined. All-cause, cardiovascular, cancer, external and ‘other’ cause mortality was ascertained over the subsequent 15 years. Hazard ratios were calculated, first with adjustment for age and then, additionally, for a range of confounders.

Results: Individuals within the highest tertiles of follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH) levels were at increased risk of all-cause mortality following adjustment for a range of risk factors. However, with mutual adjustment, neither FSH nor LH significantly predicted mortality. Testosterone levels did not show an association with all-cause mortality, and none of the hormones were significantly associated with CVD, cancer, ‘other’ or external-cause mortality in fully adjusted models.

Conclusions: Greater FSH and LH levels are associated with all-cause mortality, but not independently of one another.

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