The latest research has ultimately shown that the heart failure may substantially accelerate the aging process in men and may bring on early andropausal syndrome -- male menopause.
Professor Ewa A. Jankowska of the Wroclaw Medical University in Poland said as men get older they are more likely to suffer from andropause, also called male menopause, or a deficiency in the male sex hormones such as testosterone.
The symptoms of andropausal syndrome can be divided into three categories: sexual, psychological and somato-vegetative.
Sexual symptoms include: erectile dysfunction, problems with libido, decrease in beard growth, feelings of "having passed the zenith of life;" psychological symptoms include feeling discouraged, depressed, irritable, anxious, nervous; and somato-vegetative include joint and muscle complaints, sweating, need for more sleep, sleep disturbances, weakness, exhaustion.
"Andropausal syndrome leads to poor quality of life. We wanted to discover whether heart failure increases andropausal syndrome and whether additional androgen therapies could improve quality of life in heart failure patients," Jankowska said in a statement.
The researchers compared 232 men (aged 40 to 80 years) with stable, systolic HF (based on the New York Heart Association [NYHA] class) with 362 age-matched healthy men. According to data, their andropause symptoms (psychological, sexual and somato-vegetative) were categorized by their severity and analyzed using the Aging Males’ Symptom (AMS) rating scale.
The study found andropausal syndrome affected almost one-third of men with heart failure, regardless of their age group. In men ages 40-59, heart failure led to a four-fold increase in the prevalence of andropausal syndrome and an increase in the severity of sexual and somato-vegetative andropausal symptoms. Men ages 60-80 with and without heart failure had a similar prevalence of andropausal syndrome and severity of andropausal symptoms, the study said.
The study authors concluded heart failure accelerated the natural process of aging and favors early onset of andropausal syndrome.
It has been suggested that the anabolic hormone deficiencies in heart failure could be caused by heart failure treatments, which could affect the metabolism of hormones, or comorbidities, which might impair endocrine gland function. But in a second abstract the research group found few and weak associations between the presence of anabolic deficiencies, comorbidities and therapies in men with systolic heart failure. Professor Jankowska said: "This shows that it is the heart failure itself which impacts on the functioning of the endocrine glands."
She concluded: "Further research is needed to determine whether androgen supplementation can reduce the severity of andropausal symptoms."
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