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Sex hormones link to heart risk
Date:8/31/2008

Men are more prone to and likely to die of - heart disease compared with women of a similar age and sex hormones are to blame, according to a new University of Leicester led study

The findings of a study by Dr Maciej Tomaszewski, New Blood Lecturer in Cardiovascular Medicine in the Department of Cardiovascular Sciences at the University of Leicester, suggest that this "male disadvantage" may be related to the sex-specific effects of naturally occurring sex hormones.

The research by Dr Tomaszewski and his colleagues, which has been published on line in the journal Atherosclerosis, involved 933 men aged, on average, 19 years, from the Young Men Cardiovascular Association study. The researchers looked at ways that the sex hormones - estradiol, estrone, testosterone and androstenedione - interacted with three major risk factors of heart disease (cholesterol, blood pressure and weight).

They found that two of these sex hormones (estradiol and estrone, called together estrogens) are linked to increased levels of bad cholesterol (LDL-cholesterol) and low levels of good cholesterol (HDL-cholesterol) in men.

This suggests that certain sex hormones may be important risk factors of heart disease in men, even before they present symptoms of coronary artery disease or stroke.

Dr Tomaszewski commented: "We hypothesised that circulating concentrations of sex hormones were associated with cardiovascular disease risk factors in men long before any apparent manifestations of cardiovascular disease such as stroke or myocardial infarction".

"We examined associations of circulating estrogens (estradiol and estrone) as well as androgens (testosterone and androstenedione) with major cardiovascular risk factors (lipids, blood pressure, body mass) in 933 young (median age 19 years), apparently healthy men.

"Our studies showed that one of the sex hormones - estradiol - was associated positively with total cho
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Contact: Maciej Tomaszewski
mt142@le.ac.uk
01-162-563-028
University of Leicester
Source:Eurekalert

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