June 20, 2018 – Women and Testosterone


Anchor lead: Is high testosterone hurting women’s hearts? Elizabeth Tracey reports

Women typically manifest heart disease after menopause, and for years estrogen was thought to be important. Now new research by Erin Michos, a cardiologist at Johns Hopkins, and colleagues shows that the dominant male hormone, testosterone, is also a factor.

Michos: We had individuals representing four race ethnicities, these women were all after menopause, and no history of heart attacks or strokes. So we measured hormone levels and then followed them to see who went on to develop a heart attack or stroke. What we found was that women with higher levels of testosterone, male type hormones, relative to estrogen, had increased risk of stroke, of heart failure, compared to women with lower levels. So this is after we took into account other risk factors for heart disease such as blood pressure, cholesterol, smoking.   :31

Michos notes that in women, testosterone is known to be important in libido as well as muscle health, and says it’s the relative levels of estrogen and testosterone that may be the issue. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.