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J Intern Med. 2003 Oct;254(4):386-90.

A 5-year follow-up study of disease incidence in men with an abnormal hormone pattern.

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Cardiovascular Institute, Sahlgrenska University Hospital, Göteborg, Sweden.



Previous studies have suggested that abnormal levels of cortisol and testosterone might increase the risk of serious somatic diseases. To test this hypothesis, we conducted a 5-year follow-up study in middle-aged men.


A population-based cohort study conducted in 1995 amongst 141 Swedish men born in 1944, in whom a clinical examination supplemented by medical history aimed to disclose the presence of cardiovascular disease (CVD) (myocardial infarction, angina pectoris, stroke), type 2 diabetes and hypertension were performed at baseline and at follow-up in the year 2000. In addition, salivary cortisol levels were measured repeatedly over the day. Serum testosterone concentrations were also determined. Using the baseline data, an algorithm was constructed, which classified the secretion pattern of cortisol and testosterone from each individual as being normal or abnormal.


By the end of follow-up, men with an abnormal hormone secretion pattern (n = 73) had elevated mean arterial pressure (P = 0.003), fasting insulin (P = 0.009) and insulin : glucose ratio (P = 0.005) compared with men with a normal secretion pattern (n = 68). Body mass index, waist circumference, and waist : hip ratio were significantly elevated in both groups. However, the 5-year incidence of CVD, type 2 diabetes, and hypertension were significantly higher (P < 0.001) in men with an abnormal neuroendocrine secretory pattern compared to men with a normal pattern.


These data suggest that an abnormal neuroendocrine secretory pattern is prospectively associated with an increased incidence of cardiovascular-related events and type 2 diabetes.

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