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J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2010 Jul;95(7):3165-72. doi: 10.1210/jc.2009-2754. Epub 2010 Apr 21.

Low free testosterone predicts frailty in older men: the health in men study.

Author information

1
Western Australian Centre for Health and Ageing (M570), University of Western Australia, 35 Stirling Highway, Crawley, Western Australia 6009, Australia. zoe@sexologyresearch.org

Abstract

CONTEXT:

The prevalence of frailty increases, whereas testosterone decreases, as men age. Low testosterone may be a risk factor for development of this syndrome.

OBJECTIVE:

Our objective was to determine whether testosterone levels are associated with frailty.

DESIGN:

We conducted a prospective cohort study.

SETTING AND PARTICIPANTS:

Between 2001 and 2004, frailty was assessed in 3616 community-dwelling men aged 70-88 yr. Frailty was reassessed in 1586 men aged 76-93 yr in 2008-2009.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:

Frailty was assessed with the FRAIL scale, comprising five domains: fatigue, difficulty climbing a flight of stairs, difficulty walking more than 100 m, more than five illnesses present, or weight loss greater than 5%. Testosterone, SHBG, and LH were assayed at baseline. Free testosterone was calculated using mass action equations.

RESULTS:

At baseline, 15.2% of men (n = 548) were frail (at least three deficits), increasing to 23.0% (n = 364) at follow-up. At baseline, each 1 sd decrease in total or free testosterone level was associated with increased odds of frailty [odds ratio (OR) = 1.23; 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.11-1.38, and OR = 1.29; 95% CI = 1.15-1.44 for total and free testosterone, respectively]. Lower LH was associated with reduced odds of frailty (OR = 0.88; 95% CI = 0.81-0.95). Adjustments were made for age, body mass index, smoking, diabetes, social support, and other covariates. At follow-up, only lower free testosterone levels (OR = 1.22; 95% CI = 1.05-1.42) predicted frailty.

CONCLUSIONS:

Lower free testosterone was independently associated with frailty at baseline and follow-up. Randomized trials should explore whether testosterone therapy can prevent the development of frailty.

PMID:
20410223
DOI:
10.1210/jc.2009-2754
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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