Low levels of testosterone in postmenopausal women may be associated with an increased risk of heart disease, concludes a Belgian study of 112 women.
Testosterone is a male sex hormone, but women also produce it.
As reported by BBC News, half of the women in the study had atherosclerosis (hardening and narrowing of the arteries). Those women had much less testosterone than women without atherosclerosis, said the study, which was published in the European Journal of Endocrinology.
It's known that testosterone plays a number of important roles in both men and women, including maintaining bone density and muscle strength. The researchers at the Free University of Brussels said testosterone may also suppress chemical signals that cause inflammation in arterial walls, BBC News reported.
"The results from this small study identify an association between low testosterone levels in postmenopausal women and a build up of fatty material in the carotid artery - the artery that supplies blood to the head and neck," said a statement from the British Heart Foundation. "However it is unclear why this occurs. Further work is required to enhance our understanding of the mechanism behind this." – (HealthDayNews)