Breathless reporters rushed to tell the world that testosterone replacement therapy may increase the risk of heart attacks. Sounds scary, doesn’t it?
There’s new evidence that widely prescribed testosterone drugs — touted for men with flagging libidos and general listlessness — might increase the risk of heart attacks.
A study of more than 55,000 men found a doubling of heart attack risk among testosterone users older than 65, compared with men who didn’t take the drug.
This bogus “scientific journalism” offers us a great opportunity to get meta – to think about thinking.
A serious thinker does not take one piece of information – yet alone a single news story – and form conclusions. He doesn’t run away in fear because of a stupid headline written by someone with a Bachelor’s degree in English and no personal experience with TRT.
We should think critically and deeply about the subject matter, look at the full scientific landscape (i.e., the big picture), and form our conclusion by balancing trades offs and rationally assessing risks.
1. A thinker looks at all of the studies about testosterone replacement therapy, heart attacks, and other medical conditions.
NPR, the New York Times, and other bastions of masculinity wrote about testosterone replacement therapy and heart attacks as if that one single study existed in a bubble. But you or anyone else interested in the subject can hop on over to PubMed and actually get the full picture about testosterone and heart attacks.
Just type in “hypogondism” and pick your disease of choice. You’ll get lots of hits. Like this one:
Hypogonadism in aged hospitalized male patients: prevalence and clinical outcome.
Male hypogonadism is common in the elderly and has been associated with increased risk of mortality. Our objective has been to assess the prevalence of primary and central hypogonadism in elderly male patients admitted to the hospital because of acute illness. We also evaluated the relationships between gonadal dysfunction and in-hospital mortality.
Our results show that about half of patients admitted for acute illness have hypogonadism, mainly of non-hypergonadotropic type. Gonadal hypofunction is significantly related with in-hospital mortality. A low value of serum testosterone may be a predictor for mortality in elderly male patients.
In other words, if you have low testosterone you’ll die sooner and live a sickly life, but you might not have a heart attack. Sounds great, right?!
And check out this study:
Low testosterone is associated with depression. Impaired emotional state, quality of life and cognitive functions in young hypogonadal men.
A significant correlation was found between testosterone concentration and quality of life. Cognitive functioning scores were significantly related with FT4 concentration. It is concluded that young hypogonadal patients have impaired emotional state and quality of life, but the most severe impairment was found in cognitive functioning.
Low testosterone makes you depressed and stupid, but hey, you might not have a heart attack if you don’t go on TRT.
And here’s another study (we could do this all day) on the hazards of low testosterone:
The triad of erectile dysfunction, hypogonadism and the metabolic syndrome.
Men have a higher incidence of cardiovascular events than women of similar ages which has led to the belief that testosterone is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease in men. The latter hypothesis is no longer tenable. On the contrary, low testosterone levels are associated with (visceral) obesity, the metabolic syndrome, diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular disease and erectile dysfunction (ED). Testosterone therapy does not lead to an increased incidence of cardiovascular disease or events such as myocardial infarction, stroke or angina.
Buuuuuut someone with a B.A. who writes for NPR and the New York Times say I might die of a heart attack if I take TRT.
OK. Enjoy your long “life” of being sick, limp, and weak.
2. A thinker knows the difference between scientific conclusions and moral judgment.
Let’s assume for the sake of argument that TRT may cause heart attacks. That’s a false assumption, but we can make it and still ram that garbage study up the fourth point of contact of witless reporters and biased researchers. So let’s do that.
Let’s say testosterone replacement therapy does cause heart attacks in men. What then?
We know that low testosterone causes dementia, depression, poor cognition, erectile dysfunction, and overall lower quality of life. We also know that low testosterone is associated with a shorter life span. (Yes, you read that correctly. Low testosterone is associated with a shorter life span, which means that TRT is saving more people than it kills.)
So TRT might give you a heart attack or it might save you from dying of other illnesses. TRT might kill you while giving you an awesome life in the process.
Why should a scientific body deny me the right to dictate how I live? That’s a moral decision they are making, isn’t it?
If a scientist says, “Men should not be prescribed TRT because of increased heart attack risks,” then they have determined that men should suffer through a whole host of other conditions and have a lower quality of life.
Scientists are priests in white lab coats. They want to tell us how to live.
People are going to die whether they take TRT or not. Why shouldn’t be be allowed to decide how we choose to live?
Should I be denied a medication that enhances every day of my life so that I may live more crappy, low testosterone days?
Telling me how I must live my life is a moral judgment, not a scientific one. I do not take my moral advice from scientists, and neither do other thinkers.
3. A thinker puts TRT into perspective with other risky behaviors (the Glass House-Stones Response).
Why should TRT be harder to obtain than cupcakes? What really causes more harm? And did you know that medical mistakes are a leading cause of death. (See here.) Does this mean hospitals should be torn down?
A Brazilian Jiu Jitsu message board went crazy when a BJJ black belt, Nic Gregoriades, wrote an article about BJJ and performance enhancing drugs. The article wasn’t controversial to thoughtful people, as the premise was simple and obvious to those in the know: People are using performance enhancing drugs while training BJJ, and it doesn’t really seem to be harming them.
“How could he encourage such risky behavior,” haters exclaimed. (The author of the piece did not encourage drug use, but hate causes reading comprehension deficiencies.)
Here’s the picture of the guy who started the drama.
(Scientific fact: Waist circumference is the leading risk factor for heart disease in men.)
Why is an obese man worrying about the dangerous activities other men engage in? I have no hate for this man for overeating. It is his right to eat himself into diabetes and heart disease. His life, his choices, his freedom.
Why doesn’t he want other men to be free to do “dangerous” things like take anabolic steroids and undergo testosterone replacement therapy? That sounds awfully insufferable and hypocritical, doesn’t it?
Also, does anyone note the irony of people who train BJJ talking about the dangers of anabolic steroids and TRT?
Who here has trained BJJ? How many times were you injured each year? How man black belts do you know who do not have serious medical issues – especially bad backs?
Rener Grace isn’t even 30 and he’s getting treatment for his back. Joe Rogan has slipped disks. Rickson Gracie can’t roll due to his back injury. Marcello Garcia still rolls but is said to live in daily agony. Talk to a group of guys who have been in the BJJ game for 10 years, and you’re talking to near-cripples.
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is far more harmful to the body than using performance enhancing drugs. You will screw our body up eventually. That’s a fact. Where as TRT and taking anabolic steroids means you might have some problems.
Like TRT, BJJ is great. I have nothing but love for the sport. But it’s simply dishonest to ignore the risks associated with BJJ.
Do not throw stones when you live in a glass house! If you are fat or training BJJ or eating cupcakes, what business of yours is it when other people engage in behavior that you deem to be unhealthy? It simply isn’t your concern at all.
4. A thinker looks for the hidden agenda.
Why would someone with a B.A. in Journalism be qualified who write about TRT? I don’t write about things I haven’t personally experienced. That would be fraud, wouldn’t it?
Journalist are not qualified to write about TRT. All they are qualified to do is repeat nonsense from biased scientists. Let’s look at the agenda of the researchers responsible for that story.
Researchers want their study to get maximum attention, as that increases their standing within the scientific community, gets them raises, fancier offices, and more government grants. A researcher, just like other human beings, will exaggerate his claims to get more juice for his article. It’s just marketing, after all.
What is the agenda of the New York Times and NPR? Do the Times and NPR want you to be more masculine or more feminine?
The United States government funds research into testosterone replacement therapy. What is the agenda of the U.S. government? Does the same government that spies on its own people want us to be more empowered, vital, and aggressive? Or do they want us “fat, sick, and nearly dead“?
What is the agenda of the medical establishment? Last I checked, doctors didn’t work for free. Doctors and hospitals want money. More money is better than less money, is it not?
Who is more profitable – a person who lives a healthy and full life and drops dead of a heart attack, or a person who suffers in agony in a nursing home?
Look behind the curtain and what do you see? Do you see unbiased reporting? Or do you see agendas within agendas?
5. A thinker thinks for himself.
Do not take my word for anything. Go onto PubMed. Type in “hypogonadism.” Do the research. Read the studies. Think for yourselves.
Talk to people who have been on TRT. Ask about their quality of life. Look at men around you who have low T. Ask about their quality of life.
6. A thinker takes responsibility for his own life.
Whatever you do is your choice. Your life, your choice. That also means you should respect my right to make my own life choices.