In November 2013, a report was released indicating that a number of men who took testosterone products ultimately suffered heart attacks and strokes. The study, conducted in Denver at the VA Eastern Colorado Health Care System, found that men in their early 60’s faced an increased risk of heart attack, stroke and death when taking testosterone products. While the risks for younger men are uncertain, men above age 60 with a history of receiving testosterone treatment are becoming increasingly concerned about the use of this medication.
As men get older, it’s common for natural levels of testosterone to decline, just as estrogen declines in women. Typically, men experience a range of symptoms including low sex drive, depression and lack of motivation beginning as early as age 30, although symptoms may not appear until much later in life.
To combat the symptoms of low testosterone, physicians often prescribe testosterone injections, patches or pills. By supplementing natural levels of testosterone with medication, many men experience improved mood, a healthier sex drive and increased energy. While other testosterone treatments are available, the rates at which testosterone products are prescribed have increased significantly in recent years.
Risk of Heart Attack and Stroke
The 2013 study revealed that testosterone products may increase the risk of heart attack and stroke by nearly 30%, specifically for men in their golden years. Of the more than 8,500 individuals tested, 80% were found to have heart disease before starting testosterone therapy. The study found that these same men, after beginning testosterone treatment, were at a significantly higher risk of heart attack and stroke.
Testosterone Treatment and Medical Malpractice
For individuals and families affected by testosterone-related heart attack and stroke, there are legal options to consider. As with all medical treatments, failing to properly assess a patient before making a treatment recommendation can be considered medical malpractice. By law, physicians are required to evaluate a patient’s age, medical history and lifestyle before recommending any treatment.
Risk Factors for Heart Attacks
In addition to the cardiovascular risks associated with testosterone treatment, there are other important risk factors to review. According to the Mayo Clinic, men over age 45 and women over 55 are at an increased risk for heart attack. Pre-existing medical conditions, such as high blood pressure, obesity and high cholesterol, can also contribute. Lifestyle habits, such as smoking and lack of exercise, can dramatically increase the risk of heart attack and stroke.
What Can I Do?
When combined with existing risk factors, testosterone products can increase the risk of heart attack, stroke and death in men. If you were prescribed testosterone products without first receiving a proper examination, you may want to speak with an experienced legal professional to determine if you have a case. Similarly, if a loved one suffered fatal injury as a result of medical malpractice, discussing the situation with a lawyer can help provide clarity and guidance as to your next steps.
If you or someone you love has suffered a heart attack or stroke after using testosterone products, contact Ohio Injury Law today to learn how we can help.