Some studies have shown that testosterone therapy can lead to potentially dangerous testosterone therapy side effects. These testosterone therapy side effects include strokes and blood clots, and there have been cases of men who filed lawsuits against testosterone products manufacturers after suffering from these side effects.
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Testosterone therapy is often prescribed for men who experience low testosterone levels. There are therapies approved by the FDA for this condition. However, AndroGel and other similar hormone therapy drugs have become a more popular option since these products help restore youth, virility and develop muscle mass. These products are responsible for the higher prescription rate of testosterone drugs, which has gone up five fold since 2000.
Dr. Edming Sabanegh, urology department chairman at the Cleveland Clinic is worried about this trend, just like many other health professionals.
In an interview with NBC news, Sabanegh explains that a lot of symptoms associated with low testosterone levels, such as low energy levels, low libido and erectile problems are normal signs of aging.
Many recent studies have established a link between testosterone therapy and the risk of developing fatal blood clots or experiencing strokes. Patients have filed lawsuits against manufacturers for failing to properly warn the public regarding these dangerous testosterone therapy side effects.
What are blood clots?
Blood naturally coagulates and forms a clot to prevent excessive bleeding when an injury or a cut occurs. These clots usually dissolve within the human body. High testosterone levels means clots are more likely to form.
It is possible for blood clots to appear without an injury. Blood cells simply form a clot in a vein or an artery. These thick blood clots can restrain blood flow. This condition is known as deep-vein thrombosis, also known as DVT when it appears in a major vein. It is possible for these blood clots to move to the lungs, which results in pulmonary embolism. If a clot reaches the brain, this could cause a stroke. Blockage by blood clot can be fatal and should be regarded as a very dangerous condition.
Other testosterone therapy side effects can also lead to polycythemia, a disorder that affects the blood. This disorder is characterized by the production of high amounts of hemoglobin, red blood cells and hematocrit. This condition can cause high blood pressure as well as a thickening of the blood. Clots are more likely to form due to the thick blood circulating at a slower speed.
High red blood cell levels can result in clumping and in blood clots appearing. Furthermore, high testosterone levels can cause higher levels of thromboxane to be produced, a lipid that contributes to the constriction of blood vessels, creating a narrow pathway for the blood flow.
A study from the August 2013 edition of Clinical and Applied Thrombosis/Hemostasis claims that it is possible for blood clots to appear as shortly as a month after a patient starts taking hormone therapy drugs.
One of the authors of the study, Dr. Charles Glueck of the Jewish Hospital Cholesterol and Metabolism Center told the Cincinnati Business Courier that 1.2% of men who had to go to the hospital due to dangerous blood clots present in the deep veins of the legs or in the lungs had been taking testosterone drugs in the past three months.
Glueck says that some patients have a higher risk of developing blood clots due to inherited conditions. However, a lot of people are not aware that they are more likely to develop blood clots and are not tested for these genetic mutations before beginning hormonal treatments.
What are strokes and mini-strokes?
Androgen replacement drugs increase the risks of developing blood clots, which can result in a stroke if the blood clot moves to the brain. The American Stroke Association says that the stroke is the fourth leading cause of death among Americans and is also one of the most common causes of serious and long-term disability in adults.
A stroke happens when a blood vessel that brings oxygen and nutrients to the brain becomes blocked, for instance by a clot. These strokes are known as ischemic strokes. A rupture can also cause a stroke known as a hemorrhagic stroke. A stroke causes brain cells to die, which can result in impaired vision, speed, memory and motor skills and can also lead to a long-term disability depending on the area of the brain that is affected.
Mini-stroke is a term that refers to transient ischemic attacks (TIA), which are characterized by the partial blockage of a blood vessel. The blood clot dissolves on its own after a few minutes. The average length of a mini-stroke is only one minute and these strokes do not cause any permanent damages. However, mini-strokes should not be ignored since they are a warning sign that a patient is at risk for a more serious stroke since a third of people who experience mini-strokes suffer from a stroke within a year.