Vol 16, No 4 (2009)
Review Article
Published online: 2009-05-12

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Hormonal profiles behind the heart of a man

Narendra Nath Sarkar
Cardiol J 2009;16(4):300-306.


This study focuses on the role of sex steroids on the libido, sexual life, emotional and physiological heart of men of all ages. Sex steroids play a significant role throughout a man’s life, with a gradual decline in old age. The foetal testis secretes testosterone and dehydroepiandrosterone at about nine weeks gestation. At puberty, testosterone increases dramatically in boys. Changes in weight and height of boys across this period are associated with increasing testosterone concentration and sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG). Romantic thoughts, fantasy, and sexual pleasure-seeking behaviour in adolescents are associated with exposure to high androgens secretion. Thus, the libido and sexual life of a man is initiated and maintained by testosterone and SHBG.
Lower testosterone levels are associated with erectile dysfunction among other risk factors: diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, psychological stress and obesity. Men with proven coronary atherosclerosis have lower levels of testosterone and SHBG, which have negative correlation with very low-density lipoprotein, triglycerides, body mass index and body fat mass. These are some of the risk factors for cardiovascular diseases. Thus, in men, endogenous sex steroids impart beneficial effects on the heart. How exactly endogenous sex steroids act on the heart is not clear. Further study is needed to understand the interaction between endogenous sex steroids, higher centers in the brain and the heart of a man.

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