As men get older they are more likely to suffer from andropausal syndrome (AS), also called "menopause", androgen deficiency in the aging male (ADAM), or late-onset hypogonadism.
Men with AS have decreased levels of anabolic hormones, including testosterone, and it has been suggested that these hormone deficiencies are what cause the clinical symptoms.
The symptoms of AS according to the Aging Male Symptom Rating Scale can be divided into three categories: sexual (erectile dysfunction, problems with libido, decrease in beard growth, feelings of 'having passed the zenith of life'), psychological (feeling discouraged, depressed, irritable, anxious, nervous), and somato-vegetative (joint and muscle complaints, sweating, need for more sleep, sleep disturbances, weakness, exhaustion).
Heart failure increases with age. Deficiencies of anabolic hormones are common in men with systolic heart failure, leading to reduced exercise capacity, depression and poor prognosis.
But until now the impact of heart failure on the prevalence of AS and the severity of andropausal symptoms has not been studied.
Professor Ewa A. Jankowska (Wroclaw, Poland) said: "AS leads to poor quality of life. We wanted to discover whether heart failure increases AS and whether additional androgen therapies could improve quality of life in heart failure patients."
The researchers found that AS affected almost one-third of men with heart failure, regardless of their age group.
In men aged 40-59 years, heart failure led to a four-fold increase in the prevalence of AS (28 percent vs. 7 percent, p less than 0.001) and an increase in the severity of sexual and somato-vegetative andropausal symptoms (p less than 0.001).
Men aged 60-80 years with and without heart failure had a similar prevalence of AS and severity of andropausal symptoms.
Among men with systolic heart failure, the prevalence of AS was similar in both age groups (40-59 and 60-80 years).
The authors concluded that heart failure accelerates the natural process of aging and favours early onset of AS.