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Higher testosterone levels can give women diabetes and men prostate cancer

It is well known that men have more heart problems than women. One reason for this could be high levels of testosterone. @Shutterstock

Testosterone is the male sex hormone that plays an important role in maintaining balance in the body. But too much of it can be harmful.

According to researchers, higher testosterone levels increases the risk of metabolic diseases like type 2 diabetes in women. But it reduces the risk in men.

According to a new study at University of Exeter in UK and University of Cambridge, if you are a woman and genetically predisposed to higher testosterone levels, it may increase your risk of metabolic diseases like type 2 diabetes in women. In fact, researchers say that genetically higher testosterone increases the risks of type 2 diabetes by 37 per cent and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) by 51 per cent in women. They add that higher testosterone levels may make you more prone to breast and endometrial cancers too. In men, the risk of metabolic diseases is not there. But it may make them prone to prostate cancer. However, they conceded that further studies are needed to know why this is so. The journal Nature Medicine published this study.

From this study, it is clear that high levels of this hormone may be bad for health. But how exactly does it affect you? Let us look a few conditions that may arise because of high testosterone levels.

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It may increase your risk of heart disease

Men are more prone to heart problems than women. One reason for this could be high levels of testosterone. Harvard Medical School, Boston, researchers say that this hormone may increase men's risk of cardiovascular disease and estrogen may protect women against it. They also say that low levels of estrogen led to higher fasting blood glucose (sugar) levels, worsening insulin resistance. This leads to and more fat in the muscles, markers for developing diabetes, which is itself a risk factor for heart disease.

It can affect moon and memory

A Yale School of Medicine study shows for the first time that a high level of testosterone, such as that caused by the use of steroids to increase muscle mass or for replacement therapy, can lead to a catastrophic loss of brain cells. This, say researchers, is because high levels of testosterone triggered programmed cell death in nerve cells.

It can increase prostate cancer risk

Men with higher levels of 'free' testosterone and a growth hormone in their blood are more likely to get prostate cancer, according to a research at the Department of Population Health, University of Oxford, UK. Researchers say that because the blood tests were taken some years before the appearance of prostate cancer, it is likely that the hormone levels are leading to the increase in risk of prostate cancer, as opposed to the cancers leading to higher levels of the hormones. Thanks to the large size of the study, the researchers were also able to take account of other factors that can influence cancer risk, including body size, socioeconomic status and diabetes.

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