As men age, levels of the hormone, testosterone, decline. Older men also tend to have less muscle mass and an increased risk for falls. So, researchers at Oregon Health & Science University, wanted to find out if there was any relationship between lower levels of testosterone, decreased muscle mass and risk for falls. The investigators measured serum (blood) levels of testosterone and muscle mass of 2,587 men and followed the group for about four years.
Participants were asked to keep a log of how often they fell. The researchers found 56 percent of men reported at least one fall. Men with the lowest levels of testosterone had a 40 percent higher risk for falls than those with the highest levels of testosterone. The higher risk for falls remained even when researchers eliminated muscle strength as a possible factor. More importantly, the lower testosterone/increased fall risk appears to be strongest for the younger men (65 to 70 years). After 70, the association between testosterone levels and falls appears to be less apparent.
Epidemiologist, Lynn Marshall, Sc.D., says some men ask about the need for testosterone replacement as they age. The study doesn't provide enough evidence to support the use or make recommendation for or against testosterone for older men. The next phase of study is to find out what role testosterone may play in aging risks and who may best benefit from replacement therapy.