Elderly with low levels of naturally occurring steroid hormones were at higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease, found a new study. The researchers studied dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) steroid, which is secreted by the adrenal gland and circulates in blood in the sulfated form known as DHEA-S.
DHEA-S is transformed into estrogen and testosterone hormones in other tissues. Investigators from the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, conducted a study by using an advanced lab technique to separate, make out and calculate levels of DHEA-S in the blood of more than twenty-four hundred patients aged between seventy and eighty-one.
All study participants were part of the Osteoporotic Fractures in Men Sweden study, which was a long-term project designed to evaluate risk factors for a number of diseases. During the follow-up of five years, investigators used nationwide medical registries to document nearly five hundred cases of cardiovascular disease among all study participants.
Through this large large-scale study, investigators found that elderly with the reduced DHEA-S blood levels were significantly more prone to develop cardiovascular disease than those with higher concentrations of DHEA-S blood levels within follow-up of five years. Lead author Prof Åsa Tivesten, stated their study exhibits that low levels of DHEA-S is a marker for poor overall health.
She added more study is required to understand the underlying mechanism and to assess the potential benefits of hormone replacement. They cannot say that DHEA-S is protective because they have only studied an association. A potential practical implication is that established cardiovascular risk factors perhaps should be evaluated and treated more aggressively in patients with lower DHEA-S levels.
The study findings will be presented at The Endocrine Society’s 94th Annual Meeting in Houston.