Serum Total Testosterone and Premature Mortality Among Men in the USA

Richard J. Fantus, Cecilia Chang, Elizabeth A. Platz, Nelson E. Bennett, Brian T. Helfand, Robert E. Brannigan, Joshua A. Halpern*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalLetterpeer-review

3 Scopus citations


The relationship between testosterone and premature mortality has caused recent controversy. While previous studies have demonstrated mixed results, this is partly because of variable patient populations, different testosterone thresholds, and the use of antiquated techniques to measure serum testosterone. Using the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey we analyzed a cohort representative of men in the USA to explore the relationship between serum testosterone and premature mortality using contemporary guidelines and testosterone measurements. We found that men with low testosterone (<300 ng/dl) were at higher risk (odds ratio 2.07, 95% confidence interval 1.30–3.32; p < 0.01) of premature death compared to men with normal testosterone. Furthermore, men with low testosterone were also more likely to have treatable comorbid conditions that were independently predictive of premature mortality. Both testosterone and these comorbid conditions are also modulated by lifestyle modifications, rendering this an important therapeutic approach in men with either or both conditions. Patient summary: We explored the relationship between testosterone levels and premature death in a large US population. We found that low testosterone is associated with both premature death and related disease processes such as obesity, both of which can be initially treated with diet and exercise.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)89-92
Number of pages4
JournalEuropean Urology Open Science
StatePublished - Jul 2021


  • Hypogonadism
  • Low testosterone
  • National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey
  • Premature mortality
  • Testosterone

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Urology


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