Men with high blood pressure have low blood levels of the male hormone, testosterone, and make love much less often than men with normal blood pressure, according to a study from Italy.

How can this be? The male hormone, testosterone, was thought to raise cholesterol, stiffen arteries, and increase risk for heart attacks. But this applied only to the methyl testosterone taken by athletes, not the testosterone produced by the body.

Having high cholesterol, pre-diabetes or high blood pressure causes hardening of the arteries, which decreases blood flow to the testicles to damage the testicles and lower testosterone. High blood pressure and high cholesterol lower testosterone, so men with low testosterone are at increased risk for heart attacks. That means that every impotent man should have blood tests for cholesterol and diabetes, the two leading causes of heart attacks as well as impotence. The tests your doctor should order include HBA1C, lipid panel, C-Reactive Protein (CRP), homocysteine, Lp(a), prolactin and testosterone. By the time a man has low levels of testosterone, he may already have significant arteriosclerosis.

More on Testosterone gel

Sexual activity and plasma testosterone levels in hypertensive males. American Journal of Hypertension, 2002, Vol 15, Iss 3, pp 217-221. R Fogari, A Zoppi, P Preti, A Rinaldi, G Marasi, A Vanasia, A Mugellini. Fogari R, Univ Pavia, Policlin San Matteo, IRCCS, Dept Internal Med & Therapeut, Piazza Golgi 2, I-27100 Pavia, ITALY

Checked 1/29/14