Joshua Wapner may look like the picture of health, but his past tells a different story.
"At 30, my father had his first heart attack. At 35, he had a triple bypass, second heart attack, and triple-bypass surgery," said Wapner, 36. "He died at age 45, actually on my 17th birthday."
Wapner arrived at his doctor's office with one of the worst family histories his physician had ever seen.
"On my father's side, there's eight relatives over the past 40 years who all died of heart attacks at young ages, no one going above the age of 53," he said.
Wapner underwent a stress test and blood work, which showed he had high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and low testosterone. The combination made him a good candidate for hormone replacement therapy, which studies say can be beneficial for the right patients.
"If you look at what testosterone does, it's not only for libido. It's also for basic metabolic processes," said Dr. Adam Splaver. "So if you optimize their metabolism, you can optimize their cardiac function."
Studies on patients with advanced congestive heart failure as well as those with chronic stable angina found that optimizing testosterone led to an improvement in symptoms, functional capacity, and quality of life.
"I wish that 20 years ago that my father would have been able to do the same thing," said Wapner. "Definitely wanna be healthy. I wanna feel good. I wanna get the most out of life."
Hormone replacement therapy can have adverse side effects. Patients considering it should undergo the necessary tests before beginning.