SAN FRANCISCO, Dec. 1 (Xinhua) -- Males who have varicoceles -- symptomized by enlarged veins in the scrotum -- run higher risks of diseases such as diabetes and heart ailments, researchers at U.S. Stanford University have found.
A study published in the journal Andrology on Friday said compared with men without varicoceles, those with the condition had a significantly higher possibility of heart diseases, diabetes and hyperlipidemia -- high concentrations of fat in the blood.
"Varicoceles are associated with low testosterone, and low testosterone in turn is associated with metabolic risks and heart disease," Nancy Wang, lead author of the study and Stanford University School of Medicine's urology resident, said.
Testosterone is the primary sex hormone in males and plays a key role in male reproductive issues.
Researchers sifted through data from thousands of medical insurance records to determine whether some specific medical conditions in males, previously linked to infertility, put them at a higher risk of other health problems.
They selected more than 4,400 men of reproductive age diagnosed with varicoceles between 2001 and 2009 to study the evolution of their health problems.
Only men with varicoceles symptoms, especially fertility problems and scrotal pain, demonstrated increased risks of developing these diseases.
The United States has witnessed increased rates of cardiac, metabolic and vascular disease over the last few decades.