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Testicle Size May Predict Heart Health

Update Date: Jul 31, 2013 04:39 PM EDT

Being ballsy might actually be a bad thing.

New research reveals that men with large testicles are significantly more at risk for heart disease. These men are also more likely to be hospitalized with heart problems and tend to be heavier, consume more alcohol and have higher blood pressure.

The new study, which included more than 2,000 Italian men, suggests that large testicles could be a sign of poor health and could predict heart disease risk.

Researchers at the University of Florence said the latest findings are surprising because previous studies linked larger testicles to a sign of good reproductive health.

"Although it is generally assumed that testis size can predict reproductive fitness, our results indicate that this objective parameter can provide insights also on overall health and [cardiovascular disease] risk," the researchers wrote in the July 11 issue of the Journal of Sexual Medicine.

"Further studies are needed for clarifying determinants and mechanisms of testis enlargement that could mediate the increased incidence of major adverse cardiovascular events," researchers wrote.

In the study, researchers recorded the testicle size of 2,809 men who attended sexual health clinics.  Researchers also tested the men's hormone levels before tracking their health for seven years.

Researchers found that men with bigger testicles were significantly more likely to develop heart disease.  They also found that men with larger testicles tended to have higher levels of the hormone, luteinizing hormone (LH), which is secreted by the pituitary gland and stimulates the production of testosterone.

Researchers believe that this hormone could negatively affect cardiovascular health.

Scientists noted that because the findings were based on men with sexual dysfunction, the results might not apply to all men.

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