Archive for the ‘hormones’ Category

How Stress Can Affect Your Brain

Posted on:

When under a lot of stress How Stress can Affect your Health, you may be very forgetful and disorganized, but have you ever wondered if there are any long-term effects of stress on your brain? When under stress the amygdala, which is responsible for your survival instincts, is most active which means that the parts of your brain responsible for memory and higher order tasks are not as active. When under chronic stress, the parts of your brain responsible for your survival instincts becomes stronger, while other parts of your brain responsible for things like handling higher-order tasks becomes weaker. Essentially, chronic stress rewires your brain affecting your memory and ability to handle higher order tasks. There are many things you can try to reduce your stress.

The following is a list of things you could do to manage your stress:

Stress can effect your brain

  • Become more organized. Try creating to-do lists for your workload, so that you don’t procrastinate and become overwhelmed.
  • Create a routine for yourself. If the stress you experience is not predictable, try to focus on keeping control over the things that are predictable in your life
  • Change the way you view stress. A certain amount of stress can actually be useful for growth, so instead of striving to eliminate stress from your life altogether, aim to find healthier reactions to stress
  • Get enough sleep How to get better sleep. Stress can cause sleep deprivation, which actually makes stress worse. It is important to establish healthy sleeping habits.


How Stress can Affect your Health

Posted on:

Stress can be responsible for some health issues you may be having such as constant migraines, reduced productivity, and even insomnia. Many don’t understand the toll stress can take on their body, which is why it’s important you find ways to manage it. Stress is most commonly known to affect your behavior, feelings, and thoughts, but it can also affect your physical health. High levels of stress that are not managed for an extended period of time can increase blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. Some signs you may be under too much stress are headaches, fatigue, chest pains, weariness, anxiety, depression, mood swings, change in eating pattern, and drug/alcohol abuse. There are many techniques you can try out to see what works best for you. You can try meditation, exercise, being social, and/or practicing one of your hobbies. Many times when you think of destressing you think of just going home and watching tv, playing video games, or surfing the internet. These inactive activities may actually increase your stress in the long run, so try going for activities that require you are active. If you have tried the techniques mentioned and are still not feeling any relief, you may want to reach out to a professional for help.


There are hundreds (if not thousands!) of reasons why your healthcare provider might order blood tests for you. Abnormal hormone levels, vitamin deficiencies, diseases, and more can be diagnosed by examining different chemicals and molecules within the blood. Let’s take a look at some of the more commonly ordered blood tests.

Complete Blood Count (CBC)

This is the go-to test to analyze the three main types of cells within the blood: red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets.

Red blood cells contain a molecule called hemoglobin that carries oxygen from the lungs to the body’s tissues. A CBC shows the number of red blood cells, their size and shape, and the concentration of hemoglobin within each cell. Red blood cells can be low if a person has been losing blood or if they have anemia (low hemoglobin levels). If you are diagnosed with anemia, your doctor will then order more specific tests to determine if your anemia is the result of recent blood loss, low iron levels, or a vitamin B12 or folic acid deficiency.

The white blood cells are a key player in the body’s immune system, defending you against potentially harmful organisms. A CBC gives a total white cell count and the percentages of the different types of white cells, which can help your doctor determine what sort of infection your body is fighting (bacterial, parasitic, etc.). Additionally, leukemia, which is a cancer of bone marrow, can be diagnosed if abnormal white cells are present in the blood.

A blood platelet count in the normal range is necessary to ensure the blood clots as it should, preventing excessive blood loss from injuries or surgery. Learn more about the blood factors that help the blood clot properly. >>

test tube blood

Kidney Function Tests

The urea test (or blood urea nitrogen [BUN] test as it is sometimes known) and the creatinine test are the two most commonly order kidney function tests. These two substances are produced during the metabolic process in the body, and it is the kidneys’ job to filter them out of the blood and put them into urine to be excreted out of the body. Elevated levels of urea or creatinine in the blood suggest that the kidneys may not be working properly.

Other common kidney function tests include uric acid levels (raised levels can cause gout), electrolytes (the blood’s levels of potassium and sodium), and calcium and phosphate levels.

Liver Function Panel

The liver converts nutrients into energy for the body and breaks down dangerous toxins. A liver (hepatic) function panel is a blood test to check how well the liver is doing these vital jobs. Your doctor may order a liver function panel if you have symptoms of liver disease like abdominal pain, jaundice, dark urine, and fatigue. This test would also likely be ordered if you have recently been exposed to the hepatitis virus or if you are taking a medicine that could potentially cause liver damage.

The test measures the blood’s level of total protein, albumin, bilirubin, and liver enzymes. High or low levels could be indicative of liver damage or disease.

Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD) Blood Tests

A number of STDs (or STIs [sexually transmitted infections], as they are sometimes called) can be diagnosed by using blood tests.

  • Hepatitis: Hepatitis is not always transmitted sexually, so the antibody and antigen testing can be included in the STD tests as well as with Liver Function Tests.
  • Herpes:  Antibodies for this virus can be measured to assess a past or present herpes simplex infection.
  • Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV):  The screening test looks for the presence of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus antibody. It can take time for the body to produce HIV antibodies (up to 6 months after infection), so they may not be detectable early on in an infection. This is why a repeat test may be needed some time after potential exposure.
  • Syphilis: Syphilis has an incubation period of between 9 days and 3 months (the average is 21 days). This test looks for antibodies, which are usually at detectable levels by 6 weeks post-infection. If positive, your doctor will likely recommend a repeat or different test for confirmation.

Thyroid Function Tests

The thyroid gland regulates metabolism in the body. Your doctor may order a thyroid panel if you have symptoms of low thyroid hormone production (hypothyroidism) or high thyroid hormone levels (hyperthyroidism). Sometimes just the TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) test will be ordered as it can often rule out a thyroid problem. Learn more about how thyroid problems can affect people as they age. >>

Two websites to take advantage of our discount online blood testing:

Learn more about these and other value-priced blood tests available through HealthOne by using our convenient search feature. >>

Learn more about these and other value-priced blood tests available through InquireLabs by using our convenient search feature. >>



Male hypogonadism is a condition in which the testes are not producing enough testosterone. You have seen the commercials during sports broadcasts: “Do you suffer from ‘low-T’?” If you are male, maybe you have even wondered if your testosterone levels are “normal.” Well, with age and chronic illness, testosterone levels often do decline. Add to the puzzle that male hypogonadism symptoms are similar to those of many common chronic conditions in older men, and it can be difficult to diagnose the root cause of a man’s low testosterone level.

Testosterone replacement therapy for hypogonadism in older men is a hotly debated topic among physicians, especially since there is little research on potential long-term risks. So in an older man with low testosterone, a definitive diagnosis of hypogonadism must first be established. Here are some of the things your doctor will ask you and consider in their differential:

  • Are you experiencing symptoms of hypogonadism such as sexual dysfunction, low energy, depression, or irritability? If you are not experiencing hypogonadal symptoms, testosterone replacement is not the appropriate course of treatment.
  • Many physicians will want to confirm lab results showing a low testosterone level with a second set of labwork taken in the morning after fasting.
  • It is common for testosterone levels to dip during acute illnesses and then return to the normal range in the weeks or months after recovery. If you were recently very ill, some healthcare providers will want to repeat testosterone level tests in three months to see if your levels are still low.
  • There are several common conditions that alter sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) in older men. Doctors will often want to obtain a SHBG measurement and use those results to determine free testosterone levels. If your free testosterone is in the normal range, it definitively indicates that you donot have hypogonadism, thus testosterone therapy would not be warranted.
  • Erectile dysfunction (ED) without other sexual symptoms is not indicative of hypogonadism. If your only symptom is ED, your doctor may prescribe a PDE5 inhibitor (such as Viagra or Cialis) but probably will not test your testosterone level.

If your doctor confirms through a physical exam and bloodwork that you do have hypogonadism, they may suggest testosterone replacement, but it is important to consider the unknown cardiovascular risks of testosterone therapy, especially for older patients. And even if diagnosed with hypogonadism, some patients are not appropriate candidates for testosterone replacement including people with:

  • Prostate cancer or certain other prostate-related conditions
  • Breast cancer (a disease which can occur in males)
  • Polycythemia, an abnormally high concentration of hemoglobin in the blood
  • Untreated obstructive sleep apnea
  • Severe lower urinary symptoms
  • Congestive heart failure that has not been controlled

If your doctor does prescribe testosterone therapy, several options are available:

  • Topical gel–Used daily to produce consistent testosterone levels. It is important that women and children not be exposed to topical testosterone gels.
  • Transdermal patch–Provides steady testosterone levels. Skin irritation at the patch site can be a problem for some patients.
  • Intramuscular testosterone–The most cost-effective treatment option, an injection is given every two weeks. Some patients who have trouble with fluctuating testosterone levels between injections will need weekly injections of a lower dose.

All men using testosterone replacement therapy should be closely monitored by their healthcare provider, and testosterone levels should be retested regularly. For those using a gel or patch, testosterone should be measured 3 to 12 hours after application. For men using intramuscular testosterone, levels should be checked midway between injections.

After 4 to 6 months of prescription drug therapy, your doctor should check to see whether your low testosterone symptoms have improved. If they have not, it can be assumed that testosterone replacement is not working for you, and you should discontinue use.

Learn more about the low-cost men’s health-related lab tests, including testosterone tests, offered by Health One Labs >>

Other Low cost hormone tests, including testosterone, offered by


Thyroid – What do all the components do?

Posted on:

TSH and T4 levels alone are unreliable markers of tissue thyroid levels. Many individuals who report symptoms associated with hypothyroidism have normal TSH and T4 levels. These hormones are even less dependable indicators in the elderly and in cases of illness, inflammation, chronic emotional or physical stress, depression, or dieting. Conducting a comprehensive set of thyroid tests improves accuracy in determining which patients will respond favorably to thyroid supplementation

Treatment with T4 preparations alone is frequently ineffective for conditions associated with reduction in T4 to T3 conversion, or in the T4 uptake, or when T4 to reverse T3 (RT3) conversion is increased. This is largely because individuals with conditions impacting health, such as those listed above, have reduced T4 to T3 conversion, and their T4 is converted preferentially to RT3, which functions as a competitive inhibitor of T3, blocking T3 at its receptor. It reduces metabolism, suppresses T4 to T3 conversion, and blocks T4 and T3 uptake into the cell.

Despite the unreliability of TSH to indicate global tissue thyroid effect, even slightly elevated TSH (higher than 2) reveals decreased intra-pituitary T3. Exceptions exist, such as tumors secreting TSH. Even patients intensively tested for thyroid disease can have TSH lower than the 2 to 2.5 range. Because pituitary T3 is normally significantly higher than in the remainder of the body, this decrease in pituitary T3 indicates underactive thyroid. Therefore, treatment is probably advisable for individuals with TSH above 2.

In a group of people with the same TSH level, a large percentage may actually have reduced thyroid activity. This is because many people secrete TSH that is less bioactive. TSH assays used in clinical practice do not detect this reduction, thereby limiting the usefulness of TSH levels to evaluate thyroid status.

Thyroid supplementation should be considered for symptomatic patients who have normal TSH, but have higher than average RT3 and lower than average free T3.

To most accurately evaluate the status of a patient’s overall thyroid function, assess serum levels of TSH; free T3; reverse T3; ratios of free T3 and RT3; free T4; anti-TPO antibody; antithyroglobulin antibody; and SHBG, perform clinical assessment, and measure basal metabolic rate and reflex speed.

Consider ordering the Thyroid Complete package from tests to determine thyroid function:

  • TSH, T3 Uptake, T3, Free T3, Thyroxine (T4), Free Thyroxine Index and Free T4.
  • 1) antithyroglobulin antibody and 2) thyroid peroxidase (TPO) antibodies.
  • Reverse T3 (RT3 or REVT3), a biologically inactive form of T3.


Women and Testosterone

Posted on:

The medical journal Menopause shows that Androgel, a gel containing the male hormone, testosterone, improves well-being, mood, and sexual function in premenopausal women with low libido and low testosterone.

Why Do Women have Testosterone?  Isn’t it a Male Hormone? 

All healthy women produce testosterone.  As a woman ages, testosterone levels can lower and cause the following:

  • depression
  • loss of muscle strength
  • lack of sexual desire.

If you have the above symptoms, you may be diagnosed with the Female Androgen Insufficiency syndrome.   Female Androgen Insufficiency syndrome is most common for menopausal women or those that had early menopause due to having their ovaries removed.  The commonly-prescribed treatment of estrogen replacement to postmenopausal women and those who have had their ovaries removed often causes and worsens this syndrome.

Another important hormone that can produce Female Androgen Deficiency is DHEA-S.  Testing for hormone levels is easy – there are inexpensive lab tests for DHEA-S, testosterone and other important hormones that regulate the body.  If you have any of the symptoms such as muscle weakness, osteoporosis, pain during intercourse or lack of libido, look at your testosterone and DHEA-S hormone levels and have your physician determine the best protocol.

Note:  If your doctor prescribes male hormones, you should not take them longer than a few months and your doctor should discuss all the potential side effects with you.


Diet and Prostate Cancer

Posted on:

Source: Well Source Newsletter

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men. In the United States, an estimated 241,740 new cases of prostate cancer will be diagnosed in 2013. And about 28,170 men will die of this disease. And even though the five-year survival rate for prostate cancer is nearly 99 percent when found and treated early, research suggests that a healthy diet may help prevent this cancer from developing.

prostate cancer ribbon resized 600
Common risk factors for prostate cancer include: being older (over age 65), having a family history of prostate cancer, being African American, and being obese. But newer research suggests that a poor diet may also add to that list. And once a man has prostate cancer, diet may affect how fast the cancer grows and if it comes back after a man has been treated.

Food to limit
Men who eat a lot of red meat or high-fat dairy products have a slightly higher chance of getting prostate cancer, according to the American Cancer Society. Men at risk for prostate cancer also tend to eat fewer fruits and vegetables. But doctors are not sure which of these factors is responsible for raising the risk.

Some studies have linked eating a lot of animal fat to a higher risk of prostate cancer. And researchers believe it might be the way that the animal fat is cooked that makes a difference. As an example, one study found that eating greater amounts of meats, especially grilled meat, was linked to an increased risk of aggressive prostate cancer. Another study suggests that men who eat deep-fried foods such as French fries, fried chicken, and doughnuts more than once a week had a greater risk of developing prostate cancer compared with men who ate these types of food less than once a week.

But it may not just be cooked animal fats to avoid. The National Cancer Institute says that “a diet high in dairy foods and calcium may cause a small increase in the risk of prostate cancer.”

Food to consume
Several studies have suggested that diets high in certain vegetables (including tomatoes, cruciferous vegetables, soy, beans, and other legumes) or fish may be linked with a lower risk of prostate cancer, especially more advanced cancers.

Eating plenty of fresh vegetables and fruits is important for disease prevention in general. These types of food contain a variety of phytochemicals that promote health. One of those protective nutrients is lycopene. It is found in red vegetables and fruit. Research suggests that men who eat high amounts of lycopene from tomato products have a lower risk of prostate cancer compared to men who eat less. Other foods shown to help prevent prostate cancer include fish rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, pomegranate and green tea.

Prostate cancer is treatable. But it is also highly preventable. To prevent prostate cancer, men should eat a balanced and healthy diet with plenty of vegetables and fruits, whole grains, nuts and legumes. Low-fat dairy products, fish, and poultry may also be consumed in moderation.

Encourage healthy lifestyle choices
In addition to eating a healthy diet, there are many other things men can do to reduce the risk of developing prostate cancer. Exercising, avoiding tobacco, limiting alcohol, reducing stress, and maintaining a healthy weight can help. Research shows that being a healthy weight helps prevent prostate cancer. Being obese increases the risk for developing prostate cancer, and recurrence for those who have already had it.

Review risk factors for prostate cancer
Starting at age 50, men should talk to a doctor about their health, risk factors for prostate cancer, and appropriate tests for cancer screening, such as the PSA blood test. Men with an increased risk for prostate cancer (African Americans, or men who have a father or brother who had prostate cancer before age 65) should talk to their doctor starting at age 45 to take preventive measures and consider testing for prostate cancer.

Take Control of Your Health

Medical Disclaimer: The information included on this site is for informational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult his or her health care provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan. The writer is not a physician or other health provider.


If you want to take control of your health, save money and get answers quickly, know that you can order your own blood laboratory test via the service on the internet.  Discount blood tests are available to consumers nationwide.


blood tests tube image resized 600

Perhaps you have some symptoms or maybe you just want to test for asymptomatic diseases.  Typcially, you would make an appointment with your doctor, wait in the waiting room, then the examining room, get a perscription for some blood tests and finally going to the patient service center to have your blood drawn.  Next you would wait for the physician’s office to call you with the results, then set up another appointment to discuss them with your doctor.  This process could take days or weeks!

Many people are cutting out the medical middlepersons and ordering their own lab work.  Go to, choose the tests you would like and utilize the secure, HIPPA compliant website and shopping cart.  The process takes less than 5 minutes to order and within a small amount of time you’ll receive the paperwork to take to the lab and have your blood drawn.  Most test results are ready the next day, so you can view your patient-friendly results and schedule a physician’s appointment to discuss them with your doctor; avoiding two appointments, time and money.  Tests prices are much lower since Health One is passing on their volumn discount to their customer.  At this time, insurance is not accepted but since most of the popular tests are only $29-$89, prices are typically lower than what an insured would pay for their co-pay.

Most Popular Tests:

  1. Comprehensive Health Profile – $59 – includes lipid panel, CBC, liver function, kidney function, glucose and more
  2. Men’s Health Value Package – $89 – includes lipids, CBC, liver function, kidney function, glucose, PSA, Urinalysis and more
  3. Women’s Health Value Package – $89 – includes lipids, CBC, liver function, kidney function, glucose, Thyroid panel, Urinalysis and more


Take Control of Your Health

Medical Disclaimer: The information included on this site is for informational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult his or her health care provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan. The writer is not a physician or other health provider.


The blood test for Sex Hormone Binding Globulin (SHBG) is usually ordered when total testosterone results are not consistent with a patient’s symptoms: decreased sex drive, infertility, erectile dysfunction for males and abnormal hairiness in females.   Typically, This test is ordered for males because it is suspected that there is a testosterone deficiency and has been validated by a testosterone total serum test or a testosterone total & free blood test.

hormone blood tests

Should I Order a Sex Hormone Binding Globulin Test?

Since the sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG) is commonly used to determine a hormone imbalance – it is commonly ordered with other hormone tests such as testosterone, estradiol, prolactin and lutenizing hormone to evaluate a patient’s hormone balance.  SHBG and testosterone testing may be useful in helping to detect and evaluate excess testosterone production and/or decreased SHBG concentrations so this test is helpful if a hormone imbalance is suspected.

The SHBG results may suggest the following if you have increased levels of the hormone:

  1. liver disease
  2. hyperthyroidism
  3. eating disorders
  4. Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) including oral contraceptives
  5. Decreased sex hormone production

The SHBG results may suggest the following if you have decreased levels of the hormone:

  1. Obesity
  2. Polycyctic ovarian syndrome
  3. Hypothyroidism
  4. Hirsutism
  5. Acne
  6. Cushing disease

The Scientific Explanation

Levels of SHBG are under the positive control of estrogens and thyroid hormones, and are suppressed by androgens. These influences dynamically control the liver synthesis of this carrier protein. Decreased levels of SHBG are frequently seen in hirsutism, virilization, obese postmenopausal women, and in women with diffuse hair loss. Increased levels may be present in cases of hyperthyroidism, testicular feminization, cirrhosis, male hypogonadism, pregnancy, women using oral contraceptives, and prepubertal children.

Elevated SHBG levels can be seen in elderly men, and are often found in patients with hyperthyroidism and cirrhosis of the liver. SHBG levels also increase when oral contraceptives or antiepileptic drugs are taken. Pregnant women have markedly higher SHBG serum concentrations due to their increased estrogen production. Decreased SHBG concentrations are often seen with hypothyroidism, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), obesity, hirsutism, elevated androgen levels, alopecia, and acromegaly.

Take Control of Your Health

Medical Disclaimer: The information included on this site is for informational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult his or her health care provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan. The writer is not a physician or other health provider.


The most common reason men seek testosterone therapy is waning sexual desire or performance.  However, when tested, more than 25% of the men had normal testosterone levels.  Additionally, men with subnormal levels did not have libido or performance issues, so physicians are questioning the purpose of testosterone replacement therapy.  Some physicians, will suggest a trial of topical testosterone therapy for up to a year to see if sexual function or other symptoms improve.

Physicians have used synthetic testosterone, for decades, to treat men whose hormone level is unambiguously low. Low testosterone levels or Hypogonadism, can be caused when the testes do not manufacture enough testosterone.  It can also occur when the pituitary gland doesn’t signal the testes to generate the testosterone the body needs.  There is a natural decline in testosterone as men age, so there is an increased usage in taking testosterone to reverse the age-related decline.

testosterone test resized 600

Monitor your Testosterone Levels

The symptoms of testosterone deficiency are very general and can be attributed to several other health issues.  Symptoms include fatigue, depressed mood, diminished muscle mass, etc., so measuring testosterone levels is beneficial.  In men over 65, the goal should be 300–450 ng/dL, the middle of the normal range for that age.

Monitoring for testosterone-dependent diseases is warranted: benign prostate enlargement and prostate cancer are the main concerns, but doctors should also check for worsening of sleep apnea, breast tenderness, and elevated red blood cell counts.

NIH Research

The National Institute of Health is continuously studying the effects of testosterone therapy in men and how it affects their overall health and wellness.  A recent study, which was also published in the New England Journal of Medicine, included a clinical trial of testosterone treatment in older men.  The findings were that the treated men had a higher rate of adverse cardiovascular events, such as heart attacks and elevated blood pressure.  The group of older men receiving testosterone gel compared to those receiving placebo had an increase of adverse events and the trial was stopped.

The researchers published their findings in the New England Journal of Medicine and noted that the high hazardous outcome could have been because the study participants had high rates of high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity and high cholesterol  However, this may be a realistic population for those currently receiving hormone therapy.

Testosterone Therapy – Ask Your Physician

Testosterone replacement therapy has been used for years and is recommended to be done under the direction of a physician. Physicians and patients, especially older men, should consider the adverse effects along with other information on the risks and benefits of testosterone therapy.  Each person is different and responds differently, so it is best to be under the guide of a physician.  Test your testosterone levels to be sure you need the therapy and also to see if the therapy is working.

Blood Tests:

Testosterone, Total $39

Testosterone, Total & Free $59

Men’s Hormone Package : Testosterone, Total & Free, Estradiol, PSA $69

Take Control of Your Health

Medical Disclaimer: The information included on this site is for informational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult his or her health care provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan. The writer is not a physician or other health provider.