Archive for the ‘Men’s Health’ Category

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. >>

 


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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 www.InquireLabs.com


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It is rather amazing that a gland as small as the thyroid (which is located in your neck and is shaped like a butterfly) can have such an enormous impact on your health and overall well-being. Throughout life, this “master gland” is constantly producing hormones that influence metabolism, which in turn impacts everything from your heartbeat to your vision to the regularity of your bowels.

Thyroid conditions affect more than 12 percent of the U.S. population; that’s over 20 million Americans. But up to 60 percent of those people do not realize they are suffering from thyroid problems. That’s because the symptoms of both hyperthyroidism (thyroid hormone levels that are too high) and hypothyroidism (when levels are too low) are easily confused with other conditions ranging from depression to stress to simply overeating.

As people age, our bodies do experience normal age-related changes, and it’s easy to discount problems by saying, “I’m just getting older” or “That’s normal for my age,” but are you actually suffering from symptoms that could be the result of hypothyroidism, or an under-active thyroid? Hypothyroidism is not an issue isolated to younger adults! Have you considered that symptoms like fatigue, depression, weight gain, constipation, and dry skin could actually be caused by low thyroid levels in your body?

While these symptoms could be easily attributed to other medical problems, in older people, signs of hypothyroidism can be even more confusing. In people over 60, any of the following health issues–alone or in combination–could be the result of hypothyroidism, or low thyroid hormone levels:

  • Unexplained high cholesterol–In older adults, high cholesterol is occasionally the only sign of an under-active thyroid. Even if this is the only symptom, a high cholesterol level warrants a thyroid evaluation.
  • Heart failure–Some of the effects of low thyroid hormone levels– including reduced blood volume, weaker heartbeat, and/or a slower heart rate– may contribute to heart failure, a condition in which the heart doesn’t pump blood effectively to the muscles and organs of the body. Symptoms of heart failure can include breathlessness, swelling in the ankles, weakness, and fatigue.
  • Changes in bowel movements–Hypothyroidism can cause constipation because of decreased movement of stool through the bowels. Less often, an older person will have frequent bouts of diarrhea, which is more often a symptom of an overactive thyroid. Persistent or severe diarrhea in an older person merits a call to the doctor and a thyroid blood panel.
  • Joint or muscle pain–Vague joint pain is a classic symptom of hypothyroidism. In fact, it sometimes is the only symptom of hypothyroidism in older patients, although many experience generalized muscle aches, particularly in large muscle groups.
  • Mental health concerns–In people of all age groups, depression is a common clue of an underactive thyroid. The difference is that in older people, it is sometimes the only symptom. Older people may also develop other psychiatric symptoms such as delusions or hallucinations.
  • Dementia–Extensive memory loss– often, but not always, accompanied by depression or some kind of psychosis–can also occur as the singular symptom of an under-active thyroid. If you or a loved one is being evaluated for dementia, be sure that thyroid tests are performed.
  • Problems with balance–Abnormalities in the cerebellum (the lobe at the back of the brain) that occur with an under-active thyroid can lead to gait disorders in older people.

If you or someone you love is experiencing any of these symptoms, it is critical that you have your thyroid levels tested. Treatment of low thyroid is simple once an accurate diagnosis is made–a small pill that is taken each morning to supplement the hormone being naturally produced by your body. Talk with your doctor today to determine if you might have an under-active thyroid, and then learn more about our low-cost thyroid blood panels at www.HealthOnelabs.com or www.InquireLabs.com.


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PSA Test Guidelines

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In 2011, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommended against using PSA testing as a means to screen men for prostate cancer.  In response, the American Urology Association (AUA) provided their own recommendations and guidelines and they are delineate below for your review.

PSA testing

What is Prostate-Specific Antigen?

The Prostate-Specific Antigetn (PSA) is produced by the prostate.  A simple blood test measures the amount of PSA and high levels may suggest the presence of prostate cancer.

Is the PSA Test Effective?

If you are a male and have an average risk of prostate cancer, you should get a PSA blood test.  It is recommended that you get tested in the following schedule according to the American Urology Association – please note you should discuss this testing with your physician for individualized consultation:

  • Under age 40 : PSA screening is not recommended
  • Ages 40-54 and at average risk: Routine PSA screening is not recommended
  • Under age 55 at higher risk (family history or African American): The decision should be discussed with your physician as to the frequency of this test.
  • Ages 55-59 : This age group tends to get the most benefit from having a PSA blood test done.  Routine screening is recommended every two years.
  • Ages 70+ : Rountine PSA screening is not recommended although some men over the age of 70 may benefit from prostate cancer screenings.

Because prostate cancer is the number two cancer killer of men, there is nothing wrong with having a PSA test if you are concerned or if your physician recommends having this test.

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.

 

 


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Diet and Prostate Cancer

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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.


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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 www.HealthOneLabs.com, 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.


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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.


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According to an article in the December Wellsource Healthy Choices Newsletter, new research at the University of South Wales (Neurology 79 (1): 1019-1026 SEP 2012) shows that if your fasting blood sugar, or glucose, levels are in the high end of “normal” , your risk of brain shrinkage and diabetes increases. When brain shrinkage occurs, the cells, tissues, and connections in the brain are lost or damaged, which can lead to dementia, seizures, and cognitive problems, and often gets worse over time.

diabetes blood test

Normal fasting glucose levels are 70-99mg/dl; high normal is considered 90-99mg/dl.

A Hemoglobin A1c test will measure your average blood sugar levels over the past 2-3 months.  Many physicians will recommend the getting the A1c test to see if your blood sugar is under control.

The most common cause of elevated blood sugar (glucose) is insulin resistance caused by inactivity and by being overweight.

What can you do?

  • Exercise daily for 30-plus minutes.
  • Lose weight. Even losing 10 to 15 pounds of fat can lower your glucose.
  • Eat low glycemic index foods ( most fruits and vegetables except potatoes, whole grains, nuts, legumes.)

Many pre-diabetics and diabetics will have to watch the amount of carbohydrates they eat at each meal.  Surprisingly, even fruits and vegetables have starches and some are as high as grain products.  For example, one piece of wheat bread has 13g of carbohydrates and an apple has 15g of carbohydrates!  Adding healthy fats can minimize the glycemic rate, so the apple is a better choice, but it would be better to add some peanut butter to it.  Yogurt and some other dairy products can also have a high carbohydrate value, so be sure to read your labels.  For example, non-fat fruited yogurt had 28g of carbohydrates.  A better alternative would be a handful of almonds that has only 4-6g of carbohydrates.

Most men are to have the maximum of 4-5 carbohydrate servings per meal (60-75g) and women should aim for 3-4 carbohydrate servings per meal (45-60).  The total amount of carbohydrates has the most impact on post-meal blood sugar levels.  Reading labels is the best way to track your carbohydrate levels if you are pre-diabetic or diabetic.

Diabetes is a serious disease and many body organs can be negatively affected.  Monitor your blood sugar and keep on track to a healthy lifestyle!

Health One Labs offers a Diabetes Test Package for $ 99 which includes:

The Comprehensive Health Profile consists of the following groups of online blood tests:

  • Lipid Panel
  • Liver Profile
  • Kidney Panel
  • Minerals & Bone
  • Fluids & Electrolytes
  • Complete Blood Count
  • Diabetes Screen

The Hemoglobin A1c test tests for long term glucose levels.

Molecules of glucose (sugar) in the blood bind to this fraction of hemoglobin, and stay bound to it for months. The higher the amount of blood glucose, the higher the amount of hemoglobin A1c, and according to its value, one can obtain the average blood sugar during the previous 8 to 12 weeks. The test indicates how well your diabetes has been controlled in the 2 to 3 months before the test. Information gained from this test can help determine whether your diabetes medication needs to be adjusted. It can also help your health professional estimate your risk of developing complications from diabetes, such as kidney failure, vision problems, and leg or foot numbness. The A1c level is directly related to complications from diabetes: the lower your A1c level, the lower your risk for complications.

Microalbumin, Random Urine A microalbumin test checks urine for the presence of a protein called albumin. Albumin is normally found in the blood and filtered by the kidneys. When the kidneys are working properly, albumin is not present in the urine. But when the kidneys are damaged, small amounts of albumin leak into the urine. This condition is called microalbuminuria.

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.


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High Cholesterol Test Results? Lower It.

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If you have too much cholesterol in your blood, there is an increased risk for heart disease and stroke.  The three main lifestyle changes you can employ, without the use of medication are:

1.  diet – eating healthy foods

2.  losing weight

3.  exercise

cholesterol blood test

Start reducing your cholesterol now to avoid heart and blood vessel disease that is caused by a buildup of cholesterol, plaque and other fatty deposits along artery walls.  When the buildup is large, the arteries become clogged and the blood flow is reduced.  Arteries feed oxygen rich blood to the heart, but if they are blocked and blood flow is reduced, a heart attack is likely to occur.  It is also likely that a blood clot could form and block an artery leading to the brain therefore causing a stroke.

Limit the use of whole milk, cream and ice cream.  A good substitute – low fat milk products.  Be careful of fat-free products as sometimes added sugar is used in lieu of fat.  Minimize the use of butter, egg yolks and cheese.  Instead use Omega-3 rich olive oil, just egg whites and maybe a sprinkle of low fat cheese for flavor.  Highly processed meats such as hot-dogs, sausage, and salami are high in sodium, nitrates and fat  Consider turkey sausages as a lower fat alternative.  When you have a craving for a high fat food, try a small handful of nuts that will provide the healthy fats along with some protein.  Meatless meals once or more per week is another great way to minimize fat without sacrificing flavor.  Black beans, chickpeas or healthy grains like quinoa can be filling and satisfying without the fat.

If you cannot manage your cholesterol with diet, exercise and losing weight, your physician may want you to start a protocol of cholesterol lowering medications.

You have heard of Statins – these are drugs that can lower your cholesterol by blocking a substance your body uses to make cholesterol.  The drug also may absorb cholesterol that has built up on your artery walls.

Using statins is a life-long commitment:  your cholesterol will most likely go back up if you stop taking the statins.  The only way you may be able to safely stop taking statins is if you can modify your cholesterol through diet, weight control and exercise.

As with all medications, there are side effects to consider.  Minor side effects are muscle and joint aches, nausea, diarrhea or constipation.  Major side effects could include liver damage, muscle pain and increased blood sugar.  Most people on statins will regularly test the liver via a liver function test (also called a hepatic panel) and they will also monitor longer term average sugar via a hemoglobin A1c test.  Discuss all medications, lifestyle habits and tests with your physician to determine the best protocol for you.

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.


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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.


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