Recent data from 2022 shows that 53% of Australian males had episodes of ill health compared to 47% of females, and 54% of men had chronic disease or died prematurely.
The leading causes of ill health for men include cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and kidney disease. If you haven't taken charge of your health, it's time to look toward optimizing your health and longevity.
You can discover the wealth of health by learning about vital blood tests you can't afford to miss out on. Once you do, you'll be well on your way to improving your overall health and well-being.
Keep reading this guide to learn about essential blood tests for men, and start optimizing your health today.
A biological marker, or biomarker, is an objective measurement that indicates the current state of your health. They serve as early warning systems that alert you when something isn't right with your health.
Biomarkers do this by measuring how abnormal or normal one or more of your body systems are. There are many types of biomarkers, and the most common ones include:
Biomarkers can also be more complex and involve various lab tests. Biomarker blood tests can help detect diseases like cancer in the early stages. Other tests can predict the likelihood of getting cancer or other illnesses based on your genetics.
You can also use biomarkers to check your baseline health status. This includes inflammation and hormone levels. You can also test your current cardiovascular and immune health with specific biomarker blood tests.
This allows you to reverse chronic disease and catch serious health issues early on.
Next, you'll need to know the essential blood tests for men. These tests will give you a good baseline indicator of your health and include:
CRP is a protein made in your liver that goes into your bloodstream. Usually, your liver makes low levels of c-reactive protein; thus, the levels in your blood should be low.
If you have high levels of inflammation in your body, your liver will release more CRP into your bloodstream. Having high levels of CRP can indicate a serious health condition causing inflammation throughout your body.
Remember, inflammation is your body's way of protecting itself. For example, short-term inflammation from a skin injury can cause inflammation and swelling. However, this type of inflammation is helpful since it helps your body heal.
Inflammation that lasts for too long can damage healthy tissues and is known as chronic inflammation. Chronic inflammation is present in conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, and liver disease.
A CRP test is a simple blood test that can help detect and monitor various conditions like:
A high-sensitivity CRP can detect more subtle variations in CRP and more accurately detect heart disease.
An FBC, also known as a CBC, is a common blood test you may not think much about. However, it's a crucial biomarker that tells you a lot about your overall health. This test measures the levels of specific components that make up your blood, which include:
A CBC helps screen for various conditions like anemia, infections, and vitamin or mineral deficiencies. It can also help diagnose infections or causes of fatigue or weakness.
Variations in your platelet levels can help identify certain autoimmune conditions and heart disease. In addition, an abnormal white blood cell count can point towards severe illnesses like cancer or other blood disorders.
Overall, a complete blood count is one of the most beneficial biomarkers and something you don't want to overlook.
A normal CBC result shows that your body produces enough blood to keep your organs healthy. It also rules out the most serious illnesses and infections.
If you haven't had a complete blood count in a while, talk to your doctor about this test.
A CMP is another critical biomarker that gives you a lot of information about how your liver and kidneys are functioning. It also provides crucial information about your body's metabolism and chemical balance.
Metabolism is the process of how your body uses food to create energy, and proper electrolyte levels help keep your body in balance.
A CMP tests for 14 different substances in your blood and includes things like:
If one or a combination of CMP results aren't normal, it can indicate various conditions like diabetes or kidney failure.
The great thing about a CMP is that it can detect conditions early and lets your doctors know what other tests you might need to rule out or confirm a diagnosis.
Often, a doctor will order a CMP and a CBC test together. You may need to fast overnight before taking this test. Be sure to talk to your doctor about this test, so you have a thorough understanding of the results and normal ranges.
A lipid panel is a standard blood test that healthcare providers utilize to track cholesterol levels and assess your risks for heart disease. It measures four different cholesterol levels and the amount of triglycerides in your blood.
You may also hear this test called a lipid profile or cholesterol panel.
First, it will measure your low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, known as "bad cholesterol." LDL cholesterol collects in your blood vessels and increases your risk of heart disease.
Very low-density lipoprotein (VLDL) cholesterol mostly comes from your food. Increased VLDL can signal your body is having trouble breaking down fat.
High-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol is known as good cholesterol and helps decrease how much LDL cholesterol builds up in your blood vessels.
Triglycerides are a type of fat from the food you eat. Too many triglycerides in your blood can indicate pancreatic inflammation or heart disease.
Finally, total cholesterol measures your overall cholesterol level, including LDL, VLDL, and HDL levels.
Testosterone is a hormone responsible for many body traits like hair, muscle mass, and mood. It also greatly impacts your sex drive and how your body stores fat.
It can even contribute to your red blood cell production. As much as testosterone impacts your body, it remains a hidden issue for many men since it's commonly overlooked. Low testosterone can cause symptoms like:
Although low testosterone levels are typical in men over 45 and decline with age, there are medical reasons for low testosterone. These include undiagnosed diabetes, kidney disease, liver disease, and chronic stress.
Total testosterone measures free testosterone and testosterone that are attached to proteins. Free testosterone is the amount of testosterone not attached to proteins and is helpful to rule out medical conditions.
It's best to get both a free and total testosterone level to better understand your levels. This is especially true if you're over 45 and experiencing low energy, fatigue, and a lack of motivation.
Since low testosterone levels can cause mental health symptoms, learning more about your levels with this biomarker is key to optimizing your long-term health.
PSA or prostate-specific antigen is a protein that your prostate produces normally. PSA is also made by cancerous prostate cells and can increase over time. While there isn't a standard normal PSA for everyone, a PSA over 3/ng/ml can be a sign of prostate cancer.
This is because an elevated PSA can result from both your normal prostate and cancerous prostate cells making PSA.
However, PSA levels can increase when you don't have cancer due to inflammation or infection in the prostate. Some people have non-cancerous changes to their prostate, known as benign-prostate hyperplasia (BPH).
BPH causes symptoms like:
You should get a PSA every two years from age 50 to 69 and sooner if you have a higher risk of prostate cancer due to family history.
Be sure to talk to your doctor about this test and when you should get it. Remember, a PSA test is an essential biomarker for your overall prostate health.
Getting the proper types of blood tests will help you discover the wealth of health and pave the way to living a healthy life. This list of tests will get you moving in the right direction.
It's essential to talk to your doctor about the benefits of blood tests for men and get started on obtaining baseline blood test results. You can put a plan in place to check key blood biomarkers with your annual physical exam. You can also order private blood tests online in Australia.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is intended for informational and educational purposes only, and should not be used as a substitute for advice from a qualified healthcare professional. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any health problem. Always consult with your healthcare provider before making any changes to your diet, exercise, medication regimen, or any other health-related behaviors. Your personal health situation should always be overseen by a healthcare provider who can provide you with tailored health advice.