The following blood tests are deemed important for men. Some of them require a prior clinical assessment to confirm suspected issues, such as the complete metabolic profile. While others become necessary at specific ages for general well-being and as a quick and easy screening process.
Let’s read about the blood tests and how to understand the results.
Complete Blood Count
This baseline investigation is performed to find out about any bleeding disorders. Additionally, the complete red blood cell profile is obtained containing hemoglobin levels, hematocrit, and mean corpuscular volume. Increase in white blood cells indicate an ongoing infection – specific types of WBCs highlight whether the infection is viral or bacterial. C-reactive protein and erythrocyte sedimentation rate are two additional modalities used for ruling out the type of infection.
Complete Metabolic Panel
This is a comprehensive test that has a list of fourteen parameters that are analysed in depth. These include liver function tests, renal function tests, electrolytes, blood protein, and blood glucose levels.
Renal function tests identify the efficacy of kidney clearance of toxic waste products. A higher level of substances like urea and creatinine, or the more specific test for blood urea nitrogen, help identify an inadequately functioning kidney.
Liver function tests analyse the amount of specific enzymes and proteins produced by the liver, any increase of decrease in these hints towards an underlying pathology. These tests include total protein count, including albumin and globulin as well as their ratios, bilirubin levels (both free and conjugated). This test also calculates the amount of enzymes such as alkaline phosphatase, aspartate amino-transferase, and alanine amino-transferase. Serum lipase and amylase can be tested if there is an ongoing pancreatic co-infection with liver disease.
Finally, electrolytes like sodium, potassium, chloride, calcium and total carbon dioxide levels are also accessed. These must be within very specific ranges and are often difficult to correct clinically after becoming deranged – thus, requiring hospital admission. Additionally fasting and random
Blood glucose levels are also tested to confirm pre-diabetes or diabetic states.
Vitamins and Minerals Panel
Minerals like sodium, potassium, chloride and calcium are already investigated in the complete metabolic profile. But it’s a lengthy test and if you are considering dietary supplements then you must know how deficient your bodily stores are in the first place. Thus, in addition to the fore-mentioned minerals levels of iron (newer tests detect ferritin stores), zinc and phosphate are checked to analyse deficiencies or excess. The latter accounts to an abnormal overproduction which is equally harmful. Vitamins including the fat soluble ones like E, K, A and D are accessed especially in malabsorption and steatorrhea. While the variants of vitamin B are also analysed especially in pernicious anaemia or gastrointestinal diseases.
Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA)
Men over the age of forty become susceptible to benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). It is the enlargement of the glands and tissues of the prostatic gland which is situated below the bladder in males. Since this condition is common and fairly inevitable as the age progresses, regular screening tests of serum PSA levels are helpful. Earlier detection can be medically treated without any uncomfortable and costly surgical interventions. BPH also slightly increases the risk for prostate cancer, PSA levels are non-specific for the two. Thus, regular screening and check-ups can prevent a massive calamity.
Hormone Panel Tests
Testosterone levels are correlated with BPH, since active testosterone increases the glandular growth of the prostate. Moreover, medications inhibit DHT which is a more potent form of the steroid hormone naturally produced by the body. Thus, fixed levels of testosterone, both free and bound, must be evaluated before medications. Additionally, the hormone levels are checked for better performance, metabolism and the development of male secondary characteristics.
Estradiol hormone levels are only checked in males with clinically diagnosed gynecomastia, that is enlarged breasts. It also increased due to some medicines like spironolactone, which is usually prescribed in hair disorders. Thus, doses must be adjusted depending on the hormone level.
Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) is crucial for better metabolism and for maintaining an active lifestyle. Common diseases associated with increase and decrease in TSH can adversely affect your lifestyle and cause distress due to visible symptoms. Some of these include extremes of body temperatures marked by profuse sweating or shivering, exophthalmos (protruding of the eyeballs), weight loss with decreased appetite, and chronic lethargy.