Top biomarkers to monitor for male health

Monitoring biomarkers over time can reveal a lot about men's health and risk of disease.

Biomarkers are biological indicators that can reveal a lot about your health - and there are several biomarkers found in the blood that are particularly valuable for men to measure. These biomarkers enable men to monitor their health and well-being and risk of disease.

Let us take a closer look at the biomarkers that are important for men's health…

4 biomarkers important for men's health

1. Testosterone

Testosterone is a hormone produced in men and smaller amounts in women. It is known as a sex hormone and is essential for healthy bones, fertility, mood, and muscle mass. In men, testosterone levels can decline naturally after the age of 30, and low levels can cause symptoms such as low libido depression difficulty gaining muscle mass [1]

You can measure the testosterone in your body with our new Free Testosterone Blood Test. Most testosterone circulating in your blood is bound to proteins, but only 2-3 % of testosterone is unbound, so available for your body to use. This test measures the amount of testosterone in your blood that is available for your body.

2. Cholesterol

Cholesterol is a fatty substance found in every cell in your body. It is produced naturally by the liver and travels around your body in the blood.

There are two main types of cholesterol:

  1. High-density lipoproteins (HDL cholesterol): This is commonly known as ‘good’ cholesterol because it removes cholesterol from our body tissues and takes it back to the liver, where it can be recycled and excreted.
  2. Low-density lipoproteins (LDL cholesterol): This is commonly known as ‘bad’ cholesterol because it can carry cholesterol from our liver to our tissues and may deposit it. This can lead to the build-up of ‘fatty plaques’ in our blood vessels.

High cholesterol levels are a risk factor for cardiovascular diseases such as heart attack and stroke. Men are more likely to have high cholesterol levels and heart attacks than women [3], putting them at higher risk of disease. In the UK, 1 in 8 men and 1 in 13 women die because of coronary heart disease [10], Still, some studies have shown that male doctors underestimate the likelihood of heart disease in women and do not always check for it [11]. Symptoms of high cholesterol are not visible on the outside - so checking your blood levels can be invaluable.

Medichecks’ Cholesterol Blood Test is a way to measure your cholesterol levels and determine your risk of heart disease based on the ratio of HDL to total cholesterol. You can view your doctor-reviewed results in your personal results portal, along with recommendations on the next steps to take.

3. HbA1c

The biomarker HbA1c, also known as glycated haemoglobin, is a long-term measure of your body’s ability to control blood sugar. It measures the amount of sugar attached to your red blood cells (haemoglobin) over time.

If you have diabetes or pre-diabetes, your body’s ability to control blood sugar can be reduced. Men are more likely to get diabetes compared to women and unfortunately, men are also more likely to die from the condition [8].

Symptoms of diabetes include:

  • Increased thirst Increased urination
  • Blurry vision
  • Tiredness Weight loss [2]

Compared to men without diabetes, men living with diabetes are also 3 x more likely to have trouble getting or keeping an erection [7].

The good thing is that you can reduce your risk of diabetes through healthy lifestyle changes, such as exercising more and eating a healthy diet.

If you are experiencing symptoms of diabetes, you should arrange an appointment with your doctor to investigate further. Medichecks offers a Diabetes (HbA1c) Blood Test, which can uncover how well your body is controlling blood sugar and help you know whether you need to make any lifestyle changes to reduce your risk.

4. Prostate-specific antigen (PSA)

Prostate problems are common in men, particularly in those aged 50 [9], black men aged 45 or more, and those aged 45 or more with a family history of prostate cancer.

The prostate is a walnut-shaped gland that makes some of the fluids in semen. Sometimes the cells within the prostate start to grow in an uncontrolled way, causing cancer. Prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in the UK, with a staggering 129 men being diagnosed every single day [5].

Symptoms of prostate cancer include:

  • Back pain, hip pain or pelvis pain
  • Problems getting or keeping an erection
  • Blood in the urine or semen
  • Unexplained weight loss

If you’re concerned that you may be experiencing any of these symptoms, you must see your GP. This will ensure that you receive the most appropriate treatment if you need it [4].

PSA is a blood biomarker that can cause a rise in prostate cancer. A raised PSA level does not necessarily indicate prostate cancer (it may be a false-positive result) and sometimes men with prostate cancer have normal PSA levels (a false-negative result) [5]. If you are aged over 50 years, you may be eligible to have this blood biomarker tested for free on the NHS.

You may be interested in taking a private PSA (Prostate-Specific Antigen) Blood Test. If your results show that you have raised levels of PSA, your GP may suggest further tests to investigate.

Measuring your biomarkers using a blood test is a quick and straightforward way to uncover what is happening inside your body. Your biomarker results can reassure you that you are making the best lifestyle choices, tell you about your risk of disease, or provide you with the information you need to start making healthier changes. Shop Medichecks' full range of men’s blood tests today.

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