Erectile Dysfunction Blood Test, from our experts to you.
Dr Sam Rodgers MBBS, MRCGP

Chief Medical Officer meet our doctors

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What's included?

Cholesterol status
Diabetes
Hormones
Thyroid hormones
Select profile for more information

Total cholesterol Cholesterol is an essential fat (lipid) in the body. Although it has a bad reputation it has some important functions, including building cell membranes and producing a number of essential hormones including testosterone and oestradiol. Cholesterol is manufactured in the liver and also comes from the food we eat. Although there are a number of different types of cholesterol, the two main components of total cholesterol are HDL (high density lipoprotein) which is protective against heart disease and LDL (low density lipoprotein) which, in high levels, can contribute to cardiovascular disease. Your total cholesterol result on its own is of limited value in understanding your risk of heart disease; high levels of HDL cholesterol can cause a raised total cholesterol result but may actually be protective against heart disease. Equally, you can have a normal total cholesterol level but have low levels of protective HDL cholesterol. The most important factors are how much HDL and LDL cholesterol you have, and what proportion of your total cholesterol is made up of protective HDL cholesterol. We give a detailed breakdown of the components of your total cholesterol in the rest of this cholesterol profile.
LDL cholesterol LDL cholesterol (low-density lipoprotein) is a molecule made of lipids and proteins which transports cholesterol, triglycerides and other fats to various tissues throughout the body. Too much LDL cholesterol, commonly called 'bad cholesterol', can cause fatty deposits to accumulate inside artery walls, potentially leading to atherosclerosis and heart disease.
Non - HDL cholesterol Your total cholesterol is broken down into 2 main components; HDL (good) cholesterol and LDL (bad). There are more types of harmful cholesterol in your blood than just LDL - these include VLDL (very low-density lipoproteins) and other lipoproteins which are thought to be even more harmful than LDL cholesterol. Non-HDL cholesterol is calculated by subtracting your HDL cholesterol value from your total cholesterol. It therefore includes all the non-protective and potentially harmful cholesterol in your blood, not just LDL. As such, it is considered to be a better marker for cardiovascular risk than total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol. The recommended level of non-HDL cholesterol is below 4 mmol/L.
HDL cholesterol HDL cholesterol (high-density lipoprotein) is a molecule in the body which removes cholesterol from the bloodstream and transports it to the liver where it is broken down and removed from the body in bile. HDL cholesterol is commonly known as 'good cholesterol'.
Total cholesterol : HDL The cholesterol/HDL ratio is calculated by dividing your total cholesterol value by your HDL cholesterol level. It is used as a measure of cardiovascular risk because it gives a good insight into the proportion of your total cholesterol which is good (i.e. high-density lipoprotein HDL). Heart disease risk tools (such as QRisk) use the cholesterol/HDL ratio to calculate your risk of having a heart attack.
Triglycerides Triglycerides are a type of fat (lipid) that circulate in the blood. After you eat, your body converts excess calories (whether from fat or carbohydrates) into triglycerides which are then transported to cells to be stored as fat. Your body then releases triglycerides when required for energy.
HbA1c Haemoglobin A1c (HbA1c), also known as glycated haemoglobin, is a longer term measure of glucose levels in your blood than a simple blood glucose test. Glucose attaches itself to the haemoglobin in your red blood cells, and as your cells live for around 12-16 weeks, it gives us a good indication of the average level of sugar in your blood over a 3 month period.
Testosterone Testosterone is a hormone that causes male characteristics. For men, it helps to regulate sex drive and has a role in controlling bone mass, fat distribution, muscle mass, strength and the production of red blood cells and sperm. Testosterone is produced in the testicles of men and, in much smaller amounts, in the ovaries of women. Testosterone levels in men naturally decline after the age of 30, although lower than normal levels can occur at any age and can cause low libido, erectile dysfunction, difficulty in gaining and maintaining muscle mass and lack of energy. Although women have much lower amounts of testosterone than men, it is important for much the same reasons, playing a role in libido, the distribution of muscle and fat and the formation of red blood cells. All laboratories will slightly differ in the reference ranges they apply because they are based on the population they are testing. The normal range is set so that 95% of men will fall into it. For greater consistency, we use the guidance from the British Society for Sexual Medicine (BSSM) which advises that low testosterone can be diagnosed when testosterone is consistently below the reference range, and that levels below 12 nmol/L could also be considered low, especially in men who also report symptoms of low testosterone or who have low levels of free testosterone.
Prolactin Prolactin is a hormone which is produced in the pituitary gland and plays a role in reproductive health. Its primary purpose is to stimulate milk production after childbirth, and in pregnant and breastfeeding women prolactin levels can soar.
TSH Thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) is produced in the pituitary gland in order to regulate the production of thyroid hormones thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3) by the thyroid gland. If thyroid hormones in the blood are low, then more TSH is produced to stimulate the thyroid gland to produce more of them. If thyroid hormone levels are high, then the pituitary produces less TSH to slow the production of thyroid hormones. If TSH is too high or too low, it normally signifies that there is a problem with the thyroid gland which is causing it to under or over produce thyroid hormones. Sometimes a disorder of the pituitary gland can also cause abnormal TSH levels.

How to prepare
for your test

Special instructions

Prepare for your Erectile Dysfunction Blood Test by following these instructions. Please take your sample before 10am. Avoid fatty foods for eight hours before your test, you do not need to fast. Avoid taking your sample from a finger used to apply hormone gels/pessaries in the past 4 weeks. Use gloves to apply these. Do not take biotin supplements for two days before this test, discuss this with your doctor if it is prescribed.


Frequently asked questions

What blood tests are done for erectile dysfunction?

Erectile dysfunction (ED) can be caused by diabetes, raised cholesterol, thyroid health, and hormones (such as raised prolactin and low testosterone). Our Erectile Dysfunction Blood Test includes biomarkers that check for these most common causes.

How does an erectile dysfunction blood test work?

Our Erectile Dysfunction Blood Test is a venous test, meaning a qualified professional will need to take your blood from a vein in your arm.


Erectile dysfunction - who's affected? 

 

Erectile dysfunction (ED) affects 50% of men under the age of 50 and can be stressful for both men and their partners. The good news is that in many cases, ED can be treated either medically or with lifestyle changes. 

 

ED is also known as impotence and is a sexual disorder described as the inability to get or maintain an erection firm enough to have sex. Occasional ED isn’t uncommon and often occurs as a result of lifestyle factors such as stress or increased alcohol intake. Read more in our blog: all you need to know about erectile dysfunction.

 

Common causes of erectile dysfunction

 

ED is when it is hard to get or maintain an erection that’s firm enough for sex. There are many different causes of erectile dysfunction, including:
• Restricted blood flow to the penis
• A hormone deficiency 
• Medication side effects
• Anxiety and depression

 

Treatments for erectile dysfunction

 

How to treat ED will vary depending on the underlying cause and could require a combination of treatments. With our Erectile Dysfunction Blood Test, you’ll get health insights into the common causes of ED along with advice and actions you may need to take in relation to your cholesterol, hormone health, or diabetes status.


Treatments for erectile dysfunction include:


• Medication to lower blood pressure and cholesterol, such as statins.
• Hormone medication to help balance hormones, such as testosterone replacement therapy.
• Viagra - a medication known as sildenafil that increases blood flow to the penis.
Your doctor may recommend lifestyle changes to help too such as eating a healthy balanced diet, or cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) if you are experiencing ED due to a psychological condition.

 

Lifestyle changes for a healthy sex life

 

A lot of the time, erectile dysfunction (ED) can be reversed with simple lifestyle choices. And making these changes can not only help with your ED but also help with your sex life too.


Read more in our blog: ways to boost your libido (and sex life).


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