Filed under: Blood Chemistry; Tagged as: Adrenal Glands, American Thyroid Association, Blood Chemistry, Cold Intolerance, Congestive Heart Failure, Free Testosterone, Heart Palpitations, Heat Intolerance, High Blood Cholesterol, L Tyrosine, Mild Hypothyroidism, Prostate-Specific Antigen, Serum Cholesterol, Testosterone, Thyroid Health, Thyroid Stimulating Hormone
8. Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH)
Thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) controls thyroid hormone secretion in the thyroid. When blood levels are low, this indicates hyperthyroidism (increased thyroid activity), and when values are high, this suggests hypothyroidism (low thyroid activity). Measuring TSH is the best test for assessing thyroid function. Currently, the American Thyroid Association recommends screening for TSH levels every five years beginning at age 35.
Mild hypothyroidism may be associated with reversible high blood cholesterol and cognitive dysfunction, as well as fatigue, depression, cold intolerance, dry skin, constipation and weight gain. Mild hyperthyroidism is often associated with atrial fibrillation, reduced bone mineral density and fatigue, weight loss, heat intolerance, nervousness, insomnia, muscle weakness, shortness of breath and heart palpitations.
Natural therapies may help to support thyroid health and optimize TSH levels. Discuss with your doctor the use of L-tyrosine, iodine and selenium.
9. Testosterone (Free)
Testosterone is produced in the testes in men, in the ovaries in women and in the adrenal glands of both men and women. Both men and women can be dramatically affected by the decline in testosterone levels that occurs with aging.
In men, free testosterone levels may indicate whether sufficient bioactive testosterone is available to protect against abdominal obesity, depression, osteoporosis, heart disease, metabolic syndrome, erectile dysfunction, loss of muscle tone, type II diabetes and atherosclerosis. There are also ongoing studies which link low testosterone levels with a risk factor for ischemic heart disease and atherosclerosis in men.
Following menopause, levels of testosterone in women decrease, along with a decline in libido and mood. Although women produce only small quantities of testosterone, evidence indicates that this hormone helps women maintain sexual function, as well as muscle strength and lower body fat. High levels of free testosterone may cause excessive hair growth on the face and may also indicate low estrogen levels.
Discuss with your doctor the use of supplements such as DHEA and pregnenolone.
10. Prostate-Specific Antigen (Male Panel Only)
Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) is a protein manufactured by the cells of the prostate gland in men. Elevated PSA levels can suggest benign prostatic enlargement, prostate inflammation or prostate cancer. Measurement of PSA levels is a screening tool and is also used to monitor progression of prostate disease and response to treatment.
Since the early 1990’s, the PSA test has been widely used and the prostate cancer death rate has dropped. The American Cancer Society recommends annual PSA testing beginning at age 50. Men who are at high risk should begin PSA testing at age 40-45. PSA levels go up with age, even in the absence of prostate abnormalities.
Yearly blood testing is a simple yet powerful strategy to help you proactively take charge of your current and future health. A series of blood tests can thoroughly assess your overall state of health, as well as detect the silent warning signals that precede the development of serious diseases such as diabetes and heart disease. Being aware of these changes will enable you to implement proper nutrition, weight loss, exercise, supplements and medications in order to prevent progression to full-blown, life-threatening diseases.