Five Important Tests Every Man Should Take

May 9, 2024

Most men don’t worry about their health. Statistics show they are more likely than women to skip annual check-ups – 40% skip them entirely. Men ignore symptoms. During COVID, they often waited until the virus had progressed. The result? Men have shorter lifespans and are more likely to die in poor health than women. In fact, not only is men’s overall mortality rate 41 percent higher but across 10 different causes of death, men are more likely to die in eight of them. As urologist Dr. Joseph Alukal explained to Health Matters, “There is no demographic that utilizes healthcare resources less than men between the ages of 18 and 45, followed closely by men ages 45 to 64.” 

It doesn’t have to be this way. Preventive care means more than just getting once-a-year physicals. It means regular lab tests and consultations to keep small issues from becoming major problems. Most men wouldn’t drive a vehicle 10,000 miles without an oil change. How can they care for their car but ignore their body?

The good news for men’s health is that inconvenience is no longer an excuse for avoiding essential tests. In fact, men can avoid driving to their doctor’s office entirely. That’s because many of the most crucial lab tests can be done without leaving home – including at home testosterone testing and a PSA test. Kyla offers a range of tests that let men know if their testosterone is too low or their cholesterol too high. Of course, these tests are a supplement to annual check-ups, not a replacement for them. 

Here are the five important tests for men and how getting them is easy with at-home tests.

  1. Testosterone and Other Hormones 

Often absent from many lists of essential tests, when it comes to men’s health, checking testosterone levels is a vital component. Why? Because many of the issues men face as they age are intricately linked with this hormone. Low testosterone levels have been associated with weight gain and decreased bone density. For men battling depression, low sex drive, or a general lack of energy, low testosterone is an often overlooked element. And for men trying to become fathers, low testosterone can mean erectile dysfunction or low sperm counts. 

Testosterone levels decline with age – dropping by one to two percent a year, every year after a man’s 30th birthday. Yet those with above average levels of this hormone are not necessarily blessed. That’s because higher testosterone levels are linked to hypertension, aggression, acne and hairiness. 

As the website Healthline points out, “Only a testosterone test can measure how much of the hormone is in your body and determine whether your level is within a healthy range.” That’s why the at home testosterone test Kyla offers can be an important component of preventive care. While many companies charge hundreds of dollars for a similar test, Kyla delivers a host of men’s health tests for $99. This cost may even be covered by insurance. A simple needle prick and a mailed-in sample is all that’s required. Not only will the test look at total testosterone but it also examines levels for the male sex hormone DHEA-S (Dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate) and TPO antibody, which is involved with the production of thyroid hormones.

Testosterone isn’t the only hormone men should have checked. Produced in the brain’s pituitary gland, the sex hormone LH is directly responsible for the proper function of a man’s testes. Low levels of LH can signal low testosterone levels because in the testes LH binds to Leydig cells, triggering the production of the vital hormone. Like testosterone, LH can be tested with a simple blood test. Estradiol or E2 can also be easily tested – an elevated level may indicate an adrenal tumor. Symptoms include the breast-enlarging condition gynecomastia, increased body fat, decreased libido, low bone density and testicular tumors.

  1. Prostate Tests and Cancer Screenings 

Resting just below the bladder, the prostate gland becomes an increased area of vulnerability for men as they get older. According to The American Cancer Society, around 300,000 new cases of prostate cancer will be diagnosed this year while over 35,000 men will die from it. Still, it’s important to note that diagnosis is not a death sentence. Well over three million men who had a prostate cancer diagnosis at some point are still alive.

The key to survival is early detection. Unfortunately, of all the tests performed in a doctor’s office, few are as universally loathed as the digital rectal exam. While a blood test is not a substitute for this exam, the PSA test can help. By measuring prostate-specific antigen  or PSA in blood, the test can serve as an early warning sign. What’s great about the PSA test is it’s convenient. Instead of going to a doctor, with just a few drops of blood for an at-home test the patient can quickly learn if the sample had higher than normal level of PSA. 

While some clinics offer a PSA test by itself, Kyla’s Male Hormone Panel examines not only prostate-specific antigen but also the patient’s cortisol and thyroid levels along with signs of vitamin or mineral deficiencies. Although there is debate within the medical community about the value of not only the PSA test but all prostate screening exams, the number of patients diagnosed with harder-to-treat prostate cancer has been creeping up. Besides, for many patients at Kyla the at-home PSA-test is just the beginning of an ongoing conversation about the options available and the benefits of certain choices. That’s because Kyla offers not just at-home testing but consultations with healthcare professionals who can help patients understand their test results and develop a strategy for extending their healthy life. 

Of course anyone concerned about men’s health knows the PSA test isn’t the only necessary cancer screening. Other tests include screenings for blood cancers like lymphoma or leukemia, colonoscopies to detect colon cancer and an examination of the skin for any skin cancers. 

  1.  Cortisol and Why Testing It is Important

Often untested, cortisol levels can reveal a host of information. In terms of preventive care, elevated levels of this hormone can indicate the presence of tumors. It can also be used to diagnose Cushing’s syndrome or hypercortisolism. Low-levels can be a warning sign for Addison’s disease. 

When it comes to men’s health, knowing a patient’s cortisol levels is vital. That’s because cortisol is also known as the stress hormone. Released by adrenal glands, it can affect nearly every organ in the body. Normally, cortisol levels return to normal after a stressful situation. However, anyone experiencing unrelenting stress or anxiety as the result of work, family, or other challenges should have their cortisol levels checked. Both the male hormone panel and the male primary care panel include cortisol testing as part of a suite of tests such as the PSA test and the total testosterone test. 

  1. The Healthy Heart Cholesterol Test 

Heart disease kills more Americans than anything else –– including cancer. The often symptom-free disease claims nearly 700,000 American lives every year. The sad truth is thousands of those deaths could be prevented with a simple lab test. For men over the age of 35, that test is the cholesterol test. One of the best tests for preventive care, the cholesterol screening checks the levels in a man’s blood for the so-called “good” cholesterol HDL along with the “bad” cholesterol LDL, and triglycerides. LDL is a fat that silently accumulates. Having a total cholesterol level under 200 milligrams per deciliter of blood is considered healthy with the LDL below 100 mg/dL and the HDL 60 mg/dL or higher. 

These indicators of men’s health are available as part of Kyla’s at-home testing. Patients can learn if they are in the healthy range or if they need to reduce their numbers –– all from the privacy of their home. Healthcare professionals can then help patients develop an action plan to reduce unhealthy cholesterol through improvements in diet and exercise. 

Cholesterol screening is not the only important heart health test. Blood pressure and a general cardiology screening must also be done annually –– which is why regular, in-person check-ups are so important. 

  1. Get a Metabolic Panel

Heart health and hormone health are not the only areas of concern for men’s health. A comprehensive metabolic panel is another important component of preventive care. Diabetes, for one, is a growing issue affecting nearly 40 million Americans. A simple glucose test, part of a metabolic panel, will reveal whether or not a patient’s blood sugar is within normal levels. Calcium, a vital component for bone health, is also included in a metabolic panel –– along with lab tests that check kidney and liver health and inflammation markers that could signal serious health issues. All of these tests and so many more are offered as part of Kyla’s metabolic panel for just $99. The cost may even be covered by insurance.  

Getting a lab test is just the first step of preventive care. That’s why so many patients choose an at-home testing company that does more than just testing. While Kyla can deliver a comprehensive primary care or hormone panel for just $99, the most important part of men’s health is the follow-up. That’s why many who order the cards also participate in the risk engine – filling out a simple questionnaire and learning if they are at an elevated risk for certain conditions. Using a proprietary AI-driven data analysis, Kyla is also able to provide medical professionals with personalized assessments. These assessments arm patients with the tools they need to live the longest, healthiest life possible. 

Sources:

  1. Griffiths, Christina. “Men’s Health Month: Five Things to Know,” Indiana University School of Medicine. June 22, 2023. https://medicine.iu.edu/blogs/spirit-of-medicine/mens-health-month
  2. Alukal, Joseph., M.D. “The Six Essential Health Exams Every Man Needs,” Health Matters (New York Presbyterian https://healthmatters.nyp.org/the-6-essential-health-exams-every-man-needs/
  3. Heitz, David. and Kimberly Holland. “Testosterone Tests: How They Work and Understanding the Results,” Healthline. April 29, 2024. https://www.healthline.com/health/testosterone-test
  4. “Estradiol Testing in Men,” Academy of Diagnostics & Laboratory Medicine. March 2023. https://www.myadlm.org/advocacy-and-outreach/optimal-testing-guide-to-lab-test-utilization/a-f/estradiol-testing-in-men
  5. “PSA Test: Overview,” The Mayo Clinic. April 27, 2023. https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/psa-test/about/pac-20384731
  6. “Key Statistics for Prostate Cancer,” The American Cancer Society. January 19, 2024.https://www.cancer.org/cancer/types/prostate-cancer/about/key-statistics.html
  7. “What is a cortisol test?” Cleveland Clinic. February 21, 2022. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diagnostics/22417-cortisol-test
  8. “Cortisol and Stress: What is the connection?” Medical News Today. May 5, 2023. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/cortisol-and-stress#summary