Men’s Health & Wellness: What’s Next?

imaware’s Men’s Health & Wellness Test is designed to provide a thorough health check-up from the comfort of your home. By testing various functions in your body, your results produce meaningful insights into the state of your health. These results can be a lot to take in, so here’s some brief information about what exactly is tested and possible next steps depending on your results.

Ferritin

Though often used interchangeably, ferritin and iron are not the same thing. Ferritin is actually an iron storage protein,1 and since it affects how your body processes iron, measuring ferritin levels is how we assess your iron levels. A key component of red blood cells, iron can impact your energy level, muscle metabolism, connective tissue formation, physical growth, neurological development and more.2

Low iron 

Many foods naturally contain heme (animal-based) and nonheme (plant-based) iron. Naturally up your iron intake by eating more of the following foods:3

  • Red meats
  • Poultry
  • Fish
  • Eggs
  • Beans
  • Lentils
  • Nuts 
  • Dark leafy greens
  • Specially-fortified breakfast cereals

High iron

Among healthy adults, excess iron is less common than iron deficiency, and it is often caused by iron supplements.4 High iron levels may also be the result of hemochromatosis, a genetic disease that causes your body to store too much iron.5 If you have excess iron, speak with your healthcare provider about supplements, medications and other health conditions that may be responsible.  

25-hydroxyvitamin D

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that helps your body absorb calcium and phosphorus — two essential nutrients for good bone, teeth and muscle health.6 It also helps with your immune, cardiovascular and cellular health. Unable to absorb enough calcium, vitamin D deficiencies can lead to severe bone conditions, a weak immune system, chronic fatigue, depression and muscle pain.7

Sourcing vitamin D

The good news is that the two primary forms of vitamin D — vitamin D2 and D3 — come from a few different sources. So, if you’re vitamin D deficient, here are three ways  up your intake:8

  • Food: Unlike other micronutrients, it’s hard to get enough vitamin D solely from dietary sources; however, some naturally vitamin D-rich foods you should try include fatty fish and fish oils, beef liver, egg yolk and mushrooms. There are also select breakfast cereals and other food products specially fortified with vitamin D.
  • Sunlight: Your body naturally synthesizes vitamin D when your skin comes in direct contact with sunlight. As long as you follow sun safety guidelines, the sun is a great way to increase your levels.
  • Supplements: Given the low levels available in food and the dangers of direct sunlight, vitamin D supplements used responsibly are a popular way to maintain healthy vitamin D levels. 

Use our Vitamin D Monitoring Test to see if you’re successfully increasing your vitamin D levels.

Heart Health

Testing your heart health is complex. Fortunately, there are a few different tests within the Health & Wellness Test that can help you evaluate your current heart health.

LDL-C, HDL-C and Total Cholesterol

Cholesterol is a waxy substance in your blood that your body requires for vital functions like building cell membranes and producing hormones.9 Cholesterol is transported throughout your body by lipoproteins. 

Low-density lipoproteins (LDLs) are “bad” because LDL cholesterol (LDL-C) causes plaque to build up in your blood vessels, leading to heart disease or stroke. High-density lipoproteins (HDLs), on the other hand, are “good” because they carry cholesterol back to your liver to be flushed out.10 Ideally, your HDL-C helps even out your LDL-C, giving you a healthy (low) total cholesterol level. 

Triglycerides

Triglycerides are fats in your bloodstream that help with cellular growth. Like LDLs, high triglycerides are dangerous for your arteries and increase your risk of cardiovascular disease.11

hs-CRP  

Testing your high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP) levels is an essential part of checking your heart health because this biomarker detects chronic inflammation. Chronic inflammation is bad because it may increase the speed that plaque builds up in your blood vessels, increasing your risk of heart attack and stroke.12

Improving your results

Whether you have high levels of cholesterol, triglycerides or inflammation, here are some lifestyle changes that can make a difference:13

  1. Increase your physical activity
  2. Reach and maintain a healthy weight
  3. Quit smoking
  4. Eat less saturated fats, sugars and refined carbohydrates (like red meat, full-fat dairy, white flour and fructose products).14
  5. Say yes to foods high in soluble fiber, unsaturated fats or antioxidants (like oats, beans, citrus fruits, fish and nuts).15

Keep up with your heart health by using imaware’s Baseline Heart Health Test

HbA1c

HbA1c testing measures your average blood sugar levels over the past three months. Blood sugar above the normal range indicates that insulin — the hormone responsible for maintaining a safe blood sugar level — may not be functioning properly in your body. The following HbA1c scale can be used to give you an idea of where you stand with prediabetes and diabetes, though additional testing is required to confirm a diagnosis:16

  • Normal: Below 5.7%
  • Prediabetes: Between 5.7% and 6.5%
  • Diabetes: 6.5% or higher

Prediabetes

Prediabetes, which can develop into type 2 diabetes, is high blood sugar that has yet to meet the threshold for type 2 diabetes.17 Fortunately, it is possible to reverse prediabetes by lowering your blood sugar level through hard work and significant lifestyle changes.  

Diabetes

There are three main types of diabetes:  

  • Type 1 diabetes is when your pancreas does not produce enough insulin (if any). It is an autoimmune disease and less common than type 2. Typical treatment involves receiving doses of insulin.18
  • Type 2 diabetes is when your body develops insulin resistance, which means the level of insulin your body requires increases and your pancreas cannot keep up. Like prediabetes, healthy lifestyle changes are key to managing this condition. Still, you may require further medical intervention to prevent additional health risks.19
  • Gestational diabetes is a form of diabetes that people can develop when pregnant. Though it resolves after birth, it can increase your risk of developing type 2 diabetes post-pregnancy.20

Managing your blood sugar

Here are some lifestyle changes that can help you manage your blood sugar:21

  • Increase your physical activity: Aim for at least 150 minutes of exercise every week. 
  • Eat a healthy diet: Cut down your fat and carbohydrate intake by focusing on lean proteins, low-starch vegetables, fiber-rich foods and other healthy options. 
  • Maintain a healthy weight: Losing as much as five to seven percent of your body weight can drastically decrease your risk of diabetes.

Try imaware’s Prediabetes / Diabetes Screening Test if you’re still concerned about your risk.

PSA (Prostate-Specific Antigen)

The prostate gland — a chestnut-sized gland located in front of your rectum — is a crucial part of the male reproductive system. A prostate-specific antigen (PSA) is a protein produced by specific cells in your prostate and high levels of PSA may indicate prostate cancer.2223

If you have elevated PSA results consult your doctor immediately — it can be a sign of prostate cancer or something else

Prostate cancer can be asymptomatic in the early stages, so it is important to know the common signs of prostate cancer, maintain regular screening if you’re at risk and talk to your doctor if you have any concerns.

If you want to test your PSA levels again, imaware has a specific Prostate Cancer Screening Test available.

Total Testosterone 

Testosterone is the primary sex hormone in males, responsible for developing reproductive organs, bone and muscle strength, sexual function, hair growth and more.24

Changes in testosterone levels throughout your lifetime are natural. In fact, sometime after the age of 30, your testosterone levels will slowly start to decline.25 Though a gradual decrease is expected, sudden low testosterone levels can cause serious problems and may be a sign of a larger issue. Too much testosterone can also present complications associated with prostate enlargement, liver disease, weight gain, heart damage and low sperm count.26

If your levels are problematic, your doctor may recommend testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) or other medications as treatment.27 However, if your levels don’t require medical treatment, you may still be interested in some natural ways to boost your levels.  

Monitor your total testosterone with imaware’s specific Testosterone Monitoring Test

Summary

Learning more about what’s happening in your body is an invaluable step toward caring for your health. 

Some results have a straightforward treatment, while others require more drastic measures, but finding the right solution for you begins with awareness. The more you know about your health, the better equipped you are to take action, whether that means lifestyle changes, close monitoring or consulting a doctor for testing and treatment.

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