23 Oct , 17

5 Important Health Tests For Men Over 40

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These 5 Important Health Tests For Men over 40 should be a priority for you. Dudes don’t like getting things like this done… I understand. 

But listen, without some of this critical information you are basically walking blind.

Think of your body as a machine: if you take care of it, it will run well for years to come; neglect it, and it will start to break down.

Our “machines” are brand new when we’re born, but we start to put the miles on them as we age.

By the time we hit our 30s, the machine is beginning to show the first signs of wear and tear. At the big 4-0, we need to take our health seriously!

Exercise, a balanced diet, and a healthy lifestyle can combat a lot of health problems, but not all. Many of the more serious problems will only be visible once they have gone too far or become truly threatening.

We’ve all heard the story about a friend or someone we knew who felt something, went to the doctor’s office and was dead 3 months later. Yet we fail to act.

That’s why it’s so important for men over 40 to undergo regular tests to measure certain vital metrics.

5 Important Health Tests For Men Over 40

Testosterone

Testosterone plays A LOT of very important functions in our body:

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  • Keeping up our sex drive
  • Encouraging the growth of new muscle tissue
  • Protecting bone mass
  • Promoting better fat distribution and elimination
  • Producing red blood cells
  • Producing healthy, active sperm

Personally I get this tested every 6 months via a blood test. I think it costs me about $80 bucks, but I want to know if there are any changes in my system. Rapid Drops may indicate a larger issue.

I am considered in the normal range at 26.2 nmol/l . The range is broad and “normal” is anywhere from  9–38 nmol/L (270–1070 ng/dL)

To put it into perspective guys who are juicing typically are in the range of 130 – 160 nmol/l or higher.

I digress, so back on track,  Testosterone imbalances can lead to a lot of health problems—everything from erectile dysfunction to low sperm count to enlarged breast tissue to loss of muscle mass and strength to increased body fat to  testicular problems to hormonal imbalances.

Men naturally produce a lot of testosterone in their younger years, but testosterone production begins to decline (by 1.6% per year) after the age of 40. Roughly 40% of men develop hypogonadism (failure of the gonads to produce enough testosterone) by the age of 45.

The problem is that you’ll only know testosterone levels are too-low once the effects become very visible. By this time, it will be too late to reverse all the side effects of low testosterone and hypogonadism.

The best thing to do is to get your testosterone levels tested regularly after the age of 35. By measuring your free testosterone levels, you’ll be able to find out if your body is able to produce enough of this important hormone to keep functioning properly into your later years. The test will reveal if your testosterone production is sufficient or needs a boost. By getting your testosterone tested, you can know if it’s time to take steps to correct a hormone deficiency.

HGH

I had this tested via a 24 hour urine test. it was a pain to do it but again I wanted to know. My doc said I have the same HGH levels as most 18 year olds… that’s lucky! I don’t have the test in front of me as I write so I can’t give you the level off the top of my head, but my doc says Im good to go. 

Human Growth Hormone, also known as HGH, is the chemical that plays a significant role in maturation and physical development. This hormone, produced in your pituitary gland, is what caused you to grow from an infant into a child into an adolescent, and it’s what triggered that “growth spurt” that helped you grow into an adult.

HGH also serves a number of other functions beyond growth:

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  • Regulating body composition and fat storage
  • Promoting bone and muscle growth
  • Regulating fat and sugar metabolism
  • Balancing body fluids
  • Maintaining heart function
  • Encouraging faster healing

When adults suffer from HGH deficiency, there are a number of visibly negative effects: depression, hair loss, decreased muscle mass, strength loss, lack of interest in sex, reduced sexual function, skin problems, fatigue, a rise in triglyceride levels, memory and concentration issues, and a higher risk of cardiovascular health problems.

That’s why it’s so important to get your HGH levels tested! By measuring your HGH, you’ll be able to find out if you need to get those levels up—something you can do with high impact exercise, supplementing with glutamine and arginine, increasing Vitamin C intake, and detoxifying your liver.

Thyroid Hormones

Man, as far as important health tests for men over 40 are concerned, thyroid levels are critical. My T4 is normal while my T3 is just barely in the normal range and I get this test done via a blood sample as well. 

Your thyroid gland, located in the front of your neck, absorbs iodine from the food you eat and uses it to produce the thyroid hormones T3 (about 6%) and T4 (about 94%).  Just so you are clear, T3 is the active form of thyroid hormone impacting your metabolism, while T4 is inactive. T4 is useless you say? Well not so fast. When your gut, liver and cellular mitochondria are working well, it will convert the T4 into T3.

BUT… sorry to rain on the parade troops… if you suffer from chronic stress and poor sleep you will likely have elevated cortisol levels which diminishes conversion to T3… so as you’ve heard me say a thousand times – GO TO SLEEP! 

I want you to be clear on just how important are these hormones are.  Every single cell in your body is affected by T3 and T4 hormones. These thyroid hormones regulate cellular metabolism.

As you age, it’s common for your thyroid to produce less and less of these two hormones. If production drops too low (a condition known as hypothyroidism), you may begin to notice side effects:

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  • Fatigue
  • Sleeping difficulties
  • Depression
  • Dry hair and skin
  • Muscle and joint pain
  • Sensitivity to temperatures
  • Concentration problems

The issue with these symptoms of hypothyroidism is that they are also the symptoms of a lot of other health problems. It’s almost impossible to diagnose thyroid problems without getting your thyroid gland function tested.

A thyroid gland function test will not only pinpoint problems in the thyroid gland, but also in the pituitary gland that produces the Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) that encourages proper thyroid function. If you’re suffering from unexplained health problems (such as the ones listed above), getting your thyroid tested is the smart way to go!

Hematocrit

Your hematocrit is the proportion of your blood made up of red blood cells. Red blood cells are vital for the transportation of oxygen and nutrients—without them, your body would become oxygen-deprived and starved for amino acids, vitamins, and minerals.

Hematocrit is expressed as a percentage. “Normal” hematocrit for men is anywhere between 45 and 52%. This means that their blood has roughly 42 to 52 milliliters of red blood cells for every 100 milliliters of blood.

As expected, hematocrit levels tend to decline with age [1]. When hematocrit levels drop, we become anemic. Anemia (or low hematocrit) can be caused by a number of problems:

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  • Nutritional deficiencies
  • Overhydration
  • Destruction of red blood cells by disease
  • Excessive bleeding (trauma, internal bleeding, colon cancer, ulcers)
  • Low red blood cell production (caused by cancer drugs and bone marrow suppression)

A hematocrit test is vital to help you discover what is causing the problems with your red blood cell count. The treatment of anemia varies according to the underlying cause. Very low hematocrit may require a transfusion or an iron supplement, or it may be necessary to stimulate the bone marrow to increase red blood cell production.

The good news is that testing for hematocrit is fairly simple. It requires a blood sample and a simple automated machine, which analyzes hemoglobin and average red blood cell volume to determine hematocrit. The test is simple, quick, and inexpensive!

Lean Body Mass

I can’t even get a Dexa Scan done in my home town, so Im relegated to the skills of someone who can do skin fold  testing… This leaves some gaps. For example within 3 weeks I had two tests done by 2 different people => One had me at 5.5% and the other at 7.9% So there’s a margin of error. More on this just at the end.

This number is most important for accurately creating a meal plan to address any desired changes in body composition.

The term “lean body mass” refers to your total body weight minus your body fat weight. Basically, it refers to the weight of your bones, organs, and muscles—everything but the pounds of fat we all carry around.

As men age, our lean body mass begins to decrease. Though our bodily fat remains consistent (or grows), the amount of muscle decreases, a condition known as sarcopenia. Age-related sarcopenia can cause anywhere from 3-5% lean body mass loss per decade. It’s estimated that men will lose as much as 30% of their lean body mass throughout their lifetime.

The problem with lean body mass loss is that it leads to a number of problems:

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  • Greater weakness (fewer, smaller muscle fibers to store energy)
  • Less mobility of your joints and muscles
  • Decreased support for your skeletal structure
  • Higher risk of injuries
  • Slower metabolism

There are a number of factors that contribute to age-related muscle mass loss, including decreased hormone levels and a lack of exercise. In order to stay healthy, you need to make sure you’re doing enough to protect your lean body mass.

But measuring your lean body mass is also the best way to measure your body fat composition. As mentioned above, lean body mass is total weight minus body fat weight. High body fat weight indicates the presence of excessive body fat (obesity or overweight), which can lead to a vast range of health problems.

Body fat measurements help you know how much fat you’re carrying around. Two people who weigh the same will not necessarily be equally healthy—the ratio of lean body mass to fat mass will have a huge effect on the outcome.

The best way to measure body fat is through a Dexa Scan. Dual-energy absorptiometry (DEXA) measures body fat composition and bone health as accurately as possible. It’s not an estimate, but the precise breakdown of your lean and body fat mass.

Of course, there’s always the Skin Fold Caliper Test, which measures body fat on various points of your body (stomach, buttocks, arms, etc.) to calculate total body weight/fat content. It’s not the most accurate test, but it can be highly reliable if done by a professional—and a much more affordable option than a Dexa Scan.

There you have 5 important health tests for men over 40. It’s vital for men over 40 to get these five tests on a regular basis–no less than every 1-3 years. You need to stay on top of your hormone, hematocrit, and body fat levels in order to stay in good health as you age, but more important so you are not working blindly toward a goal you will never achieve because your system simply doesn’t work right.

With regular testing, you’ll be able to take steps to correct health problems before they become serious, address your training and nutrition with 100% laser targeted focus—and THAT is how you age like a bad-ass!

 

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1942631

Todd

Todd Lamb is one world's most trusted sources of Health and Fitness information and programming. He has dedicated his life to the service of others having served as a member of the Royal Canadian Regiment in the Special Service Force and as 17 year veteran Police Officer with 10 years on SWAT and 4 as a Team Leader. Todd is dedicated to transforming the lives of 1,000,000 men through honest science based information backed up with years of practical experience in Tactical Operations. Todd is a Best Selling Author of multiple best selling fitness programs and the book STAND APART

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