imagesJust about every man over the age of 40 knows his cholesterol levels. It’s almost as certain as a professional baseball player knowing his batting average. Nowadays, though, there’s another number that’s starting to attain similar importance, and that’s a man’s testosterone levels.

Given all the publicity testosterone has gotten in the last few years, more and more men are asking their doctor to test their levels to make sure they’re somewhere in the healthy or “normal” testosterone zone.

However, Optimal Health Medical Group (OHMG) knows that a “normal” reading means almost nothing. First of all, depending on which lab is measuring your levels, “normal” ranges anywhere from 200 to 1100 nanograms per deciliter (ng/dl).

Your blood test could reveal a paltry level of 400 ng/dl and you’d be deemed healthy, but maybe normal for you is closer to 800 or a 1,000 ng/dl, but since no one ever gets a baseline testosterone sample taken at the age of 30 (just before testosterone levels often start to slowly diminish), the current number usually reflects very little.

And then there’s the issue of something called steroid hormone binding globulin, or SHBG. Simply put, SHBG is a protein that binds up testosterone; literally grabs onto it and makes it unavailable to the body. On average, the chemical locks up about 60% of your testosterone so that it’s not free to do all the good stuff that testosterone does, so while you may have a robust testosterone reading of 700, a good amount of it could be bound up by SHBG. Unfortunately, hardly any doctors know to do that.

Any hormone replacement doctor worth his salt should, at the very least, test your total testosterone, your free testosterone, and perhaps your bioavailable testosterone so that you can get a little bit better of an idea of what your testosterone situation is.

Equally important is that your doctor evaluates your estradiol (a form of estrogen) levels. While estrogen is considered a “female hormone,” a certain amount is crucial to men’s health, too. However, if estrogen levels are too high, it can actually negate some of the effects of testosterone. If you’ve tried testosterone replacement therapy in the past and had little to no results, chances are your doctor didn’t address your estrogen levels. But again, not many doctors know that.

As you can see, determining your testosterone levels is very tricky, so regardless of your lab values, you and your doctor need to instead address your symptoms. For instance, if you’re suffering from a lack of energy, loss of muscle tone, an increase in body fat or inability to lose weight, libido or sexual performance problems, frequent illness, or any problems that you might assume are just a part of natural aging, you could very well be low in testosterone.

Make an appointment to find out for sure at Optimal Health Medical Group. All initial lab tests and doctor consultations are free of charge.