Monitoring male testosterone levels throughout life is an important part of keeping oneself healthy, especially when adverse health effects have already indicated that you might suffer from low testosterone levels.
When approaching a doctor to facilitate testosterone testing, they will conduct a physical examination. Checking your vital signs and discussing your overall symptoms might seem unnecessary, but it is a crucial step in identifying whether other ailments could be causing issues. Moreover, without ruling out other potential risk factors or malfunctions, you prevent yourself from knowing whether other factors are making your condition worse.
After physical examination, a lab technician administers the most common method of checking testosterone levels – the total testosterone test. This is a blood test that measures the volume of testosterone in the bloodstream in nanograms per deciliter.
Two-thirds of an individual’s testosterone volume is bound to sex hormone-binding globulin, a form of red blood cell. Slightly less than one-third of the testosterone content is bound to albumin, a protein present in the bloodstream. About 4% of testosterone is free testosterone. Total testosterone tests seek to measure the levels of all forms of testosterone in the body, though there are tests that just measure free/albumin-bound testosterone. These forms of testosterone are bioavailable, readily carrying out hormonal functions.
An additional test that a physician might order in conjunction with a total testosterone test is a luteinizing hormone (LH) test. This test detects the volume of LH in the bloodstream. LH dictates how much testosterone the body makes and can identify if an individual suffers from Low-T. Test results can also indicate potential pituitary gland issues.