Health & Wellness
Sep 12, 2023

Tailored Blood Testing: Decoding Men's & Women's Panels

Author: Jo Vos
Medical Reviewer: Murdoc Khaleghi, MD

While we all share the fundamental building blocks of human biology, the intricacies and nuances between the sexes are vast. From hormonal balances to metabolic processes, men and women often require distinct approaches to maintain optimal health.

This difference especially rings true when it comes to blood panel testing, where understanding gender-specific nuances is crucial. In this post, we share more on what's included in the Keyspan men's and women's blood panels, and why each component is essential. 


A Gender-Specific Approach to Blood Testing

At Keyspan, we test the following: Glucose, Hemoglobin A1c, Cholesterol, HDL, LDL, Triglycerides, ApoB, Calcium, Vitamin D, Testosterone, Cortisol, Albumin, Magnesium, Folate, Vitamin B12, RDW, Iron, Hemoglobin, Potassium, CRP, Homocysteine, GGT, AST, ALT, ( + Estradiol and TSH for women). 

While these biomarkers might appear simple, their implications on health are far-reaching. For women, the balance between estrogen and thyroid hormones plays a pivotal role. Imbalances can affect numerous facets of health, from blood sugar regulation, fertility, mental clarity, cortisol levels, weight management, bone health, to the risk of certain cancers and autoimmune diseases. 

Many of our modern lifestyle choices, specifically those that counter our circadian rhythm, impact estrogen and thyroid status beneath the symptomatic surface. Women are biochemically complex, with monthly (and seasonal) hormone fluctuations that must be supported by a tailored wellness approach, an approach that is fluid with her ever-changing hormone status. 

Irregular cycles, excess body fat, food intolerances, sleeplessness, inability to control blood sugar are just a few examples of what can result in and be caused by hormonal imbalance. Suboptimal levels of estrogen and thyroid can wreak havoc on metabolic processes in an undetected manner. It is vital to a woman’s healthspan to understand and track these hormones consistently.

The status of testosterone and DHEA in men sheds light on vital health areas, including heart health, insulin resistance, weight patterns influenced by cortisol, sexual function, liver health, and even the propensity for chronic diseases. While some decline in these hormones can be normal with age, poor sleep, chronic stress, or a diet of inadequate protein and healthy fats can all affect these normal hormonal balances. 

While exercise can help maintain these hormone levels, certain types of exercise can actually worsen them. There can even be a vicious cycle of lower testosterone decreases fitness performance, which lowers testosterone levels. 

Understanding Women's Hormones and Accurate Testing

Understanding the nuances of female hormones requires precision in timing. To interpret results accurately, it's essential for women to pinpoint where they stand in their menstrual cycle during the blood draw. Contrary to some misconceptions, there isn't a "perfect" time to test—rather, it's about capturing the context of that specific time in their cycle.

Recording the date of the blood draw, the date of the last menstrual period (LMP), and identifying their current cycle phase (easily tracked using cycle tracker apps) ensures a more insightful and precise analysis of hormonal balances. Moreover, it's crucial to factor in additional contexts: some women might be navigating menopause or perimenopause, while others could be on hormonal regimens like birth control. Recognizing these variables allows for a holistic comprehension of one's hormonal profile.  

"Understanding the delicate dance of hormones within our bodies is fundamental to achieving optimal health. With gender-specific blood testing, we're able to personalize care, ensuring each individual gets the insights and recommendations tailored to their unique hormonal blueprint."

Jen Katz, Keyspan Health Coach 


Why Keyspan Goes Beyond Traditional Medicine Ranges

Traditionally, Western medicine bases its lab testing ranges on samples derived from a predominantly unhealthy population. Instead of highlighting ideal health metrics, these ranges often merely reflect the averages of the tested group. Consequently, many individuals are classified as "normal" even when they're at the edges of optimal health.

Keyspan employs a more comprehensive approach. We believe in 'functional' lab scores that look beyond mere averages. By shifting our ranges, we focus on a more holistic view of individual health. Instead of waiting for a metric to move out of the average zone, our system focuses on keeping you in the 'optimal' health zone.

 

In Summary

Blood panels provide a window into our internal health, offering invaluable insights into potential health issues before they manifest as serious conditions. By understanding and acting upon these insights, especially with the gender-specific nuances in mind, we can help you craft a totally personalized health plan. 

At Keyspan, our goal is to empower our members with the knowledge and tools they need to ensure they're addressing everything they need for optimal health, and nothing they don't.

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