You’ve taken an at-home testosterone test and the results are in. Now it’s time to interpret the results so that you gain important insights into your health.
Testosterone is a steroid hormone that many people associate with masculinity, male features, male libido and aggressive behavior. In reality, testosterone is much more than a sex hormone that fuels the male reproductive system. It plays a role in bone health, energy levels, muscle growth and much more for people of both sexes.
Testosterone truly is an indicator of your health, you just have to know what to look for in the test results. Here are five things to keep in mind when you’re reading the results of an at-home testosterone test so you get an accurate gauge of whether or not your levels are healthy.
Keep in Mind That Total Testosterone and Free Testosterone Are Different
There are actually two testosterone levels that can be tested. They are:
Free testosterone is testosterone in the blood that doesn’t bind with the proteins albumin or SHBG. Because it’s not bound to either protein, free testosterone can attach to any cell to help with cellular function. Free testosterone can also convert into estradiol or dihydrotestosterone.
Total testosterone is a measure of all testosterone in the body, both testosterone that attaches to proteins (bound) and free testosterone (unbound). Most testosterone binds to protein to make its way through the bloodstream to androgen receptor cells. Once it finds the androgen receptor cells, bound testosterone then binds to them.
The differentiation is very important in terms of bodily functions. Generally speaking, low total and low free testosterone levels have a negative effect on men, and high total and high free testosterone levels can negatively impact women.
Keep Your Sex in Mind
Testosterone is typically associated with males, but it’s an important hormone for both men and women. In men, testosterone plays a key role in the development of male features and the reproductive system. In women, testosterone plays a few key functions. The ovaries produce testosterone, which has an influence on the production of other reproductive hormones. Testosterone also affects bone health, blood cell production and libido in women.
Levels of testosterone are going to be very different for a man compared to a woman. Both sexes have a range for what’s considered normal, but the level is much higher in men than women.
Keep Your Age in Mind
As we age our hormone production changes. For men, testosterone decreases with age. The same is true for women.
Testosterone peaks for women at just 18-19 years old. After that point, testosterone production declines slowly. In men testosterone peaks at 20 years old then slowly starts to decrease. The rate at which testosterone decreases with age varies from person to person, however, there are other health conditions and lifestyle choices that can have a negative impact on testosterone production.
Keep Normal Testosterone Levels in Mind
Before trying to analyze your at-home testosterone test results you’ll need to know what’s normal and what’s not. The primary reason for taking a testosterone test is to gauge where your levels are high, low or normal.
Normal testosterone levels are:
- 270 to 1,070 ng/dL for men
- 15 to 70 ng/dL for women
As noted already, age plays a role in testosterone production for both men and women, which is why there’s a range for what’s considered normal. Regardless of age, if testosterone falls below 300 ng/dL it’s considered low testosterone that warrants further analysis from a primary physician or specialist. About 2% of men have low testosterone according to the American Urological Association.
Keep in Mind You Can Get Help Interpreting Testosterone Test Results
Providers like Choose Health don’t simply give you your testosterone levels and leave you to decipher the results. We provide reports that make it easy to determine if your testosterone levels are normal and how your lifestyle comes into play. You’ll even get evidence-based suggestions on how to improve your health based on the testosterone test results.
If your testosterone levels aren’t normal it’s highly recommended that you schedule an appointment with your primary care physician to go over the results and decide what steps should be taken next. An expert can provide accurate analysis and more guidance on how to positively impact testosterone production.
Haven’t tested your testosterone levels yet? Get started by customizing your at-home test kit to include total testosterone and free testosterone markers.