5 Surprising Things a Blood Panel Says About Men’s Mental Health

Men’s Mental Health

Most men would rather do anything—even cleaning the toilet or mowing the lawn—than go to the doctor. This is one of the findings of a 2019 Cleveland Clinics survey, which also showed that 65% of men who have health symptoms or an injury wait as long as possible to go to the doctor. We all know avoiding the doctor can negatively impact men’s physical health. But what many men don’t realize is that a routine blood panel can also reveal hidden causes of mental health symptoms like depression, anxiety, attentional issues, and memory loss.

Avoiding the doctor can negatively impact men’s physical health. Many men don’t realize a routine blood panel can also reveal hidden causes of mental health symptoms like depression, anxiety, attentional issues, and memory loss. Click To Tweet

Here are 5 things the blood panel at an annual physical can tell you about men’s psychological and cognitive health.

1. High Blood Pressure

Hypertension has long been associated with an increased risk of stroke or heart disease, but that’s not the only downside. High blood pressure also impacts blood flow to the brain, and low blood flow on brain SPECT imaging has been seen with depression, suicide, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, ADHD, traumatic brain injury, hoarding, murder, substance abuse, seizure activity, and more. In fact, low blood flow is the #1 brain imaging predictor that a person will develop Alzheimer’s disease, according to neuroimaging research in Nature Communications.

2. Low Testosterone

Men may associate low testosterone levels with sexual dysfunction, such as a dwindling sex drive, problems getting or maintaining an erection, and low semen counts. But the effects of decreased testosterone levels can also impact a man’s mental health. Common symptoms like moodiness, anxiety, depression, and difficulty concentrating may be related to low testosterone.

3. High Blood Sugar Levels

High blood sugar is an indicator of pre-diabetes or diabetes, which is associated with a vast array of physical ailments, including increased risk of stroke, heart disease, vision problems, and numbness or tingling in the hands and feet. Less well-known is the fact that high blood sugar is associated with a smaller hippocampus, an important brain region associated with mood, learning, and memory. Blood sugar issues are linked to symptoms of depression, anxiety, irritability, anger, trouble concentrating, and schizophrenia. And diabetes puts people at greater risk of developing vascular dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, according to research in the journal Diabetes Mellitus.

4. Abnormal thyroid levels

The thyroid gland, which is located in the lower neck, plays an important role in keeping the body and brain healthy. When thyroid levels are abnormal, it can have a major impact on physical health, including fatigue and weight gain (hypothyroidism, or underactive thyroid) or faster heartbeat and weight loss (hyperthyroidism, or overactive thyroid). Imbalanced thyroid levels also contribute to psychiatric and cognitive symptoms. For example, hypothyroidism has been linked to depression, difficulty concentrating, attentional problems, psychosis, and memory problems. Hyperthyroidism is associated with anxiety, irritability, racing thoughts, mania, psychosis, and more.

5. High C-Reactive Protein Levels

Elevated levels of C-reactive protein (CRP) in the blood are an indicator of chronic inflammation, which is associated with a wide range of physical illnesses, such as heart disease, arthritis, gastrointestinal disorders, persistent pain, and cancer. What men may not realize is that scientific research points to a link between systemic inflammation a host of psychiatric and neurological issues, including depression, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, personality disorders, Alzheimer’s disease, and Parkinson’s disease.  Research has also found a connection between elevated inflammation and suicidal behavior.

Treating Men’s Physical Health Issues for Better Mental Health

Getting a comprehensive blood panel at an annual physical isn’t just good for your physical health, it can also be beneficial for a man’s mental well-being. That’s provided you see a doctor who has a deep understanding of the links between bloodwork results and psychiatric and cognitive issues. Unfortunately, many traditional doctors and primary care physicians aren’t aware of the connection between biology and psychology. That’s where integrative medicine comes in.

Integrative medicine physicians, also known as functional medicine doctors or integrative psychiatrists, can be especially helpful in finding the biological root causes of psychiatric symptoms or cognitive problems. These highly trained healthcare providers are well-versed in knowing which diagnostic blood tests are the most valuable to order, and they are skilled in using the most effective and least toxic treatments. Addressing any biological contributors to psychiatric and neurological disorders can provide powerful help for a man’s mind, moods, and memory.

At Amen Clinics, we’re here for you. Our integrative psychiatrists and functional medicine doctors can partner with men to optimize your physical health, mental health, and brain health. We offer in-clinic brain scanning and appointments, as well as mental telehealth, remote clinical evaluations, and video therapy for adults, children, and couples. Find out more by speaking to a specialist today at 888-288-9834 or visit our contact page here.

8 Comments

  1. Where can I find an integrative medical physician in Hillsborough County, Florida? If I ask someone at Blue Cross, they may not have heard of such a speciality.

    Comment by VERONICA PALUMBO — June 18, 2021 @ 3:49 AM

  2. I am interested in locating a specialist that you mentioned. Do you know of an integrative medical physician in Hillsborough County, Florida?

    Comment by VERONICA PALUMBO — June 18, 2021 @ 3:50 AM

  3. Hi! I am going to be a family NP. Would it be covered to check the thyroid of a man in general because of depressive or other psychiatric symptoms? I was think yes on the testosterone, but as a new NP I don’t want to go overboard as well. Would I bother w a CRP bc it is rather generic and counsel on things that could increase inflammation?
    Thank you!

    Comment by Alison Gill — June 18, 2021 @ 5:24 AM

  4. This is very relevant for several reasons-and a very good suggestion for men AND women- as part of a preventative package- for a baseline and for early intervention.

    Comment by Michael Shaughnessy — June 18, 2021 @ 5:52 AM

  5. Hello Veronica, thank you for reaching out. Amen Clinics currently has 9 locations (with a 10th coming soon): https://www.amenclinics.com/locations/. If you’re unable to travel to one of our locations, our Care Coordinators may be able to assist you with resources or referrals closer to you. For more information, please contact our Care Coordinators: https://www.amenclinics.com/schedule-visit/.

    Comment by Amen Clinics — June 18, 2021 @ 2:18 PM

  6. Hello Alison, thank you for reaching out. We’d be happy to contact you directly with information about our services and possible answers to your questions. We look forward to speaking with you!

    Comment by Amen Clinics — June 21, 2021 @ 7:58 AM

  7. Can you please let me know how much it will cost for a spect and do you charge for consultation

    Comment by Patricia — June 21, 2021 @ 8:27 AM

  8. Hello Patricia, thank you for reaching out. Amen Clinics offers consultations and different types of evaluations based on the needs of the patient. For information regarding pricing, insurance, and financing options, please contact our Care Coordinators: https://www.amenclinics.com/schedule-visit/.

    Comment by Amen Clinics — June 21, 2021 @ 12:00 PM

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