Disclaimer: I'm not a medical professional, and writing from a fellow powerlifter's perspective. If you think you have a medical condition that requires attention, always consult directly with your healthcare provider. Also, seek immediate attention from your doctor.
Having your blood work done is one of the more overlooked aspects of checking in on your health and can be seen as either unnecessary or requiring an elaborate amount of time & effort to set up. Nothing could be further from the truth! Getting blood work done while on steroids allows for you & your doctor to see how your organs are functioning, along with the test evaluating if you are at risk for a disease (such as diabetes, anemia, HIV/AIDS, etc.).
A Full Panel May Include:
- Complete Metabolic Panel
- Lipid Panel with Total Cholesterol: HDL Ratio
- Thyroid Panel & TSH
- Complete Blood Count (CBC)
- Kidney Panel
- Liver Panel
- Glucose, Fluid, and Electrolytes
I strongly recommend the Hormone Blood Test for men: Men's bodies are a bit stronger; hence, they can use specific tests that women could not. Check out the quiz below and see if it works for you.
- Sex Hormone Binding Globulin + Testosterone, Free & Total
Both test use markers for evaluating testosterone levels in men and women. Often men with low testosterone suffer from low energy, erectile dysfunction, and hypothalamus disorders. Women with high testosterone can suffer problems such as infertility, Hirsutism (abnormal hair growth),) and Virilization (masculine features)
They are used to evaluate thyroid function to detect any possible signs of thyroid gland problems. Examples include hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism, which can severely affect weight loss or gain, and irregular menstrual cycles.
Follicle Stimulating Hormone/ Luteinizing Hormone use to measure healthy adrenal gland function in men and reproductive health in women to help diagnose Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) or lack of menstruation (Amenorrhea).
Men produce estrogen through a process involving an enzyme called aromatase that transforms testosterone into estradiol. Aging men sometimes have too much-aromatized activity, which causes their testosterone to convert to excess estradiol.
With this as a start, you & your doctor can see the current condition of your body & make an action plan of the following steps to take if there is anything that requires attention. To give an idea of what the panel results look like. Here are some of my actual results from earlier this year:
From this portion of my results, testosterone is consideredtypicalmal the "healthy" range, along with Creatinine levels and TSH. My Vitamin D levels were significantly lower than the usual normal range. Therefore I was deficient in Vitamin D. Vitamin D (particularly Vitamin D3) helps the body move calcium to the proper areas of the body, such as the bones and teeth.
Must Read: Vitamin D Benefits for Bodybuilders
Along with this, Vitamin D3 is thought to help with overall immune support & keeping your system resistant to bacteria & viruses. As such, I've been recommended by my doctor to take 5,000 IU of Vitamin D3 in supplement form, and my levels should hopefully be within the normal range when I have my next blood test done in a few months.
Blood work after running a cycle
Blood work is also precious as feedback on how your body is doing after running a cycle. Even if you follow a solid protocol for post-cycle therapy, you won't know your hormone levels without having an actual hormone test done.
If you decide to have your hormones tested by your usual health care provider, you MUST ask your doctor to have a hormone panel separate from the standard board usually given to patients. Suppose you feel uncomfortable with having your blood test results documented with your healthcare provider or don't have health insurance. In that case, you can also access MyLabFax and set up a hormone blood test at a local lab in your area.
Post Cycle Therapy
Don't rely solely on how you feel or what symptoms you see/don't see to assess your health! For example, let's say you run a 16-week cycle of testosterone at 750 mg and run PCT for four weeks afterward. How are you sure that your estrogen levels are indeed back to normal? How do you know whether you'll need to run an anti-estrogen during your next cycle or if your body doesn't produce enough excessive amounts of estrogen while you run a test to warrant using Arimidex?
You won't know for sure without having a test done. It is not a bad idea to run A-Dex for a few weeks. If you think your estrogen levels elevate during/after a cycle. But there is certainly nothing wrong with having actual blood work done to learn better how YOUR body responds to exogenous hormones. Furthermore, you'll get to assess whether you need to take an extended amount of time off / cruising on a low TRT dose. Whether everything is good to go, you can push your next cycle a little bit for your next meet.
If, for some reason, you are apprehensive about your healthcare provider having irregular blood work records you. There is always the option of working with Private MD Labs. Your test results are entirely confidential. And cannot be shared with your employer or any other party whatsoever.
Read More: How Much Do Steroids Cost
Overall, having your blood work done once a year is a good start towards taking action with the state of your health and knowing exactly where you stand with deficiencies & conditions that need to be addressed. Don't assume that just because you look & feel healthy that everything is in check.
The last thing you want is for things to go haywire when you are running your next cycle. Because you went solely by "feel" on the status of your vitals. Take advantage of using your healthcare provider, and make sure you're in good shape!