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Healthcare collaboration tackles testosterone deficiency in Wales

Medichecks data reveals men in Wales have among the lowest testosterone levels, with Londoners topping the league

A collaboration of two UK healthcare specialists is helping deliver an efficient and reliable healthcare service to men across Wales – as new data from Medichecks indicates that residents in the country have among the lowest testosterone levels in the UK.

Testosterone deficiency is just one of the under-recognised and often overlooked conditions supported by Men’s Health Wales, a private GP clinic in Bridgend specialising in restoring and improving the health of men of all ages.

Men’s Health Wales joined forces with UK leading remote blood testing company Medichecks in 2020, to allow access to hormone profiles, along with other biomarkers including diabetic, cholesterol and prostate screens. It means its team of clinicians could truly optimise patient care. Since forging the partnership three years ago, orders for tests that monitor testosterone levels have tripled.

Dr Janine David, Founder and Medical Director of Men’s Health Wales, explains: “Testosterone deficiency cannot be diagnosed reliably without accurate venous blood samples. By being able to access a trusted diagnostics platform from Medichecks, we have expanded our service for patients with this condition, which is often underdiagnosed. Having access to this blood testing means we have been able to support many men with testosterone deficiency who otherwise may not have received the treatment and management they needed in the community.”

Low testosterone is a complex issue, with decreased levels in males leading to symptoms such as erectile dysfunction, affected sleep, mood fluctuations, fatigue, muscle mass, the size of the testicles, and more. In both males and females, low testosterone can also lead to lower bone mass and reduced sex drive.

While testosterone levels peak in early adulthood and gradually decline from the mid-30s or 40s, Medichecks’ proprietary data found wide regional variations based on over 20,000 results logged via its platform from 2020 to 2022. It revealed that men in Wales had an average testosterone level of 16.4 (measured in nmol/L), compared to men in London having 17.2 (the highest in the UK).

In fact, Wales had lower levels of the hormone than those living in London, Yorkshire and The Humber, East Midlands, South West England, and North West England, as well as in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Dr Paul van der Westhuizen, Men’s Health Lead at Medichecks, explains: “Testosterone deficiency can be attributed to range of factors. Age is relevant and so it could be surmised that London’s high levels are due to a younger population in that area of the UK.

“But there are also genetic and environmental factors at play, such as diet, alcohol consumption, obesity and even seasonality. In fact, our data also demonstrates that, based on 50,000 biomarkers, serum testosterone fluctuates throughout the year, peaking in early spring and early autumn.

“What’s hugely important is access to diagnostic testing so deficiencies can be identified and then effectively treated, and so it’s fantastic to be working with Men’s Health Wales, which is helping an increasing number of patients to get the help they need to manage this condition and its symptoms.”

Men’s Health Wales encourages active health promotion, targeted advice and investigation by specialists in andrology and sexual medicine. Referrals to its services are from other healthcare professionals, although self-referrals are also welcomed.

Dr Janine David adds: “Medichecks has been particularly helpful by providing us with a bespoke service so we can meet the specialist needs of our patients.

“Patients benefit from a comprehensive set of bloods at initial screening and a more selective set of bloods at their review appointments, which allows us to also keep costs reasonable for our patients, whilst providing a very thorough service.”

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Plasma is a complete pathology platform launched in 2023, enabling organisations in the digital, public and private healthcare sectors to offer hassle-free, flexible diagnostic testing as a service. Its customers can access a comprehensive collection of more than 100 finger-prick and venous blood tests, via its trusted UKAS-accredited partner laboratories. Customisable branding, communications and white label packages are available, delivered through an intuitive digital portal that can plug into existing system APIs. Plasma is powered by the UK’s first direct-to-consumer blood testing company Medichecks. With over 20 years of experience in delivering home health testing, spanning areas including thyroid conditions, fitness testing and fertility, the company has an enviable network of 200 partner phlebotomy clinics nationwide.

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