Know your numbers. I talk to many people in the course of business. I find that most don’t know much about their blood work. I commonly hear people say that their blood work is “normal”, but when they actually look at the numbers, there may be several out of range. Medical doctors use blood work to diagnose disease. If there is no disease pattern present, then the lab work is pronounced “normal.”
From my standpoint, the real value of regular blood work is a preventive aspect. What if your blood work is “normal” for several years in a row, but steadily moving towards the end of a “normal” range? Wouldn’t you want to know and be able to make some changes so that you do not progress into the “disease” range?
Being able to look at your blood work in this manner could make big differences in your overall health in the long run. Standard blood work can give lots of information about nutritional intake, digestion, mineral balance, immune status, liver function and kidney function. In most cases, health problems do not begin overnight. Regular blood work as a preventive tool tells you what areas to target and if the things you are doing are actually working.
Abnormal blood chemistry usually indicates an underlying functional issue. For example, high triglyceride and cholesterol levels are typically used as markers for cardiovascular risk, but they also can indicate deficiencies of essential fatty acids, blood sugar issues, liver / gallbladder dysfunction, thyroid problems and poor digestive function.
For long-term health, I believe it is much better to solve the underlying health issue rather than just taking a pill to deal with the symptoms. Nutritionally oriented doctors will use narrower blood ranges to help pinpoint deficiencies and / or functional issues that can be addressed with nutrition. Using narrower blood ranges helps identify issues that are not yet “clinical.”
Thyroid problems are a good example of this. It is common to find someone with classic signs of low thyroid and to hear that their lab work is “normal.” A nutritionally oriented practitioner can look at the different ranges of the blood chemistries to determine if the symptoms are the result of nutrient deficiencies, pituitary gland issues and / or interference from substances in drinking water or diet.
The Green House sponsors a group called Health Check two times per year at six month intervals. Health Check is an independent lab that performs health screenings full time. On Tuesday, January 20th, they will be at the Green House in Mason from 7:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. to take blood for laboratory analysis. This service is relatively inexpensive and completely confidential. Call us at 325-347-6040 if you would like more information.
Knowing your numbers and keeping up with them allows you to take control of your health. Remember, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
Margaret Durst is a naturopathic doctor who owns The Green House, a vitamin, herb and health food store in Mason, Texas.