How many of us have ever bought a new car (or new to us) and never changed the oil, never washed it, never changed the air filter, checked the tire pressure, or even filled it up with quality gas for that matter? We need to take care of our car because it takes care of us, right?
Its surprising how we as a society tend to take better care of our cars than we do our own bodies. The single most important thing we have; we put junk gas in it, we drive on the worst roads (literally), and we rarely clean the filters (liver and kidneys!).
Our health is a reflection of all our body parts and their ability to do their job well. Oftentimes, unexplained fatigue or a need for a nap that didn’t used to happen can indicate a new development in the function of the body. Chronic hunger can indicate a lack of digestive capacity, weight gain can imply blood sugar dysregulation, and shortness of breath can lead to a cardiovascular finding. Addressing these things with the philosophy of fix the cause, not the symptom goes a long way towards a healthy life and fewer medications.
One of the ways we can get a tune up is to get regular blood work, make sure everything is in a functional range and take action to bring the items that are out of a functional range into a healthy range. Let’s talk about what kind of things we see on a lab report.
BLOOD GLUCOSE: helps determine if you are a pre-diabetic or type 2 diabetic One in three American adults has some sort of blood sugar dysregulation today!
- Fasting Glucose
- Hemoglobin A1C: 3 month average of your blood sugar
LIPID PANEL: helps determine the efficiency of the liver, and whether or not you are eating the wrong kind of fats. Also an indicator for your heart health risk factors.
COMPREHENSIVE METABOLIC PANEL: helps to assess general health parameters. If you are getting enough veggies that support minerals, whether digestion is sufficient, and how well your filters are working.
- Liver enzymes
- Kidney function
- Minerals: Calcium, Magnesium, Potassium, Sodium, etc
- Protein levels
VITAMIN D: helps assess bone and immune health
IRON PANEL: helps assess whether or not anemia is an issue
THYROID FUNCTION: helps to determine metabolic health, the ability of the body to create energy out of food, skin and gut function, as well as general mental well-being.
COMPLETE BLOOD COUNT: helps to evaluate general immune health. Chronic vs acute infections, anemias, and blood clotting mechanisms.
- White and red blood cell counts and sizes
- Platelet count
INFLAMMATION MARKERS: helps to identify markers that indicate the body is under-performing either as a result of deficiency or inability to remove waste products.
- Uric acid
Common Lab Tests
- Blood Glucose
- Lipid Panel
- Vit D
- Iron Panel
- Inflamation Markers
These are some of the basic blood lab panels, which obviously can be a great jumping off point for getting your health back on track. If you feel like it is time for your tune up, let my office know and I am happy to provide you with an affordable cash lab order. I am contracted with the local labs and the results are sent directly to my office. We can then schedule an appointment to review them in detail. If you have already had lab work done from your primary care doctor in the last year, ask for a copy of the results and we can review them together. Now you may be thinking, “My doctor said my test results were normal, why do I need them reviewed again?” There is a difference between a “normal” range and an “optimal” range. The lab ranges are an average taken from everyone (sick or healthy!) in a geographical area. So perhaps your iron results are “average,” but who wants average function when they could have peak performance?
Let me give you an example: A lab range for Total Iron may be 60-170, but an optimal range is 85-130! If you went to get your labs done and you value was 62 (at the low end) or 168 (at the high end), the doctor would tell you your results were “normal” and send you on your way. But is this optimal health? You may be on your way towards a serious health issue. This is why comparing your results to the average may not uncover dysfunction until it is too late! I use optimal ranges to guarantee that your body keeps performing at peak performance, instead of waiting for a serious issue to emerge.
Many of my wellness patients only need labs once a year, just as a way to make sure they are maintaining or improving their health, its like an annual tune up. What you don’t know can sometimes be harmful. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!
Dr. Virginia S. Irby D.C.,DABCO, ACN
2371 Iron Point Rd. Ste. 130
Folsom, CA 95630