As a patient you have the right to know, or why Functional Medicine rocks!
Is the Functional Medicine a new way of healing?
Functional Medicine is a personalized approach that uses system-oriented model to detect underlying causes of disease. This approach helps to address the whole person to achieve the highest expression of health and not just isolated set of symptoms.
Where do you begin?
Unfortunately, our current medical system does not put enough effort toward the prevention of a disease. It does not encourage doctors to talk with their patients about their lifestyle habits, or to advise on necessary labs that could catch underlying dysfunction before it becomes full-blown illness.
Many people who have been to a primary care doctor with physical, emotional or mental complaint were told, “All your blood tests look normal. You must be under a lot of stress. Get enough sleep and keep on doing what you’re doing.” Does that sound familiar? At Atlant Health – Chiropractic and Functional Medicine we combine cutting edge testing that help us to reveal the cause of your symptoms.
There are advantages of yearly Functional Blood Tests we order in our office over Routine blood tests regardless of your best efforts following healthy lifestyle. In addition, I would like to emphasize importance of establishing “optimal lab ranges” as opposed to “normal lab ranges”. Even if your blood tests results are within normal ranges, they might not be optimal for your general, physical and mental health. Determining optimal ranges is helpful in taking control over your health.
“Optimal Lab Ranges” Vs “Regular Lab Ranges”
There are two ways to interpret laboratory results. Functional blood chemistry ranges and regular lab ranges. They are also known as “optimal ranges” and “normal ranges.” Test values that fall between optimal ranges and normal ranges are considered sub-clinical and may indicate the beginning stages of disease. In other words, there might be a condition that isn’t bad enough to be treated medically.
Here is an example of a few markers when compared Optimal to Normal ranges.
Most times, very basic blood panel is run to determine a health status. It is impossible to develop right path to healing based on limited information and general lack of focus on disease prevention. The goal of functional blood chemistry analysis is to identify even the slightest shift in these patterns and develop a plan to optimal health. Therefore, comprehensive blood work is necessary to analyze necessary blood markers to have a “bigger picture”.
WHY ANNUAL BLOOD TESTING IS IMPORTANT
At Atlant Health, we provide comprehensive and natural approach. Every patient is a unique individual with his or her story to share and requires a personalized approach toward healing. Based on comprehensive health history and lifestyle habits, we order necessary blood tests (and additional comprehensive tests if necessary), so we can understand the cause of underlying dysfunction. Advanced Functional Blood testing can reveal causal issues with organs and systems not only when a patient presents with symptoms, but far in advance these symptoms become a problem. In addition, we look into “optimal lab ranges” as opposed to “normal lab ranges.”
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There are 5 important blood panels you should do each year.
1. THYROID PANEL
In most primary care offices, you are lucky if your doctor orders 1 or 2 thyroid markers. Usually, the ones ordered are TSH and Total T4. These markers give you a little idea as to how the thyroid gland is functioning. There are 6 additional thyroid-related markers that we run for our patients: Total T3, Free T3, Reverse T3, Free T4, Thyroglobulin Antibody and Thyroid Peroxidase Antibody. This comprehensive thyroid profile can reveal subtle changes in function and suggest how we need to address these issues before they might become full blown dysfunction.
It is important that we concern with getting to “optimal ranges” as oppose to “normal ranges”. For example, in the case of TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone), the “normal range” is suggested to be 0.3 – 5.0 uIU/ml, while “optimal range” is 1.8 – 3.0 uIU/ml. When, lab findings fall out of “optimal ranges”, a patient might present with “unexplainable” symptoms that are often blamed on stress.
2. ESSENTIAL NUTRIENTS: IRON, ZINC, COPPER, CALCIUM, MAGNESIUM, VITAMIN D (25-OH and 1,25-Di-OH), VITAMIN B12, FOLATE.
These essential nutrients are very important for optimal bodily function, but not always checked during a routine primary care visit. These nutrients are involved in thousands of chemical reactions that take place in almost every cell of your body. Many people are either deficient in these nutrients or have imbalance of those for various reasons that might result in altered function. It is imperative that we check these levels and supplement them if necessary.
Again, it’s important that we evaluate “optimal range” and not “normal range”. For example, “normal range” for Copper (serum) 80 – 155 ug/dl, while the “optimal range” is more like 70 – 110 ug/gl. Reviews of many scientific studies have shown that if Copper exceeds 110 ug/gl, it may result in anxiety disorders, mania, frequent headaches, yeast infections, acne, estrogen dominance, skin and connective tissue disorders, PMS, cardiomyopathy, and some others.
3. COMPLETE METABOLIC PANEL AND COMPLETE BLOOD COUNT
These two blood panels are always ordered during yearly physical and offer a lot of information. They are vital to understanding a person’s electrolyte and hydration status; gastrointestinal, liver, kidney and adrenal function. These values would also indicate if someone is fighting an acute or chronic infection, has anemia, or clotting issues.
In terms of “optimal ranges”, when we look at slight shift of liver enzyme markers, we can tell that there might be a detoxification issue, need for Zinc and Vitamin B6, or liver inflammation issue that should be addressed right away.
4. METABOLIC MARKERS: HEMOGLOBIN A1C, FASTING GLUCOSE AND INSULIN, LDH, LIPID PANEL
These markers are essential in evaluating how a person is processing macronutrients that they consume. In most cases, a basic lipid panel and glucose level would be done yearly, and if you’re lucky you’ll also get a Hemoglobin A1c. For patients at higher risk of heart disease, we run Expanded Blood Lipid panel that includes LDL-Oxidized, Lipoprotein (A), Sd-LDL, Apolipoprotein A1 and Apolipoprotein B. This can help us better determine whether there is increased heart disease risk from their cholesterol levels. Many times, people are told that they have high cholesterol levels when they are not actually a risk. For example, “normal ranges” for Total Cholesterol are suggested below 200mg/dL, while “optimal ranges” are 170 – 240 mg/dL, while Triglycerides are 10 – 149 mg/dL and 60 – 100 mg/dL respectively.
The Hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) is a relative marker of oxidation. It measures blood glucose level average over the past 3 months period. Having elevated blood glucose levels is an indication that body is not processing glucose properly. This creates excessive oxidation, damage to proteins, DNA, and various tissues in our bodies over time. Elevated levels of of HbA1c can increase risk for diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and Alzheimer’s disease.
5. INFLAMMATORY MARKERS: HSCRP, HOMOCYSTEINE, HISTAMINE
Inflammatory markers like these are rarely checked at a routine blood test. HSCRP is produced in the liver and is an indication of inflammation throughout the body. Even mild increases in hsCRP (above 2.0 mg/L) are associated with increased risk of things like cardiac events. An elevation can tell us that there is something inflammatory happening in the body that should be addressed, whether it be from physical trauma, emotional stress, oxidative stress, environmental toxicity, allergy, sedentary lifestyle, or food sensitivities.
Homocysteine is an amino acid found in the blood and requires methylated Folate and Vitamin B12 to be cleared and re-used in Methionine and Folate cycles. A healthcare practitioner may order a homocysteine test to determine if a person has a vitamin B12 or folate deficiency, because homocysteine concentrations may become elevated before B12 and folate tests are abnormal. Elevations of Homocysteine may indicate something like heart disease risk.
In addition to Homocysteine, another marker which often overlooked is Histamine. Besides been an allergic reactant, histamine helps to determine methylation status of a patient. This helps to create very specific natural recommendations.
Having blood tests done is not what is essential to your health. The importance is in the interpretation of these tests and recommendations that you get from your doctor and how that transforms into your life that will affect your health.
At Atlant Health we believe in helping patients find optimal health through a personalized approach that sees each patient as a unique interchange of genetics, environment, spirituality and lifestyle. We use systems-oriented approach to find the root cause of disfunction and facilitate healing by restoring balance bringing mind and body back into alignment. Have any questions, please call us (212) 888-0520, or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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