Physician Visits: Secrets to Make Them Effective and Accurately Determine Your Level of Health
It is no secret that our health care system is the most costly in the world by a large margin. Equally concerning is that this expensive health care bill only yields the 37th healthiest developed country in the world.
A major factor for this discrepancy is that many tests routinely performed yield little information or are misinterpreted adding excessive, additional costs. One unfortunate factor forcing excessive (many times unnecessary) testing is the practice of ordering tests simply for legal protection but which are not necessary for the health of their patient.
Lab values now are interpreted using broader laboratory values which actually classify many unhealthy people as “within normal limits.” These marginally healthy people, if classified by functional or healthy lab values, would detect disease initiation far earlier rather than waiting until advanced disease manifests not detected when using the broader laboratory values. Utilizing functional lab value interpretation would significantly reduce health care costs and result in a healthier population because earlier detected illness is easier to treat and significantly less expensive. Preventive or early detection diagnostics should be the norm not the exception.
Critical Health Tests for a Healthier Life
With this in mind these important and significant lab tests will detect early onset illness and keep you far healthier while ultimately decreasing health care costs.
- Complete Blood Chemistry and Metabolic Panel
If done to detect anemia, infection or blood cancer rather than performed routinely when healthy this test will yield important health information. Interpretation using functional blood values will be more precise and detect illness or disease far earlier.
Metabolic panel testing will aid in determining the health of your heart, liver and kidney as well as blood sugar, calcium and electrolyte metabolism, all critical health information.
This simple saliva test (Adrenal Stress Index or ASI) will assess adrenal health and abnormal cortisol levels. High cortisol affects the heart, muscles, brain and the bones while low cortisol usually indicates a compromised immune system. The ASI test accurately measures cortisol levels as cortisol varies throughout the day along a known pattern. Deviations from this pattern will raise early health concerns which can be usually easily treated.
High homocysteine levels jeopardize your heart and brain. Healthy homocysteine should be less than 9 u mol/L.
- Hemoglobin A1c
This blood value indicating blood sugar over several months will assist in the early detection of diabetes. Treating prediabetes or early diabetes is much easier, less costly, healthier and more successful than treating advanced diabetes. A functionally healthy Hemoglobin A1c is less than 6.0 %. Resolving early diabetes (prediabetes) is a great predictor of overall health.
- C Reactive Protein (CRP)
CRP is produced in the liver and is a measure of chronic inflammation. Inflammation levels profoundly affect all tissues but most specifically the heart. The CRP marker is significantly more critical than cholesterol levels for determining heart health.
- Omega Fatty Acids
This measures the ratio of omega 6 fatty acids to omega 3’s which is critical to the health of every cell. The healthy ratio is 4 omega 6’s to 1 omega 3 not the US’s average ratio of 16 to 1.
Omega 3’s are from fish, nuts, olive oil and coconut oil to name a few sources while omega 6’s are from vegetable oils and many meats which are not free range or pasture raised.
- Vitamin B12
Low levels of B12 (less than 200 ng/Liter) affect anemia, fatigue, brain health, bone health and more. Antacids, the medication metformin combined with the standard American diet (SAD) deplete Vitamin B 12.
- Vitamin D
This “hormone” is critical for bone, heart, brain health and our immune system. This is typically low in most of the US population. The desired, healthy level should be greater than 50 ng/ml.
Most of these lab values can be normalized with a healthy diet and life style changes. Well directed and appropriate laboratory tests will help maximize your health efforts.
Factors affecting lab values are your sex, age, medications and life style. These should be considered when interpreting lab test results. If there is an abnormal lab value, retaking that test would be critical for confirmation resulting in correct actions.
Tests which yield little information: Reconsider these tests before having them performed
- Regular Chest X-rays have been shown to yield little information except for monitoring smokers (active or ex-smokers) or people exposed to unhealthy air (e.g. miners)
- EKG’s as advised by Dr. Mark Micozzi, should be performed if there are existing heart conditions not as regular screening tests.
- Lipids- Lipid levels indicate little unless excessively high (e.g. above 275). Lipid levels are generally used to prescribe statins which lead to unhealthy levels of CoQ10 among other adverse side effects. Lipids are critical for overall health and if artificially low as a result of statin use, illness including mental dysfunction may ensue.
Use the other tests above as opposed to lipid levels for your health assessment. Become an educated health consumer and do not be afraid to question or research the necessity of certain lab tests or even request certain tests if not recommended. You have more at stake with your health than anyone else so becoming educated about health is critical.
The above recommended tests are directly related to the diagnosis of health and are well supported by extensive research. Test results accurately correspond with levels of health or disease.
Also, remember that is very important to enjoy the journey,