Lab tests are useful objective markers that help clinicians make informed decisions. However, I look at your test results from a different point of view than your doctor. When your doctor looks at your test results from an “acute care” point of view, they are mainly concerned with ‘extreme’ results (are your iron levels extremely low? are your cholesterol levels extremely elevated? is your thyroid function extremely low?). What happens to all of the people whose results are “high end of normal” or “low end of normal”? Well, unfortunately, they get ignored. Many patients with “high end of normal” or “low end of normal” test results still experience the same symptoms as those whose results are “high” or “low”, but they don’t get any treatment.
For example, I’ve had countless patients whose doctors told them their iron levels are “normal”, despite the fact that they’re experiencing fatigue, poor memory, foggy headedness, brittle nails, hair loss, poor focus, etc. We will often notice their iron results are ‘low normal’, and will benefit from improving their iron levels through dietary changes and supplementation. If you were experiencing these symptoms, would you want to wait until your iron reached extremely low levels? Neither would I!
As a naturopathic doctor, I help you take a pro-active approach to your health. I also take a ‘pro-active’ mindset when I interpret your lab test results. When I assess your lab test results, I’m not just looking for “normal/abnormal” results, I’m also looking to see if your results are “optimal”. Know the difference? Let me use an analogy…
If you scored 52% on a math test, would you simply be happy that you “passed”? For most of us, we would take action to get the highest score we can on the next test. This is how I look at your lab test results; I’m not merely looking for you to ‘pass’ your test – my goal is to make sure your test results are as good as they can possibly be. I want to ensure that your thyroid, liver, cholesterol, hormones, blood sugar, vitamins, minerals, and immune system are all at optimal levels – thus, helping you reach your optimal level of health.
In addition to achieving ‘optimal’ lab test results, I’m also using your lab test results to help us be ‘preventative’. Let’s use blood sugar levels as an example: if your doctor diagnoses a patient with diabetes, it’s unlikely they suddenly developed elevated blood sugar levels. Even though their doctor told them their blood sugar levels were “normal” every year, this patient probably had ‘high-normal’ or ‘sub-optimal’ blood sugar levels much earlier. When I look at your blood sugar results, I will check if your levels indicate a state of ‘pre-diabetes’ or ‘insulin resistance’. These would be very early indicators that you’re at a higher risk of developing diabetes in the future, so we would want to start improving your diet and blood sugar levels now.
The same can be said about cholesterol levels – why would we want to wait until I notice your LDL ‘bad’ cholesterol or triglyceride levels are very high? I would much rather spot “sub-optimal” cholesterol levels early and start correcting this issue right away. Being ahead of the game gives you the best fighting chance of improving your health naturally and avoiding unnecessary or harmful medications. This is what preventative medicine is all about!
If your lab test results look ‘normal’, but you still feel crummy, it’s best for us to discuss these results together in greater detail. We will look for “sub-optimal” results so we can tackle your health concerns as early as possible. Remember, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”.
As always, thank you very much for taking the time to read this article.
Dr. Michael Morsillo, H.B.Sc., N.D.
Newmarket Naturopathic Doctor
16655 Yonge St., Newmarket, ON
905-898-1844 ext. 135