As your own health detective and health advocate you should consider doing some testing to see what’s really going on in your body. This is especially important if you’ve been feeling a bit off, have unexplained symptoms, or are finding that belly fat is sticking around (in spite of being on a healthy diet and taking care of yourself in other ways).
I believe that “measuring” one’s health is the best way to know if your “supposedly healthy” lifestyle is truly serving you!
In my previous blog I talked about the simple test that you can take at home to check your blood sugar.
I hope you have purchased your glucose meter and have been tracking your measurements. What have you found out thus far about your blood sugar? Are you insulin resistant?
Do not despair if you found out that you have underlying problems. That’s a good thing. Knowing about problems means you can now fix them!
My doctor’s office says my tests are “NORMAL”
It is very common to be told your tests are normal. But my argument to that is that a normal range is not necessarily a healthy range or an optimal range – especially for any given person! We’re all individuals with very different genes, habits, and lifestyles. Do we really want to compare ourselves to a generic population? (Oh, and a generic population that has cancer, diabetes, and other diseases?)
And you shouldn’t want to, either, especially if you have unexplained symptoms… And remember in my previous blog when I found out I had blood sugar issues? I didn’t have any symptoms that I had noticed, but I had a serious, invisible, underlying problem!
You can do a lot of things to figure out your overall health baseline. You can work with a practitioner to help you interpret your findings, but you can also figure out a lot of things on your own as well. Or do both (but with the knowledge you have in hand to ask the right questions and ensure you receive the right guidance!).
At my Spring Into Vitality conference coming up in June we actually spend a fair amount of time on functional testing: what tests should you take depending on your own situation, how to assess your particular results, and we even develop a specific roadmap unique to you that encompasses necessary diet, nutrient, and lifestyle changes.
There are a few tests I recommend everyone get as a baseline.
These can be requested through your doctor’s office if you have medical insurance that will pay for them and a doctor that’s willing to request the tests for you.
If not, there is a simple alternative, using a “direct access lab” that does not require doctor’s orders. Direct Labs is one such lab that I use; it was created with the intent of offering medical lab testing services directly to consumers, without the need for a doctor’s orders. This puts control of your healthcare in your hands, where it belongs. They offer a wide variety of blood chemistry tests, as well as specialized nutritional testing, directly to you online at discounted prices up to 80% off.
You can place an order online at www.directlabs.com/drritamarie, or call (800) 908-0000 and use the code, R-RITA. If online, you’ll come to my page on their site, with the available tests that I’ve specifically chosen or packaged, and a Q and A that answers many questions.
Direct Labs does not file insurance claims, but can provide you with CPT codes so that you can try and get reimbursement yourself (it will depend on your insurance company; contact them to get specific information relating to your benefits). Medicare won’t reimburse for Direct Labs testing if you order it yourself. There is a lot more info on their site. And note that Direct Labs is only available in the continental U.S., and not available in some states (New York, New Jersey, and Rhode Island) due to state laws.
Here are the tests that I usually recommend to get a baseline on your health
Note that this list is by no means comprehensive! But it will uncover many elements of your overall health.
Comprehensive Wellness Profile (CWP)
I like to start with a comprehensive blood chemistry panel and Complete Blood Count (CBC). Direct Labs calls this the Comprehensive Wellness Profile, aka CWP. It’s a panel of over 50 tests that assesses your thyroid, kidneys, liver, cholesterol and other blood lipids (fats), minerals, fluids and electrolytes, and blood sugar.
The CWP includes the Complete Blood Count test, which assesses your immune system and determines if you have anemia, and what kind of anemia if so.
The cost for the test is less than $100 and sometimes they will run monthly specials as well.
Dr. Ritamarie’s Basic Panel
Another great panel, Dr. Ritamarie’s Basic Panel, actually includes the above (CWP), as well as testing for Vitamin D, 25-Hydroxy, and Thyroid Peroxide.
Most people have a vitamin D deficiency due to both working indoors and protecting themselves from the sun whenever outdoors. A deficiency can result in fatigue, depression, and an altered immune system. And it is so easy to correct! Why wouldn’t you want to know!
And if you’ve been known or suspected to have thyroid problems, chronic fatigue, autoimmune disease, chronic inflammation, digestive problems, or hormone imbalances, the Thyroid Peroxidase Antibodies (TPO) test is very helpful, and included in this basic panel package.
The best part of all of these tests is that they are readily available and can empower you to take charge of your health! I do realize that costs can add up. That is why it is important you know which tests are going to be most beneficial for you. That’s where additional training can help.
Want to learn more about testing? Join me in June at Spring Into Vitality. You will learn much more about the above tests, including how to interpret your own results. Also, we will talk about other testing that is available for more in-depth functional testing. Do you think being a chemist is going to be hard? NO, it isn’t, if you have the right person teaching you what you need to know. Join us!