Why didn’t anybody tell me?
It is extremely unfortunate that most patients will not even think of going to a doctor until they have symptoms, which can have dire consequences, including a poorer quality of life, and possibly premature death, simply for not getting our bodies checked out.
Why do we take better care of our cars than our bodies? We can potentially buy another car, we can’t buy another body! How long would a car last if the owner did no regular maintenance, such as oil change, rotate the tires, etc. and just keep driving it until there was a problem?
A female patient, presented to our medical clinic with a sinus infection. Upon our doing our routine “cast a wide net blood test,” she was discovered to have a triglyceride level of 1,375! The standard reference range is under 150 for triglycerides (70-80 optimal range). She was completely unaware of her triglyceride level and that she was at serious risk of cardiovascular disease/atherosclerosis, diabetes, fatty liver and other conditions – until we did the blood tests.
After just 30 days on her prescribed naturopathic natural lifestyle treatment, which did not include any nutritional supplements, her new triglyceride level dropped into the optimal range of 75 – after just one month of treatment.
Who knows how long she was at such a high triglyceride level, thereby risking her health and life? While quick turnarounds in lab results are not always that simple or easy, often times they are that simple!
Has your doctor ever told you, “your blood test results are completely normal,” but instead of feeling relief, you felt worse, knowing that you had very uncomfortable symptoms but the doctor was unable to find any answers?
Many naturopathic medical doctors question not the usefulness of conventional blood tests themselves, but the standard wide “reference ranges” – the ranges are often so large that they have little practical value except to find very serious medical conditions.
For example, the most common laboratory test for hypothyroidism (low thyroid) is the Thyroid Stimulating Hormone. The common reference range is approximately 0.4 to 4.5 or 5.5 – a huge 10-to-13 times difference between the low and high range. The TSH “optimal” range of many naturopathic doctors is a much narrower, 1.3-2.0.
What difference does a range make to the patient? As in the TSH example, the optimal range-oriented doctor will more likely detect and treat the low thyroid, helping the patient to alleviate symptoms such as constipation, high cholesterol, weight gain, fatigue, hair loss, low libido, memory loss, etc. The doctor who diagnoses using only the standard range will often miss opportunities to help improve functioning of this critically important gland and provide relief to the struggling patient.
Naturopathic doctors seek to find and treat the cause of disease, and there are often multiple causes of symptoms and medical condition. However, re. the most common, preventable deficiency, does it make any sense to have any the following medical conditions (see partial list), in part, because of a lack of easily obtainable and inexpensive Vitamin D? All patients that come into my office that are not taking Vitamin D as a separate supplement have lower than optimal vitamin d levels (optimal is 50-100).
Low Vitamin D levels have been implicated in: Alzheimer’s Disease; asthma; autism; bone fractures; cancers: breast, cervical, colorectal, endometrial, esophageal, leukemia, melanoma, ovarian, and prostate; cognitive impairment; congestive heart failure; coronary heart disease; dental caries; depression; diabetes: type 1 and 2; dry eyes; fibromyalgia; hypertension; inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn’s Disease and ulcerative colitis); influenza; lupus (SLE); macular degeneration; multiple sclerosis; osteoporosis; Parkinson’s Disease; pre-term labor risk; periodontal disease, pneumonia; psoriasis; respiratory infections – just to name a few.
The bottom line is: do you want to be as healthy as you can possibly be right now, or do you hope to drive your “vehicle” as far and as fast as it can go and hope for the best?
Dr. Dennis Godby, Naturopathic Doctor, Sutter Medical Foundation.
He may be reached online or at his Sacramento Office (916) 446-2591.