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Lab Review Walk-thru

Ever wondered what your lab results mean?

We go to the doctor and they draw our blood and send it off. A few days later, we get a call telling us our iron is low, or our A1c is high, or maybe our blood glucose is high, usually followed by we called in a prescription for you.

That's all good when it's needed...but what exactly was low or high? Who determined what low and high even is? How does that tell me what I need to take or how I can get it back to a better level?

We talked about Pathological vs Functional Health Ranges yesterday and how those values are determined. Let's look at some actual lab reports and walk through how we look at things from a functional, or optimal, health perspective and see some of the suggestions we may make based on your individual health history.

So we get this back as a lab result.

That looks crazy with all those red numbers showing us values that are out of balance! Iron is lower than optimal, platelets are low, potassium levels are many things popping up there.

But are they that far off really? Is this a Male or a Female? Are they young, middle-aged, or elderly? Do they have an active illness/disease, are they pregnant, or are they "healthy" as far as they are concerned?

With some of these red values, none of that matters much; but with other values, it's very important to know more about this individual.

And these are standard lab values, so their range is pathological -- based on predominantly unhealthy averages remember?

As we work through a lab result from a functional perspective, things look a little different...

We aren't optimal, but by and large, we aren't quite as crazy as that first glance either.

We see larger than average red blood cells but they are carrying less hemoglobin that we would expect. That's less oxygen being delivered throughout.

If this is a pregnant momma closing out her 2nd trimester, this is not as alarming. We expect to see a dilution occur as plasma levels increase throughout pregnancy, but make a marked jump heading into 3rd trimester and the hemoglobin works to catch back up. In pregnancy, if that fails to happen, we are monitoring closely for pre-eclampsia, growth restriction for baby and possible preterm birth.

On a cellular level, the DNA process that matures those red blood cells requires vitamin B12 and folate - and vitamin C is required in the conversion process of that folate - so this could show us a nutrient deficiency that we can work to correct through diet and supplements.

What else might we look at? MTHFR testing, ferritin, Iron, TIBC, and Saturation...each of these would help us pinpoint the path to move forward.

What is in the medical history? Gastric by-pass surgery tends to decrease vitamin b12; smoking and vaping lower vitamin C levels, which in turn affect the B vitamins and folate levels.

Everything works with everything else, so knowing those pieces that make up the person's health experience as a whole makes a difference in how you interpret the results.

But wait -- what about symptoms? They can be helpful but there is often so much overlap between little problems and larger ones it can be difficult to sort them out.

Here are some typical symptoms of Vitamin B12, folate, and Vitamin C deficiencies:

Possible Signs and Symptoms of Vitamin B12 Insufficiency

  • Weakness, fatigue, lack of energy

  • Cognitive decline such as memory loss, brain fog, trouble focusing, etc.

  • Tingling in hands or feet (or other types of neuropathy)

  • Mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, and paranoia

  • Impaired detoxification

  • Irritability

  • Difficulty walking or balancing

  • Glossitis (beefy, swollen, sore, painful, fiery red, smooth, and/or shiny tongue possibly causing difficulty in talking or swallowing)

Possible Signs and Symptoms of Folate Insufficiency

  • Weakness, fatigue, lack of energy

  • Low immunity

  • Poor digestion

  • Canker sores

  • Moodiness, irritability, anxiety

  • Pale skin

  • Impaired detoxification

  • Developmental issues in-utero

Possible Signs and Symptoms of Vitamin C Insufficiency

  • Easy bruising

  • Red, swollen, or bleeding gums - gums bleed while flossing

  • Rough, bumpy skin

  • Dry, damaged skin

  • Slow wound healing

  • Fatigue and weakness

  • Poor immune function

  • Painful, swollen joints

See what I mean? Just looking from a signs and symptoms point of view, we could be thinking of anything from eczema to liver issues!

One of the best pictures of your health at any given point is the Complete Blood Count with Differential or CBC w/Diff. This test looks at the red and white blood cells plus it breaks down of the white blood cell components. So much can be learned from seeing the neutrophils, lymphocytes, monocytes, eosinophils, and basophils....and that will be a post for tomorrow as we continue walking through bloodwork and lab reviews.

Yesterday we mentioned how lab review is a big part of what we offer. Our midwifery clients get full lab reviews as needed throughout their pregnancy, but we also offer lab draws and reviews to other clients as well. Yearly lab work is a must for good health maintenance, and reviewing them from the functional perspective can help you see health trends in your body before they become bigger issues.

We are happy to review lab work you already have, and if you need it, we offer discounted prices on most labwork so that out-of-pocket costs are kept low.

Schedule your lab review soon and don't forget to ask about our discounted Lab Panel of the Month!


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