Some tests just shouldn't be graded on a curve
Has your doctor told you, "your blood test results are completely normal," but instead of feeling relief, you felt worse, knowing that something was wrong, but the doctor was unable to find any answers?
Many naturopathic medical doctors and other functional medicine-oriented 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.
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 naturopathic doctors is a much narrower, 1.3-2.0.
What difference does it 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 often will miss opportunities to help improve functioning of this critically important gland and provide relief to the struggling patient.
It is important to understand that conventional reference ranges are designed not on preventing disease or identifying patients outside of optimal human function, but on helping to diagnose disease states only. According to Dr. Dicken Weatherby, ND, an expert on blood testing, the laboratory medicine standard is to use 2 standard deviations above and below the mean, to include 95% of the population. As Americans become sicker and sicker the reference ranges are widened.
It is our experience as naturopathic doctors, Dr Weatherby says, that most people who seek care do not have a clinically identifiable disease. As a result, they are told by their doctor that they have an “unremarkable” or “normal” laboratory test. They may be normal compared to the rest of the sick population, but they are a long way from being in a state of optimal health.
For example, it is well known in the medical community that the white blood cell, “eosinophil” is elevated when there are intestinal parasites. The reference range is 0-7 to 9%. The optimal level is 0-3%. According to Dr. Weatherby, and what I have confirmed in my own practice, dozens of times, is when the following white blood cell pattern is present: 7% monocytes, 3% eosinophils and 1% basophils, intestinal parasites are probable. Yet, the standard reference range for monocytes (4-13%), eosinophils (0-7), and basophils (0-3) almost always misses parasites, except the most obvious cases.
How about you? Do you find any comfort in knowing that, compared to the rest of the population, that you are “normal,” even though you may feel unhealthy? What are your goals with your health, to merely avoid a disease, or to be optimally healthy and have vitality along the lines of let’s say, Jack LaLanne?
Dr. Dennis Godby, Doctor of Naturopathy, Sutter Medical Foundation.
He may be reached online or at his Sacramento Office (916) 446-2591.
Placer County News HeadlinesCuba's State Sponsor of Terrorism Label RescindedCuba's designation as a State Sponsor of Terrorism has been rescinded.
2015 NBA Finals Schedule and Game Times40 years on, NBA MVP Stephen Curry brings the Golden State Warriors back to the NBA Finals against powerhouse LeBron James
$30 Million Fanny Bridge Project Approved for Tahoe CityThe Tahoe Regional Planning Agency Governing Board today unanimously approved the Tahoe Transportation District's State Route 89/Fanny Bridge
Rocklin Crime Report Digest Update (5-29-15)Rocklin weekly crime report digest update for the period of May 18- 24, 2015
Heat Accelerates Dry in California DroughtDrought Watch: Although record low precipitation has been the main driver of one of the worst droughts in California history, abnormally high temperatures have also played an important role
Angelo K. Tsakopoulos Family Donates Lincoln Acreage to Dignity HealthDignity Health announced today that it has received a gift of 32.85 acres of vacant land in Lincoln from the Angelo K. and Sofia Tsakopoulos family, a gift valued at more than $10 million.
Food and Wine Event in Downtown Roseville May 29thRoseville, CA -- Get your tickets now for Placer County's only dog-friendly food & wine tasting event.
$18 Million for Humanitarian Assistance for Ukraine CrisisThe United States remains concerned by the growing humanitarian crisis in eastern Ukraine, particularly in areas occupied by combined Russian-separatist forces
Santa Barbara Oil Spill Cleanup Orders Issued by FedsThe United States issues cleanup order to owner of ruptured Refugio Beach oil pipeline. Federal order ensures continued action on Santa Barbara County spill.
Auburn Homeless Shelter Opens June 1stA temporary homeless shelter operated by Volunteers of America and funded by Right Hand Auburn is scheduled to open at the Placer County Government Center
Roseville Chamber of Commerce Events June 2015The Roseville Chamber of Commerce gears up for another month of business events for June 2015.
Roseville Sorority Chapter Supports Former Foster Youth at Sierra CollegeSusan Goto and Carol Sue Acres, representing the Alpha Delta Kappa Beta ETA Chapter in Roseville, stopped by the Sierra College Foundation Office