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 HeadlinesCampgrounds Open Along Middle Fork of American RiverAUBURN, Calif. - With the arrival of Memorial Day weekend, the United States Forest Service has announced the opening of campgrounds at French Meadows and Hell Hole Reservoirs
Roseville Flash Crime Report (5.26.17)Roseville, CA- Summary digest of Roseville Police selected activity log covering the period of May 19- 26, 2017.
2017 Acura MDX: classy and versatileRoseville, CA- Now in its eighth year of production by Honda's luxury division, the 2017 Acura MDX is a midsize luxury crossover SUV that is appealing for a variety of reasons.
2017 PlacerArts Summer Concert SeriesAuburn, CA- The annual and free Auburn Summer Concert Series returns for another season beginning June 11, 2017
Affordable Housing Fee Workshops in Auburn and Kings BeachAUBURN, Calif. -- Placer County has scheduled two housing fee study workshops in June, one in Kings Beach and another in Auburn
USA Fastpitch Competition in South Placer County this JuneRocklin, CA --USA Fastpitch is coming to Roseville, Lincoln and Rocklin June 2-4 for three days of softball competition.
City of Roseville's $507 Million Proposed Operating BudgetRoseville, CA- The City of Roseville's proposed operating budget for Fiscal Year 2017-2018 is available for review
San Juan Water District Receives Excellence in Financial Reporting AwardGranite Bay, Calif. - The Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada awarded the San Juan Water District
Sports Stars Join Rocklin Golf Fundraiser at Whitney OaksHall of Famer Willie Brown, Jim Plunkett, Daryle Lamonica, Charles Woodson, Phil Villapiano, Rod Martin and several more Oakland Raiders headline a dazzling field
Silversun Pickups Summer Tour with Third Eye BlindFollowing their upcoming BottleRock Napa Valley performance, this summer, Silversun Pickups will embark on a 30-date amphitheater tour opening for Third Eye Blind. The "Summer Gods" Tour celebrates Third Eye Blind's 20th anniversary
Garland Ranch Regional Park: Tranquility in Monterey CountyCarmel Valley, California - The "granddaddy" of the Monterey Peninsula Regional Park District, Garland Ranch is a fine elder statesman of parks.
Roseville Firefighters Union Blast City's Proposed Staffing CutsRoseville, Calif. - With rising temperatures and fire season upon us, city leaders in Roseville have proposed drastic staffing cuts to the Roseville Fire Department