There’s a movement in today’s doctor’s office that is more about sick care, not well care.
Ok, so I know I’m not a medical doctor. I won’t try to pretend. But when my husband went to the doctor recently, and he reported that his doctor said his blood tests were “unremarkable,”……
….I wanted to see his lab tests, like I would any of my clients. I was really hoping I wouldn’t find anything.
But because I’ve spent time studying functional medicine principles and have some understanding that lab test “normals” are not healthy normals, but “sick” normals, I wanted to make sure they were truly unremarkable.
And they weren’t.
Those “unremarkable” findings, when pieced together, demonstrated signs of insulin resistance. Something, if addressed early, could be the difference between having the diagnosis of diabetes, or not. To taking cholesterol medication, or not. To having heart disease, or not.
His values were also higher than they were 5 years ago, so they weren’t in status quo.
- on the low side of higher HgA1C (an average of the last six weeks of blood sugar; just over 5.5% is considered pre-diabetic, but the lab read out side notes read that 7% could be within normal range!–so my husband thought he was on the low side. The 7% range is for those that ALREADY have diabetes—without explanation by the doctor, my husband would have no idea).
- mid-range high triglycerides (it was 289mg/dL when ideal is <100mg/dL; but the range on the read-out noted <800+mg/dL as being normal range!)
- low HDL count
- on the lower side of high Total cholesterol to HDL ratio
- on the lower side of high Triglyceride to HDL ratio
Not the worst values. And other values like thyroid and liver counts suggest that those organs haven’t been affected yet. However…..
The reason the doctor didn’t find his blood tests remarkable, is because he’s likely waiting until numbers get “bad” enough, that his patient needs medication.
Basically, “sick” care. Not prevention. Not only that, but he recommended my husband eat more salt, because his blood pressure was low to normal. Interesting, eh?
But for now, these numbers are completely REVERSIBLE. With diet and lifestyle changes.
So that’s what we’re going to work on. Cutting out added sugars and complex carbs. Adding in more healthy fats, like fish oils. Exercising more regularly. And I’m hoping meditation, sometime in this lifetime (a girl can hope, right?).
My reason for sharing this, is not to cause fear or mis-trust in your doctor (or to say that I know more than a doctor).
But to 1. advise you to be savvy healthcare consumers, especially when your doctor tells you your lab values are “unremarkable” or normal, yet you still feel crummy.
And 2. to demonstrate that lifestyle medicine can be used to to create “well” care. You don’t have to wait until you’re sick, to take your “medicine.”
So, my friend, are there small shifts you could make towards your own “well” care, not sick care?
**BONUS: check out this “How to Work with Your Doctor to Get What You Need From,” by Dr Mark Hyman.