I regularly encourage and coach my clients on how to be their own advocate when it comes to health. I do this because people can often-times catch things that their health care practitioners missed. And most of all, we know our bodies better than anyone else.
It is important you ask many questions of your practitioners until you have gotten every answer you were looking for, and feel comfortable leaving the office.
Judy: Thyroid Nodules
I recently saw Judy (client’s name has been changed for confidentiality) who was already taking control of her own health, but was not familiar with reading her own bloodwork.
Reading bloodwork is much easier than people realize. On the readout page there is a result (usually a number) and also included is a reference range. In fact, so doctors can read a test quickly, the lab will usually make a mark where a result is abnormal.
I asked Judy to bring in her recent results. What we found was that her vitamin D was below the medical reference range (far from optimal) and her ferritin was on the low-end (see below).
Judy’s doctor told her that she’s a bit low on her vitamin D results (with no mention of the numbers) and should start taking a supplement. She didn’t mention how much vitamin D she should take, how long she should take it, what time of the day to take it, what form is best, or if she should come back to get re-checked after a period of time.
The Functional Approach
I am interested in restoring my client’s biochemistry to optimal levels. No matter what the client’s main concern is, if I see a deficiency, we address the deficiency immediately.
Vitamin D acts more like a hormone than a vitamin. It has an affect on every single cell in the body. Vitamin D also plays an important role in thyroid health. It is a cofactor in thyroid hormone production, and it plays a role in signalling the DNA. [1. Shames, Richard L. Nutritional Management of Stress-Induced Dysfunction. Advanced Nutrition Publications: 2002.] Thus, it was critical that Judy’s vitamin D levels were restored to optimal levels.
Next we addressed Judy’s ferritin level which read at 16 ug/L with a reference range of 11-145 ug/L. Ferritin directly reflects iron levels.
If you knew that iron was a beneficial for thyroid health, and you were recently diagnosed with thyroid nodules, AND you knew that the reference range for ferritin was 11-145 ug/L, would you want to be near the low-end or the high-end?
I hope you answered “high-end” because this is what both Judy and I felt was appropriate. Thus, Judy is working on restoring iron levels to the optimal range.
The Bottom Line
When a a tire is flat, blow it up. When a guitar is sharp, tune it up. When the biochemistry is not optimal,
adjust the lifestyle and diet to put the biochemistry back in balance. However, in order to know what is out of balance we must learn how to interpret our own medical tests. It’s easy, quick, cheap,
and could save your life.
If you need some help along the way, I know someone who could help. (wink)