Lab Tests: What Constitutes “Normal?”

Are you one of the many Americans feeling “off,” yet the blood work ordered by your doctor reflects “normal” ranges?  This can be a maddening predicament fueling a seemingly endless journey down the rabbit hole.

An explanation for this all too common phenomenon can be found by probing where exactly “normal” comes from.  The “normal” as well as the pathological ranges for your blood work and other labs are based upon the averages attained by all the people tested at that lab over the past year.

This means your numbers are being measured up against a segment of the population who we can assume were having health issues that led them to the lab in the first place.  It means you are being compared to a portion of the population which accepts things like fatigue, aches and pains, digestive issues, insomnia, hot flashes, etc. as a “normal” part of life.  They have to because they were told by their healthcare provider that their numbers were within “normal” ranges.  Ranges that were determined by people just like them, similar ailments and all.

While these ranges can be useful in labeling a definitive presence of a particular pathology, they do little for the assertive, concerned patient who knows something is wrong, but has not met the quantitative criteria for disease and traditional allopathic assistance.  Which in some cases isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

Many times answers and thus long awaited relief can be found by looking at labs through the eyes of functional medicine.  This consists of narrower ranges of “normalcy” based upon levels that constitute energy, alertness, happiness; overall health, rather than stacked up against all the sick people in your region.

Uncovering and addressing an issue using functional parameters, before it reaches the outlying pathological ranges leaves the door open to engage the issue intelligently, naturally, and thoroughly, rather than with a knee jerk reaction filled with a lifetime laundry list of pharmaceutical dependency and donations.

Same Procedure, New Perspective.

Investigatory lab work is done to analyze various aspects of our complex matrix.  This provides us with tangible markers and their levels.  We can test pre, during and post treatment to measure one aspect of progress.  The difference is we are looking for favorable or better yet optimal levels, rather than “normal.”

I ask again, in a society where pain, obesity, diabetes and a fully stocked medicine cabinet is considered the norm; who the hell wants to be “normal?”

If you’ve been frustrated by “normal” labs while mysterious symptoms remain or if the afore described approach of functional medicine appeals to you, feel free to give us a call (321-848-0987).  As always, we are here to help.

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