Blood tests can help you uncover hidden roadblocks on your journey to wellness. Have you visited the doctor with complaints of fatigue, hair loss, bloating or other symptoms but are told your blood test results are normal? Yet you continue to feel discomfort and your symptoms haven’t gone away. Your bloodwork discloses your body’s immunity and inflammation, but health practitioners interpret the results in different ways.
Pathological vs. functional ranges
Health practitioners analyze blood tests with two main types of ranges: a pathological range and a functional range. The pathological range is used to diagnose disease, while the functional range can assess risk for disease before it develops.
Let’s use your glucose level as an example. If your blood test results are analyzed in the pathological range, your practitioner uses a glucose range of 65-110 mg/dl (milligrams per deciliter of blood) to determine if you have diabetes. If your results are above this range, you may have diabetes and need to establish a treatment plan with your practitioner. On the other hand, a functional range can help mitigate your chances of developing diabetes before you reach the pathological level.
If your practitioner analyzes the functional range, the target glucose range is 85-100 mg/dl –a smaller, more sensitive range. Results in this range may indicate insulin resistance and future risk, but your body hasn’t developed diabetes yet.
Prevention vs. treatment
At Infinity Wellness Center, we use functional ranges to identify and prevent inflammation and disease. A typical laboratory blood test provides your results in the pathological range as a direct
indicator for disease. Most practitioners don’t address the functional range prior to a serious diagnosis or medical condition that requires treatment.
Typical bloodwork in conventional medicine focuses on disease diagnosis to build a treatment plan. Our functional medicine approach makes it possible to identify inflammation and prevent disease for our patients.
You’re at the center of prevention
At Infinity Wellness Center, we believe in care and natural healing solutions to prevent a disease or serious diagnosis. We run a number of blood test panels to identify how we can manage your imbalances before they progress.
As functional medicine practitioners, we work to bring your hormone, mineral and vitamin levels back into the functional range for optimal health. We address what the western medical community calls a “low normal” or a “high normal” and track huge changes in our patients’ vitality. Our patients experience restored energy and enthusiasm for life when levels return to the functional range.
What do different blood panels tell us?
We want our patients to understand the nuances of blood test panels so you can have an informed discussion with your practitioner. Let’s review our most common blood test panels and break down what they mean.
CBC/Differential & Platelet Count: The complete blood count (CBC) is a common, yet comprehensive screening blood test that detects a variety of infections or diseases. It’s actually a group of tests that evaluate the three types of cells: red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets. We perform a variety of different tests on each cell type to fully evaluate your blood.
The CBC can indicate whether a patient has anemia and what’s causing it, if bone marrow (where the body produces blood cells) is functioning normally, and whether a patient has a bleeding disorder. It can also identify blood infection, inflammation and certain kinds of cancer.
Liver Panel: The liver has many important jobs in the body like filtering and breaking down harmful substances, storing glycogen (which is used for energy), helping your immune system fight infection, and more.
The liver panels we run test your liver’s enzymes to measure SGOT (ALT), which can detect hepatitis, and SGPT (AST), used to identify liver damage. Another test in our liver panel measures GGT, a very sensitive marker for liver disease.
Thyroid Panel: The thyroid is a powerful gland that produces hormones used throughout the body. Your thyroid helps regulate the immune system because its hormones are modulators of immune activity at the cellular level. The thyroid signals certain white blood cells, called neutrophils, and natural killer cells to help you fight infection.
If a patient is constantly sick, we know to check their thyroid! We also check for autoimmunity of the thyroid. This can happen when the immune system attacks the body and creates a misdirected immune response. Autoimmunity can cause a variety of illnesses and makes the patient more susceptible to infections, like COVID-19.
We frequently measure TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) and find levels outside of the functional range cause hypothyroid symptoms (fatigue, weight gain, hair loss, joint pain) in patients.
Comprehensive Metabolic Panel: One of the broader cluster of tests, the comprehensive metabolic panel (CMP), uncovers important information about your body’s metabolism. Blood sugar levels, electrolyte and fluid balance, and your kidney and liver health are measured to identify any abnormal factors.
Iron Panel: Balanced iron levels are crucial to produce red blood cells called hemoglobin. Iron is an essential nutrient but isn’t created by the body; we absorb it from the food we eat. This panel indicates whether you are iron deficient, which causes anemia.
Iron deficiency anemia may compromise your immune system and make you more vulnerable to infection.
Inflammatory Markers: Inflammation is the root of all disease. Two important inflammatory markers that we look for are C Reactive Protein (CRP), a protein that increases in the blood when there is inflammation around the heart, and homocysteine, an amino acid that is usually only found in very small amounts.
If either of these are high, that means your immune system is already fighting hard to function properly, let alone fight infection.
We also measure vitamin D (25-hydroxyvitamin D) to determine if your body’s vitamin D levels are sufficient. Vitamin D deficiency may increase your risk of immune diseases.
Urinalysis: This group of physical, chemical and microscopic tests detect and measure substances in the urine. A urinalysis identifies different disorders by detecting substances that aren’t normally found in urine. Abnormal results can be a warning sign that spurs additional tests.
Lipid Panel: Lipids are a group of fats that make up cells and are sources of energy for the body. You’re probably more familiar with one of these fats in particular: cholesterol. Balanced lipid levels are important for heart health and can lower the risk of stroke. We measure cholesterol in your blood to evaluate your risk of heart attack or stroke.
If you’re curious what your blood panel may reveal about your health, there’s no better time to schedule an appointment.