By David Blyweiss, M.D., Advanced Natural Wellness
November 25, 2013
- Do you really need a stress test, EKG, colonoscopy and more?
- What to ask before agreeing to invasive testing
- 12 simple, non-invasive tests that can fill in the blanks
When a new patient walks into my office, they are often surprised at how easy their first exam goes.
During their initial visit, I start by getting a complete history for the patient along with their genetic history.
Do they have a history of high lipids, heart disease or cancer? Are they suffering from any chronic conditions such as overactive inflammatory response, fatigue or diabetes?
Then I order specific tests to determine some important markers to help diagnose and manage their health accordingly. And every single one of my initial tests requires only one of two things: A blood or urine sample.
Now you might be wondering what happened to getting a stress test, EKG, colonoscopy, MRI… so on and so forth. Well these are all wonderful diagnostic tools… when used for the right reasons.
But today many docs are being overly aggressive when it comes to ordering up some of these tests. Healthy people with no specific symptoms are being sent off for these tests as a form of “defensive medicine.”
That’s right. Doctors are afraid they will miss something that could lead to a malpractice lawsuit. So they put you through a myriad of tests designed to protect themselves.
But you know what?
None of these pricey and time-consuming tests are going to tell you if you have a thyroid problem, B12 deficiency or hidden factors for heart disease.
In the meantime, they can throw off all sorts of inaccurate readings that could lead you down a never-ending maze of invasive tests and procedures.
And if somebody makes a mistake along the way, you could go from healthy to sickly in a matter seconds.
Before agreeing to a long-list of tests, there are three questions you should ask…
Ultimately, you are in charge of your health care.
Don’t try to persuade your doctor to give you a test if he doesn’t think you need it. And if he does recommend a test or procedure, make sure you ask the right questions. Understand the risks and make the decisions that are right for you…
- Do you REALLY need the test or procedure? Any test or procedure your doctor recommends should be necessary. He should explain exactly what it will do to treat your problem, how it will improve your health and then disclose any risks involved.
- What problems could you encounter? Find out if the test is prone to false-positive results, and what further testing you should expect if that were to occur. Also – one of the main questions you should ask – will the results change your diagnosis or treatment? If not, there’s no reason to take it.
- Are there safer options? In many cases there are safer alternatives. Find out what they are. Also keep in mind that you can correct many health concerns with simple lifestyle changes. And believe me, it’s much easier – and cheaper – to make those changes than it is to go through many of these tests and treatments.
In the meantime, there are several non-invasive tests that can really fill in the blanks when it comes to your overall health.
Let me share with you the 12 simple lab tests I routinely run – and that you can ask for – to get a snapshot of your health.
When all 12 tests are run, it will give you and your physician a full picture of your true health. And once you know where you stand, you can work together to personalize a strategy to your needs.
From a preventive point of view, you can’t stop disease from progressing until you know your current health condition. That’s why regular physical exams and blood work-ups are necessary.
Better yet, they can provide a whole-health picture that makes it much easier to treat health concerns at their source. And all it takes is a blood or urine sample.
Here is a personal checklist of the tests I find most useful in making an initial evaluation on all of my new patients. And while it may seem like a lot of tests, none of them are invasive but many of them are quite telling.
And don’t worry if this list sounds a little too technical or confusing… you’re not going to have to sit for your medical exams any time soon! But it’s a good starting place for a conversation with your doctor – and he should be quite familiar with these exams.
- Highly Sensitive C- Reactive Protein (hsCRP): This test reveals chronic systemic inflammation, which is a hallmark of heart disease.
- Homocysteine levels: This is an important risk marker of heart attack, stroke and inflammation.
- VAP/Lipid Test: This is a much better predictor of heart risk than many other tests and will give you a more accurate measurement of your cholesterol profile.
- Serum Cortisol/DHEA-Sulfate: These two hormones are produced by the adrenal glands. Testing for them can reveal adrenal deficiency that may be affecting your health.
- Full Thyroid Panel: Make sure any thyroid testing includes T3 and T4 and a TPO (not just a TSH) – also known as a full thyroid panel. Many doctors are calling for thyroid screens starting at age 35. It’s a great idea, but until it becomes the norm, you might have to ask.
- Reverse T3 (rT3): This test is most-often used for the person who is on thyroid medication and is not feeling better. It tests a thyroid hormone that isn’t included in a full thyroid panel – and solves an important mystery for many people with thyroid conditions, whether known or unknown.
- Serum Heavy Metals and Organic Pollutants: While these tests don’t show the body’s complete burden of stored toxins, it reveals enough to know what you might need to remove and detox from your body.
- 25-hydroxy vitamin D test: This vitamin is so critical to your immune system, and so chronically low in older adults, that screening is a must at the beginning of any health regimen.
- Serum or Urine Methylmalonic Acid: This test reveals a vitamin B12 deficiency, weeks or even months before it would show up in blood tests for anemia, or worse, in symptoms.
- Complete Blood Count (CBC): This is the standard starting place that every physician uses to measure of the concentration of white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets in the blood.
- Blood Chemistry Panel: This blood test can identify important markers that may indicate liver and kidney problems, blood sugar abnormalities and electrolyte imbalances.
- Hemoglobin A1C: This marker is an accurate diagnostic tool for diabetes and pre-diabetes.
If you want the same level of care, don’t hesitate to ask your doctor to run all 12 of these tests to get a snapshot of where you stand.
It’s as simple as saying “Hey doc… when you do my blood work can you add these tests?”