Ever go to the doctor, get handed a stack of papers with numbers on them, get told you are “normal” and get sent on your way with all your unaddressed symptoms? Yeah, I hear that story a lot! There is much to be said about these “normal” lab values. First off, the ranges they use are huge. They are helpful in identifying and monitoring existing diseases, but not so useful before you have a diagnosis.
When a person is on their way to a disease process they often find themselves feeling crummy but still being called “normal”.
It is truly amazing how many people are told that they are “normal” when they are one decimal point away from a diagnosis. Once they are out of range, horary there is now a disease to pin all those nagging symptoms on. It is unfortunate that these diseases could have been prevented had the patient known what path they were on and where their health was headed. Secondly, these ranges are set based on a population average. Guess what, our average population is sick sick sick!
When labs are evaluated based on functional ranges, values are compared to where they should be based on ideal body function. When lab values are out of functional range but not yet out of lab range, there can often be a path discovered to show where the patient is headed. This tool is key in helping to prevent diseases. It is certainly easier to prevent a condition from evolving rather than manage a full blown disease process.
It is like putting out a stove fire before the whole house begins to burn.
Another very important piece on lab work is patient understanding. It is important to take the time to educate patients about the meaning of their testing. Using functional lab evaluation, the patient will understand what areas of their body are in an ideal place and what areas may be under stress and prone to dysfunction. Again, this understanding can be key in preventing future disease.