Getting the Most From Your Blood Test, Part 2
So let's begin where we left off... you have now had your blood test done and you want to review the results for yourself. I had mentioned in Part 1 that you should not leave your blood test review simply to your physician, but be proactive and look over your results yourself so that you know what questions you want to ask, and what issues you want to discuss with your physician. Step one is first to be sure you receive your own copy from the lab that is the full panel results that show the reference range used by the lab, your exact score and hopefully some additional information about each value on your test (although sometimes this is a pie in the sky thought). I also mentioned that you want to compare blood tests chronologically which can show you trends toward deficiency, disease or illness which allow you time to make corrections in your nutrition and lifestyle to bring your values into an optimal reference range. So when you sit down to look at your test results, be sure to have your previous three tests available so you can chart the changes in each value. For this to be accurate for you, you need a test every six months or at most every year. If you are following a possible problem, you may even want to get tested every three months. Don't test more frequently because you are not giving your body a chance to make the changes needed to alter your blood value.
So now that you have your test results spread out in front of you, you want to group them together. An example would be heart health. In order to evaluate heart health you will need A1C hemoglobin, Progesterone, Omega 3 profile, red blood cell and white blood cell morphology, fasting insulin, fasting glucose, ferritin, C Reactive Protein, homocysteine and VAP (vertical auto profile) test which can really give you lots of information about your lipids.
Here are some traditional groups that are typical in a conventional blood test:
Electrolytes - sodium, potassium, chloride, carbon dioxide as bicarbonate, glucose.
Minerals - phosphorus, calcium, magnesium, zinc, iron.
Bones - alkaline phosphatase.
Kidneys - BUN (blood urea nitrogen), creatinine, BUN/creatinine ratio, uric acid.
Protein - total protein, albumin, globulin, albumin/globulin ratio.
Liver - GGTP (gallbladder/bile enzyme test), SGOT (serum glutamic-oxaloacetic transaminase), SGPT (serum glutamic-pyruvic transaminase), LDH (lactic dehydrogenase), bilirubin
Complete Blood Count (CBC) - WBC (white blood cells), RBC (red blood cells), HGB (hemoglobin), HCT (hematocrit), platelets, MCV (mean corpuscular volume), MCH (mean corpuscular hemoglobin), MCHC (mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentration), RDW (red cell distribution width), manual RBC morphology.
Cholesterol / Lipid Profile - total cholesterol, HDL (high-density lipoprotein, cholesterol / HDL ratio, LDL (low-density lipoprotein, triglycerides, TG / HDL ratio.
White Blood Cell Details (WBC) - neutrophils, eosinophils, lymphocytes, monocytes, basophils, bands, atypical lymphocytes.
Cancer - PSAII (total prostatic specific antigen and free % prostatic specific antigen), CA125, CEA (carcinoembryonic antigen), CA15-3, CA19-9.
Thyroid - T3 uptake, thyroxine (T4), T7 free thyroxine index, free T4, TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone).
Special Tests - progesterone, sickle cell, serum homocysteine, ferritin, C Reactive Protein, isoenzymes, fasting insulin, hemoglobin A1c fractionation, VAP, Omega 3 profile.
When you see values gradually or even suddenly moving out of range or out of what is normal for you, then you want to begin to create a profile that will tell you what the outcome will be if you don't take action now. Let's use as an example a final outcome of arthritis. During the years leading up to the onset of symptoms, there will be shifts in blood values that are out of the normal range. The optimal range for Alkaline Phosphatase is age dependent and is generally slightly lower on the top end for females, but overall between 45 and 75. If the blood value rises, then there may be liver congestion or gallbladder stasis. Growing children will have higher levels of ALP because of bone growth. Now if at the same time there is an increase in calcium and SGPT levels, then the prognosis is Osteoporosis. If there is an increase in gastrin, then there is gastric inflammation present. It is important to look at pituitary function, electroytes and mineral exchange along with adrenal health. And if the test wasn't done with fasting, it's not as accurate a marker.
Now Albumin is synthesized by the liver using dietary protein. It creates an osmotic force to keep fluid volume within the vessels instead of in the tissues. Albumin can point towards a number of things such as liver dysfunction, dehydration, heart weakness, too much sugar, poor protein utilization, poor lymphatic drainage hypothyroidism or kidney dysfunction. So depending on all the other factors in the blood that relate to Albumin, you can narrow down the possibilities and then act accordingly in your diet and in your lifestyle.
In Part 3, I will present an overview of general blood values and things to consider...