A NEW FRAMEWORK FOR DIAGNOSTIC EVALUATION
Why Is Lab Testing So Important?
At LifeWorks Integrative Health we are determined to get to the root cause of your symptoms because you deserve to live a life free of pain, suffering, and disease. This means we need to actually understand what is happening in your body. Laboratory testing allows us to accurately assess your unique situation. This also means we don’t guess based on your symptoms.
By using more comprehensive labs and accurately reviewing them, we can understand a lot of what is going on in your body. Then we can have a much more accurate road map to determine the best treatments for you.
Looking At The Whole Picture
Functional medicine lab testing is different than what you may have experienced in the past. Have you ever felt like something was off in your body but all of your labs come back “normal”? That might be because your labs are not looking at the full picture, with a range that is for optimal health, not just to prevent disease. All of the systems in the body affect each other which means using just one lab value to evaluate an entire system in the body is not going to give the whole picture. This also means treatment options will likely fall short when the most accurate data is not available.
Here is an example that happens far too often. Your primary care physician might look at TSH and T4 if they suspect a problem with your thyroid or you are on thyroid medication. Unfortunately, these two levels alone do not give a true picture of the functionality of your thyroid. As a functional medicine office, we will look at the whole thyroid pictures by assessing the levels and balance of each of these:
- T-4, (thyroxine), total
- T-4, free
- T-3, total
- T-3 free
- T-3 reverse
- T-3, uptake
- Thyroid Peroxidase Antibodies (TPOAb) & Thyroglobulin Antibodies (TgAb) — These are important to review, as autoimmune diseases should be treated differently.
By looking at all levels we are able to truly understand what is going on from a physiological standpoint in your body.
An additional consideration we take when reviewing lab results is how some levels may be impacting another — whether in the same system of the body or a different. For example, we can look at thyroid levels and a full female hormone panel to see if a thyroid complication is the cause of a hormone imbalance.
Because Optimal Health Is Not Just The Absence of Disease…
We are passionate about helping you reach optimal health so you can live a long, healthy, happy life. By running specific labs we can get a true understanding where to begin with your support and healing journey.
At LifeWorks we understand that health is not simply the absence of disease. When working with your typical physician, the range of what is considered “normal” is quite wide. This is because because they are looking for disease. In contrast, we are looking for health. Functional medicine has a much more narrow window (reference range) of lab levels because we understand that just because you do not have a diagnosable disease from the conventional standpoint, your health may still bebe suffering. These more narrow parameters are called “functional reference ranges” which are standardized among functional medicine practitioners through scientific data, medical research, and extensive knowledge of biochemistry
As mentioned previously, typical labs that your general physician would issue are looking for disease, while functional labs can catch a trend that is on the way to disease so we can slow, halt, or reverse the disease before it happens.
This is critical to long-term health because many times when a disease sets in damage can be significant. For example, conventional medicine diagnoses autoimmune diseases once a notable amount of tissue is damaged. Alternatively, functional medicine tests for antibodies against tissue which shows us if an autoimmune disease is developing or progressing. With proper treatment autoimmune complications can be slowed or even reversed, but waiting until your body is already damaged by an autoimmune condition minimizes the degree to which you can reverse the progression
Functional medicine lab testing and analysis is one of the best ways to ensure early detection and prevention of diseases.
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Why Do We Retest?
Tracking progress is important when monitoring the path back to health and vitality. By testing we can further understand if your personal protocol is working, or if adjustments need to be made.. If improvements are not what we hope them them to be, we continue to investigate the root-causes to your conditions.
Patients get excited when they can see improvements in the data from lab work because it reinforces all of the changes they have made in their lifestyle, diet, and supplement regimen are worth it and working. This method of tracking progress is what helps individuals reach and maintain habits that promote optimal health.
Speeds Up Treatment & Adds Support
When an individual has accurate and thorough data on their health condition, the treatment plan can be more specific and move into restoring health rather than spending time determining what is actually occurring. We also see patient’s willingness to stay consistent with their treatment plan improve when they have data to confirm the cause of their conditions. This is why we test, not guess.
We also see the support of family and friends increase when they can see data indicating what is truly going on the the individual we are treating. With concrete proof of imbalances in the body that causes specific conditions to develop throughout the body others can better understand and support you in your healing journey.
Compliance to the agreed upon treatment plan and support from family and friends are a very important part of the healing journey. Accurate lab testing validates and explains a lot of the patient experience where standard medicine options simply fall short.
How It Works at LifeWorks
When you become a patient at LifeWorks Integrative Health you begin with an initial evaluation appointment where our functional medicine practitioner, Dr. Priest, will take a deep, detailed look into your history. This appointment can take anywhere from one to two hours. During the appointment Dr. Priest will establish next steps, including what specific labs are necessary to get to the root cause of your health complaints.
Some labs require an appointment with our lab tech to draw blood, others are take-home tests. Once completed we send samples to specific labs to get accurate results, which typically takes around two weeks. Once we receive results we will give you a call and get a follow-up appointment scheduled. In this appointment Dr. Priest will review your results and get you started on a personalized plan to get you back to feeling your best!
Over time we will retest to evaluate progress and see if/what changes need to be made to help you continue to see improvements. Additionally, Dr. Priest will recommend any labs that you should continue getting done on a yearly basis to monitor your overall health and ensure a life of vitality.
LifeWorks Functional Medicine Tests Include:
- Vitamin D
- Menstrual Cycle Mapping
- Estrogen Metabolite
- Viral panel
- Heavy Metal testing
- GI (GI Map and Zonulin) (also Wheat Zoomer)
- Adrenal testing (CAR)
- Food sensitivity (ELISA)
- Methylation/ DNA (23 and Me)
Chronic Health Concerns We Use Lab Testing To Address
This list includes, but is not limited to…
- Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia
- Autism Spectrum Disorder, ADD, ADHD
- Autoimmune Diseases
- Cancer Prevention and Support
- Chronic Fatigue
- Chronic Sinusitis
- Depression and Anxiety
- Detoxification and Healing
- Digestive Disorders (IBD, IBS, GERD/Reflux)
- Elevated Cholesterol
- Environmental and Food Allergies
- Female Disorders (PMS, Menopause, Infertility, PCOS)
- Healthy Aging
- Healthy Weight and Metabolism
- Heart Health
- Hormone Balance
- Interstitial Cystitis
- Low Testosterone
- Mercury and Heavy Metal Toxicity
- Metabolic Syndrome, Prediabetes, Insulin Resistance
- Migraines and Headaches
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Restless Leg Syndrome
- Thyroid and Adrenal Disorders
LAB SERVICES FAQs
Yes we do. While many functional medicine practitioners do not offer single lab testing, or a la carte testing, we understand that each individual has different concerns thus different lab needs. Our lab recommendations will be tailored to your specific needs, allowing us to get an accurate picture of your health and treatment needs.
Most of the functional lab testing is something we have negotiated with the lab companies, and we offer cash pricing. Payment is due at the time of service — whether it is cash, check, or card. We are happy to give you billing codes to submit to your out-of-network insurance to try and get some reimbursement.
Fasting for labs should ideally be a 10-12 hour fast, unless otherwise indicated indicated by your provider at LifeWorks Integrative Health. Make sure when fasting to continue with proper water intake.
Days 18 – 24. As a reminder day 1 is the first day you experience menstrual bleeding. It is imperative that female hormones are tested during the days 18 – 24 window because levels are at their peak. We can then get an accurate picture of your hormone status and properly address any imbalances.
Hormones, supplements, troches, and thyroid medications should be taken 4-6 hours prior to the blood draw – this is very important and can really impact the results of the labs. Please make sure to strictly adhere to this schedule unless otherwise recommended by your provider at LifeWorks Integrative Health.