When a doctor draws blood from you, what do your results really mean?
-By Dr Clement G. Plaatjies
When a doctor draws blood from you, he/she uses reference ranges to determine whether your blood value is “normal”. In essence, your doctor is asking: “Do your values fall within the same range as 95% of the population?” This means, all we can actually tell you is whether you’re ill or not. What if you’re an outlier? What if your body functions at a different range of “normal”? Remember, YOU ARE UNIQUE! If your value is lower than the optimal level then something needs to be replaced, if it’s higher than optimal then something more needs to be done.
What these reference ranges don’t tell you is whether you’re functioning OPTIMALLY…the best way possible! What should your glucose be to ensure you’re functioning at your best and not just not diabetic? What must your ferritin be to make sure that your iron stores are sufficient to maintain your body’s demands?
This is where optimal ranges come in. The optimal range for any blood test is the range we use to determine whether you’re an OPTIMALLY FUNCTIONAL human being as opposed to “just sick”.
Here’s an example: When assessing liver function, 9 biomarkers are tested. Should one be outside the reference range, a doctor may not react. We usually need to see two or three abnormal markers before we intervene. In fact, if something is below the reference range, this may also not induce any action. But, a simple liver biomarker being low could be a reflection on your zinc levels being low. For men, this could be a very early marker of prostate cancer before it even becomes cancer! For this reason, we need to interpret blood results according to the optimal range and consider blood as a single entity and not look at values in isolation or confined to a single set of results per organ system.
At EPSWI, our full blood chemistry analysis allows us to tell you if you’re functioning at your best (optimally) or if there are problems lurking. By picking up imbalances before you actually fall ill, we become proactive in preventing illness altogether and not just act reactively to abnormal blood tests when a diseased state has already established itself.