Blood chemistry is a very effective tool to screen and identify imbalances in body metabolism. It serves as an inexpensive way to assess major bodily functions. Using the analysis of blood chemistry panels, a health consultant can provide clients with sound recommendations, screen for health issues and monitor changes that occur with changes to diet, nutrition or other natural health protocols.
A blood chemistry analysis will be considered with new all new clients, especially those that have not had a comprehensive evaluation in recent years. Many health problems can be prevented and managed effectively with early detection. The quality of healthcare in the United States has dramatically declined in the past decade. The incorporation of managed care and HMO systems have made dollars a priority over health. Today’s current model is disease management not early detection through basic blood tests or prevention. (It is interesting to note that one exception is the mammogram, which tends to be strongly encouraged. See “The Politics of Cancer” article for the possible reasons for this). Gone are the days when patients were given comprehensive detailed annual examinations and laboratory assessments.
There is no better example of the diminished quality and comprehensiveness of annual physical examinations than the blood chemistry panel. A decade ago the average annual lab work ordered in a physical exam included a Chem-24, CBC with differential, TSH and a lipid panel. Instead the healthcare model today customarily performs a simple Chem-7 and a lipid panel. The addition of a TSH, a CBC or additional tests are no longer routine. In the current HMO model physicians are evaluated on a regular basis to assess their so-called “effectiveness” as medical provider in the HMO setting. HMO physicians who ordering extra tests are considered unqualified providers. Simply put, if Doctor A and Doctor B both see 1,000 patients and Doctor A orders $30,000 worth of tests and Doctor B orders $5,000 worth of tests, it is most likely that when it is time to let go of a doctor, Doctor A will be released.
In the current healthcare model the practice of medicine is established by guidelines formatted by HMO establishments. The goal of these guidelines is to basically provide a service with the least amount of cost to the HMO. In the HMO model, the HMO collects a sum of money from its contracts each year. Their profit is established by keeping as much of the money collected as possible. HMO’s limit authorization for testing by defining a term they have called “medical necessary”. Medical necessary is basically translated to what test can they avoid authorizing without increasing liability of malpractice to them. It is with the development of this model of healthcare that has made routine comprehensive blood chemistry evaluations obsolete in the current HMO model.
Many people in the United States have given up on the current healthcare model and are searching for alternatives to healthcare. Alternative medicine has grown aggressively due to the void in the current model. Americans are now spending more money out of pocket on alternative medicine every year than traditional healthcare. The public is seeking healthcare providers that can provide them with comprehensive evaluations with non-invasive interventions. It is this transformed mindset that sets up the stage for functional medicine in which patients seek objective analysis such as lab tests with support that includes herbs, nutrition and lifestyle changes.
Healthcare providers that know and utilize in their practice the fundamentals of blood chemistry and endocrinology principles are an important and desperately needed asset to society. Patient after patient are slipping through the cracks of the conventional healthcare system today either not diagnosed, misdiagnosed or mismanaged. Healthcare providers that incorporate the basic principals of blood chemistry and other simple testing into their practices quickly realize the poor standard of healthcare the people in society face today. Providers that routinely screen patients with comprehensive blood chemistry and endocrinology panels consistently find disease or loss of physiological function with their patient populations that go unnoticed in their primary system of care.
A comprehensive blood chemistry analysis provides the patient and the healthcare practitioners with piece of mind that their metabolism has been thoroughly screened. A routine panel can screen for blood sugar, lipid, renal, hepatic, biliary, cardiovascualar, immune and hematological disorders and risk.
COSTS AND BENEFITS OF BLOOD CHEMISTRY PANELS
In the long run, health care costs will increase as the severity of the health imbalance intensifies. Even though the full blood chemistry screening could cost an insurance company $500-$600, in the long run, it could save many more thousands of dollars in hospital and long-term care for chronic illness.
The good news is that there is a laboratory with which I am under contract that charges just around $100 for a full blood chemistry panel that includes a screen for blood sugar, cardiovascular risk, liver, kidney, gall bladder function, infection and thyroid function. If you were go directly to a lab for this service, the out-of-pocket charge would be around $400. The only downside is that you must, before eating breakfast (you must be fasting approximately ten hours to attain proper fasting ranges for glucose and triglycerides), go to the lab in Jefferson City (or St. Louis or Kansas City, or the city in which you live). Nevertheless the savings and health benefits of this screening far outweigh the costs.
On your initial questionnaire, you will be asked about the medications you are currently taking. This is important because sometimes we will need to carry out specific kinds of blood testing to assess certain physiological functions that may have been affected by a medication you are taking.
For example, people that take antacids usually need to be screened for hypochlorhydria, helicobacter pylori, parastic infection, gastrointesitinal IgA mediated food sensitivities, hypothalmas and/or pituitary hypofunction, which alters the release of gastrin, reactive hypoglycemia which causes the depletion of essential cofactors for HCL production.
Also, when people take antacids and alkanize their gastrointestinal tract, the absorption of essential nutrients such as zinc, calcium, B12 and iron will be compromised. In addition to alterations in nutrient absorption, the alkalinizing affect of antacids also alters proper digestion by compromising the release of cholecystokinin. The end result of antacids consmption is improper digestion of food due to an inhibitory release of hydrocholoric acid, pancreatic enzymes, and bile.
Similar kinds of considerations will be taken into account with any medications that you are using. Please come prepared to the initial visit with the name of the medication you are taking as well as the dose.
Dr Tanski-French is a Natural Health Professional, is not a Medical Doctor and does not “practice medicine.” Therefore, she does not diagnose, prescribe, or treat specific medical conditions, but rather works with individuals to restore their health through natural means such as healthy nutrition, nutritional supplements, homeopathic remedies and herbal remedies.