lab work and a stethoscope

Oftentimes, I see patients who know that something is “off.” They’ve had their lab work done, and their doctors told them that the lab values are “normal,” but they still feel like something isn’t right. 

Many men and women walk around feeling that something is “off” but think their hormones are “fine” because that’s what they’ve been told by their regular doctor. But remember: traditional medical school trains doctors to look at normal values, not at optimal values.  I know this because that is how I was trained.  It was not until I had my own medical nightmare in 2006 and re-evaluated my approach to my own health that I learned to look at optimal values.

Let’s talk about how normal values are obtained. Essentially, the laboratory takes a random group of people that meet the age and sex criteria for what they are testing, and they take blood samples from these people. The laboratory then takes the average of the results and assigns those results as normal values. The people being sampled might be unhealthy but not show outward signs of their lack of health. 

Stop and look around you for a moment. Is normal really what you want for yourself or for your patients? I don’t want to be at the “normal” standard. That is what I was before I had my medical nightmare in 2006, and I nearly lost my life. The normal person these days is overweight, or even obese. Many are sick, tired, depressed, typically on multiple medications, and don’t feel great every day. We do not want to compare patients to those standards when we are trying to achieve optimal health.

Optimal is beyond “normal.” A person in optimal wellness has the energy and vitality to live the life they want. They have good muscle tone, have great focus, are in a good mood, and overall feel great! Optimal levels may show as “high” when compared to “normal” levels. Do not be alarmed if you are treating patients with bio-identical hormone therapy and some levels appear elevated. 

Remember that the levels are based on the same laboratory values that often miss a hormone deficiency and are based on “normal” and not “optimal” values. Would you rather have your patients be normal or optimal? Pay attention to the body and the mind.  Look at the big picture.  If a level shows “high” and the patient feels and looks great, why would you want them to be “normal’?

The key to having a successful integrative medical practice is to look at the whole patient and to assess the laboratory values along with the symptoms the patient is having.  Focus on achieving optimal health, having your patient look and feel better than the “normal”.  That is a core premise of a proper bio-identical hormone treatment program.

~  Dr. Laurie Blanscet