I recently needed to change my healthcare provider from a PPO to an HMO. I had been used to seeing a naturopath for in-depth blood work. So much information can be learned from blood work.
My recent trip to a “regular” MD made me feel I knew more than she did regarding nutrition and how food affects the body. The one issue I can’t seem to hack is better sleep. I thought I’d discuss it with the doctor to see her suggestions. I made it clear medication was NOT going to be my solution. She made some excellent suggestions with herbs and natural remedies; however, I already knew her solutions. She gets extra credit for knowing something about herbs and supplements.
We continued our discussion, and she ordered some blood work for me. I was super excited to have labs done. A few days later, I could see the results and was surprised by the lack of labs I thought would be essential. The labs were just a slimmed-down lipid panel, A1C, creatine for kidney function, and a basic THS for thyroid. I was certainly disappointed at the lack of information from these basic and no exploratory tests. Why wouldn’t a test be ordered for insulin, inflammation (hs-CRP), hormones, anemia, and an in-depth lipid panel other than total cholesterol, LDL, and HDL? The tests that were ordered don’t tell a story. I shared my previous labs from my naturopath with the doctor, and she was amazed at how many labs were ordered and commented how most weren’t necessary.
I recently went for a follow-up, and she suggested a statin drug because my LDL was ever so slightly elevated. Why is a pill the solution? Because it’s the medical practice of the “standard of care.” Doctors don’t have the billable time to get to underlying issues. Their job is to treat the symptoms and bill accordingly. I asked why she didn’t ask for a more extensive blood work panel; she said it was unnecessary. I asked if she could order additional labs, and while she was hesitant, she was willing to call the labs, stating, “Insurance probably won’t pay for them.” – guess what? They did. In the end, she was impressed I knew what I wanted.
The reason I’m going down this path is for a few reasons. First, most people don’t know what they don’t know. Most people feel their doctor walks on water and believe they know what’s best for them. In my opinion, nothing is farther from the truth. In a book by Ken Berry, MD, Lies My Doctor Told Me, you’ll hear from an MD about the medical standard of practice and the lack of education many physicians have regarding nutrition and general health. It comes down to treating the symptom and not the patient.
I would encourage you to do your research about the medications you take. There are effects from taking medications long term. People diagnosed with metabolic syndromes like high blood pressure and high blood sugar are lifestyle-related and can be reversed with diet so you can get off the medication. Oh, you have high blood pressure, or you’re pre-diabetic. Take a pill. You see how the medical community and drug companies are connected, right?
I advocate for people to be informed empowered, and to take control of their health. No one else will care about you until you take control.
Pat Garner is a Certified Nutritional Practitioner (CNP)