Did you know that lab results have always belonged to YOU, the patient.
Today I want to talk about “lab literacy”. You may be thinking, “huh? I can learn to understand my own lab work?”.
Ok, it’s not like you need to know everything. But knowing the basics or the specifics with respect to your own health conditions or family history can be SO helpful in navigating the healthcare system over your lifetime (for you & your loved ones).
You know what’s music to my ears? Starting a visit off with a long-time patient and hearing them say things like,
“I noticed my iron stores dropped below 35” or,
“You’ll be happy to see my thyroid stimulating hormone is staying under 3”.
All of this has been made much easier now thanks to ehealth (in Saskatchewan). Yay for that!
I love helping patients understand their lab results. Whether it’s lab work that I run privately for you, or results you bring in from your family physician or specialist, I love being able to fill this gap.
Because it is a gap: especially the “no news is good news” policy for following up on lab work. Which works fine until an abnormal finding falls through the cracks.
My patients LOVE being able to take as much time as we want/need to review these labs, together.
Yes, I suggest you check over your labs to ensure nothing major was flagged. (I say this with compassion – doctors and the system are so overburdened). Don’t be complacent when it comes to your health! Iron stores of 22 won’t be flagged yet, that’s something important to address because the range is typically 20-120.
Wouldn’t you like to know what’s going well with your labs too? Not just what’s gone wrong.
If all your labs are normal but you feel like garbage, let’s talk.
Are your labs actually normal or optimal?
Do you need more comprehensive testing?
Are you unable to get your vitamin D tested or blood work for your sex hormones through the conventional system?
Is it time to consider some functional testing (e.g. stool/gut health testing) to see what else may be going on on a biochemical or cellular level?
I teach you to understand what the optimal ranges are; this really matters for some labs but not so much for others. I also teach options for proactive and sometimes more comprehensive testing. Proactive as in, let’s try to catch something before it’s so far progressed (and easier to turn around). Comprehensive as in, let’s get a fuller picture out the gate to speed up the assessment process.
The feedback I get from patients (or in the Wild Collective) is that learning this stuff increases their ability to self-advocate with all their healthcare providers (or their children’s, or ageing parents, etc.).
[Self-advocacy: means speaking up about your symptoms, voicing your concerns, and raising any questions you have.]
It’s important to cultivate confidence to get the care you need and deserve. Speaking up in healthcare settings is a crucial part of prioritizing your health!
Let’s aim for health care, not just sick care.
- Dr. Willow
I help women achieve optimal digestive and hormonal wellness through a root cause, individualized approach to medicine that utilizes functional lab testing, diet and lifestyle modification, nutritional and herbal medicine, and acupuncture to re-establish lasting health.
The Wild Collective: my women's ♀️ group health program
Gut health program coming soon, stay tuned 👀!
Between my wait listed practice, building my Wild Collective communities, and being Mom, I don't email often, but I'm working behind the scenes to bring you major value and I'd love to be able to tell you about it when it is ready (along with some more personal shares).