Why do I feel bad, with normal lab ranges?

You’re not feeling your “normal self.”  You feel tired, maybe even depressed, symptoms are popping up that you’ve never experienced before. You know there’s something wrong. You have numerous blood tests done, which come back “normal”, and then your doctor says, “There’s nothing wrong with you”. What??? That can’t be right.

This has undoubtedly happened to you, a coworker, or loved one, at some point in your history, right?

There’s obviously something wrong!  You know your body pretty well by now, and when it’s not doing its’ normal thing…. you typically notice.

One of the problems with many lab tests, these days, is the lab ranges (the numbers that tells whether a test is “normal” or not) are pretty outdated and sometimes the range is wide!) Another important thing to note about these ranges is the Lack of standardization between different laboratories.

Why would this be a concern?  Well….

You may go to one lab and test in the “normal” range, and then go to a different one, and test “low” or “high”.
The ranges often don’t pick up the “ill” picture, until you already have symptoms of ill-health for a while. For instance, you’ll often have to have such a decline in blood levels, before finally testing “low” enough to have the diagnosis of anemia. Even though you’ve been tired, not sleeping, and may have been having heavy menstrual bleeding for close to a year or more.

What if you had better blood lab values that would actually show when things are “heading” into a potential: illness, autoimmune condition, or glandular problem, etc?

Oh wait, there is!!

It’s what most practitioners of Functional Medicine are paying attention to with their patients. (See my website menu for a more detailed description on Functional Medicine.)

I’m a practitioner of Chinese medicine, and with this medicine, we’re always looking for the total picture of our patient’s health, and wellbeing. I, personally, still like to look at lab values to see how deep certain conditions might have gone, in conjunction with Chinese medical diagnostics. Blood lab values, give my patient’s something “tangible” to understanding their prognosis, as well as how much attention they’ll need to pay to their diet,  lifestyle, in addition to the treatment plan decided upon.

If you fit into my original scenario, you might want to seek someone who uses Functional medicine and screens the labs into a more preventative representation.

If more folks thought of preventative care, instead of waiting until there’s a major illness to fight, we’d be supporting our immune systems, feeling better, and having energy to spare!

Don’t get me wrong, there are some great doctors out there that have your health in mind, and they will keep looking to try to find out what why you are feeling unwell.  Most of us don’t want to think that our symptoms could be actually something very serious, and/or potentially life threatening. This kind of thinking is normal. No one wants to hear a poor prognosis.

I think it’s really important to think more “preventatively” in this day and age. None of us know how long we have on this planet, so why not be proactive and do something that will give you a more clear idea of what your health issues are, so they can be addressed early on? This way, as you age, you’ll be the one that still feels great, is on little to no medication, and can truly enjoy your life!

There are different types of testing to reveal different health issues. For instance, with gluten sensitivity, you may need genetic or serum blood gluten testing. If other food allergens may be your issue, and there are specific food array tests that can show which are your worst offenders. Avoidance of those allergens would be important, if your issues are digestive or neurological. Fertility can also be affected by the inflammation that allergens can create internally.

A comprehensive blood panel alone may be enough to give answers, (if it is evaluated at functional levels), although depending on the severity of symptoms, they may show “out of normal range” even by typical lab standards.

If you have questions on how to get these test done, or how I can help you, please feel free to contact me by e-mail .

About Shelly Tompkins

Shelly Tompkins, L.Ac, is a renowned women’s health & wellness expert. A licensed acupuncturist, herbalist and functional medicine practitioner in private practice in San Diego, CA. She holds a Master of Science degree in Traditional Oriental Medicine from the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine and a Functional Medicine certification through Functional Medicine University. Shelly has had the opportunity to work with many well-known fertility specialists in Southern California to provide stress-reduction to patients, as well as enhance their IUI (intrauterine insemination) or IVF (in-vitro fertilization) results.

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