Where to Start When You Feel Sick and Tired
If you are reading this and thinking "Something's off... I don't feel right", you are not alone! I see so many people in this same situation. So many, in fact, that I thought I would write and talk about it!
You start off not feeling like yourself. You tell yourself that you are just tired, or getting old, or have bad genes. But, you want to feel good. Maybe you even go to your primary care doctor who runs a few lab tests and says things look "fine". You are relieved that nothing seriously wrong came back on the labs. So, why don't you feel good?
I'll let you in on something... Those labs you had done are not designed to assess your health. They are designed to rule out a major disaster. They are run so that if a prescription medication exists for a high lab number, you can be "offered" or in most cases told you need that. High Cholesterol? Here's a statin drug. High blood pressure? Here's something for that. Inflammation? We have something for that as well... The list goes on.
If you were hoping that someone would look at your body as a whole and see if you were healthy, that simply isn't what happens in most traditional medical settings. This is especially true if you are looking for root causes of why you don't feel well. Unfortunately, most of the recommendations are made for symptomatic relief and not truly helping you understand the why behind what is going on.
So, what is a better approach? I think the first thing to have done is a true, full panel of blood work. I'm not talking about a metabolic panel and a CBC. I'm talking about 80 plus markers that show you what is going on with every major body system. The hormones, the thyroid (a full and complete panel), inflammation markers, a look at gut health, the immune system. All the things.
You combine a very thorough set of functional labs with a comprehensive health history to help you determine your health priorities. What are the obstacles to you not feeling well? Blood sugar dysregulation (nearly impossible to determine on most routine lab work), inflammation, etc. When you review the labs, you want to be able to ask questions, so you understand the whole picture. Often, I find that someone comes to me thinking they know what is wrong, but when we evaluate and look at the whole picture they learn how so many things are inter-connected. They had no idea that their unstable blood sugar explains why they have been treating adrenal fatigue for years and not feeling much better.
Below is a picture of the kind of report I create for someone who has labs run in my office. We look at functional or healthy ranges (vs. just the standard "Reference Ranges"). We consider all the things that could be factoring into their situation and we ask underlying, root cause questions like - "What is CAUSING inflammation?" That way we can get to the root of the issue instead of just treating the symptoms. Don't get me wrong, you want the symptoms to go away, but you actually want to fix the underlying problem, not just mask the symptom. That would be like putting duct tape over the check engine light in your car when it comes on. The light isn't showing up anymore, but the problem is still there. Symptoms are your body's check engine light that help get your attention.
Once you get the list of priorities, you can move onto a plan. The truth is that having a list of issues is only the starting point. It gives you clarity on the issue. That is a huge piece of the puzzle, but you still need to create a plan to take action on what you found. I find that not having clarity on the true issues and lack of a good plan with follow-through are two common reasons people fail at taking control of health issues and getting good results.
I hope you found this helpful. If you have any questions about your unique situation or would like more information on collecting this type of data about yourself, you can reach out for a short, free discovery call and I can answer questions and listen to see if I can help!
To your health!