Identify the root of your symptoms using functional blood tests at RedRiver Health and Wellness

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CONTRIBUTED CONTENT — Have you seen your doctor because you suffer from fatigue, brain fog, hair loss, digestive issues, joint pain, or other symptoms, and you were told your blood test is normal? You may have even been given a prescription for antidepressants, because your tests don’t seem to indicate you have a physical health problem.

You know something is wrong and that you’re not supposed to feel this way, but what is the cause? At RedRiver Health and Wellness Center, we believe the reason your blood test didn’t show anything wrong with you is because most doctors use lab ranges instead of functional ranges when evaluating the results.

A lab range identifies acute disorders and diseases, while a functional range uses parameters of optimal health and identifies problems that often can still be reversed. This allows you to do something about the problem before it’s too late.

For instance, using a functional range, you can identify hypothyroidism even though your primary thyroid marker is “normal” according to a lab range. 

Address your health problem before it’s too late 

In functional medicine, we identify and manage the root cause of symptoms instead of using drugs or surgery to stamp them out – although medications or surgery may still be necessary in some cases. The most common analogy we use in functional medicine is that when the “check engine” light comes on, we look under the hood to diagnose the problem instead of turning off the engine light.

Functional blood test ranges, which outline the parameters of good health, are an important tool to help us with this.

What is the difference between functional ranges and lab ranges on a blood test? 

For the most part, lab ranges are based on a bell-curve analysis of the people who had blood drawn at that lab over a certain period of time. Naturally, many of these people are getting their blood drawn because they have a health problem. As a result, lab ranges have broadened over the last 20-30 years as the health of the United States’ population has declined.

This means many people with health issues may be told nothing is wrong because their labs fit in with most people at that lab. If you want to evaluate your health in terms of what is optimal, then functional ranges are the way to go.

Looking for patterns on a functional blood test

With a functional blood test, we also look at patterns of markers instead of looking at each marker in isolation. This is based on understanding that various aspects of human physiology are interrelated and affect one another. Doing this allows us to see how different systems influence one another to cause a pattern of symptoms.

For instance, evaluating immune cells more broadly can give us clues as to whether inflammation is chronic or acute and whether it is caused by a virus, bacteria, allergies or parasites. Other patterns can help us spot fatty liver, leaky gut, different types of anemia or autoimmune disorders. This then helps us determine what types of testing are further needed.

Functional blood tests are more thorough 

Functional medicine blood tests are also more comprehensive than a standard blood test. For example, a basic thyroid test from your doctor probably only looks at TSH, or thyroid stimulating hormone. However, because autoimmune Hashimoto’s, which attacks and destroys the thyroid gland, causes 90% of hypothyroid cases in the United States, we run autoimmune markers to screen for Hashimoto’s. We also look at other markers to see whether additional factors are contributing to your low thyroid symptoms.

Ask my office for more information regarding a functional blood test if you are struggling with chronic health symptoms that are sabotaging your quality of life.

Written by JOSH REDD, chiropractic physician at RedRiver Health and Wellness Center.

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About Dr. Josh Redd

Josh Redd, MS, DABFM, DAAIM, is a chiropractic physician and author of the Amazon bestselling book “The Truth About Low Thyroid.” Redd owns seven functional medicine clinics in the western United States and sees patients from across the country and around the world who are suffering from challenging autoimmune, endocrine and neurological disorders. He also teaches thousands of health care practitioners about functional medicine and immunology, thyroid health, neurology, lab testing and more.


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