As I see increasing numbers of patients looking outside of mainstream medicine and turning to functional medicine for healthcare options, I am surprised by how many people will tell me that their doctor said their numbers are normal. But then even with those normal numbers, they come to see me for a nutritional consultation because the “normal” medical care they were receiving did not actually help them get healthy.
Patients have said that their blood pressure is normal, their CBC (complete blood count) is normal, their blood sugar is normal. While these numbers may come back within ranges designated as normal, that doesn’t mean they’re optimal. If you went to your doctor and they tested 20 markers in your blood and every test result was in the normal range yet just one point away from being too low, would you consider yourself healthy?
The average patient who comes to see me is typically looking for a new normal. They are looking for someone who will look beyond their numbers and not just tell them their numbers are normal, but instead how they could be better — which is exactly what we do through functional medicine at Burtis Chiropractic Center.
Here’s an extremely common example. A patient comes in telling me that their thyroid numbers are normal. Typically, this means their TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) is within range. Unfortunately, most of the time, tests never check more than just the TSH. A complete evaluation of thyroid function requires a complete thyroid panel, including ruling out antibodies that would indicate Hashimoto’s disease — an autoimmune disease of the thyroid that responds well to functional medicine. Quite often the thyroid will not respond until you support its adrenals, hormones, or other systems that work with the thyroid to manage your body’s energy levels. Most of the patients I see with thyroid problems actually have thyroid, adrenal, AND hormone issues that all need addressing.
I’ll share another example that shows up more often as we move into late fall and early winter — low vitamin D3 levels. D3 levels are rarely checked, and more often than not they are reported to be normal. Unfortunately, this means above 20. Optimal would be 50-80. Just above 20 is just enough to not get sick. It is also low enough that it means you are very prone to weakness in your immune system. If you are low, you’ll often be prescribed vitamin D2, which is a precursor to activated D3. Quite often your D3 is low because your body is having a problem converting D2 into D3, so giving you D2 makes no sense. In addition, people with weight management concerns need quite a bit more D3 than people of average weight to achieve optimal levels.
Here is another thing to think about when you’re being told your results are normal. If your tests came back to normal but you still feel tired, cranky, and brain-foggy, would you be okay with that?
Let’s stop talking about reaching normal levels and adjust the goal. Think about it — would you like to just feel normal? How about feeling fantastic instead? Or amazing, tremendous, or even energized? What’s wrong with wanting that? Nothing! But we have come to settle on feeling normal. People think being pain-free is enough to be healthy. It is not. You deserve more! Can you be the best mom you can be if you just feel normal? How much better of a husband or dad can you be if you feel great? It may take more work, more commitment, and a new health guide, but it is achievable.
One of the ways in which functional medicine differs from regular medicine is its emphasis on optimal health and well-being. Part of this means having an optimum range for your blood tests, blood pressure, blood sugar, etc. There are many ways to move your body in that direction which will restore your health right past normal on the way to optimal. If you are tired of accepting normal and are ready to claim amazing, start the transformation. It starts with your own mind. So just start. That is the first step on the way to amazing!