WHY NORMAL ISN'T GOOD ENOUGH FOR YOUR BLOOD TEST RESULTS

blood test blood test ranges menopause perimenopause women's health May 13, 2024

When it comes to managing your health, especially during perimenopause, understanding the nuances of your blood test results, and what they can tell you about the state of your health, is crucial. For so many women over 40, they get told that their test results are ‘normal’ or ‘fine’ but they continue to suffer from symptoms like exhaustion, weight gain, more pain, PMS and mood swings.

Rather than just having to accept this as your new normal state of health in perimenopause, or that there’s nothing you can do about it, in this blog we’re going to teach you how to use your blood test results to move you to optimal health. We’ll explore why normal blood test ranges from the pathology lab and your doctor may not equal your best state of health, and how there is a gold mine of information in your blood test results that you can use to optimise your health, reduce perimenopause symptoms, and prevent disease or dysfunction from evolving.

UNDERSTANDING BLOOD TEST RESULTS: WHAT DOES 'NORMAL' REALLY MEAN?

Your blood test results are usually assessed by your doctor against ranges that are considered ‘normal’ for a broad population. These normal ranges are not randomly picked; they are chosen from the average of results from a large group of people - men and women - whose tests have been collected by the lab. (This also means that different labs may have different ranges.)

These ‘normal’ ranges represent where 95% of the tested population fall. This means that the so-called ‘normal’ encompasses 95% of results, with the top and bottom 2.5% considered outside the normal.

Unfortunately, this approach does not always take into account the unique physiological changes that make different from men, nor those hormone changes that occur during perimenopause and can heavily impact your physiology. We are not little men!

WHY OPTIMAL RANGES MATTER FOR WOMEN OVER 40

For women in perimenopause, optimal blood test ranges can be far more indicative of true health, and help explain why you’re not feeling great, although your blood test results may be ‘normal.’

Optimal ranges are created by considering what we know about physiology for women, and factors like hormonal changes unique to perimenopause to provide a more powerful approach to your healthcare. Adjusting your focus from normal to optimal ranges can help pinpoint health issues earlier, giving the opportunity to stave off more serious complications.

For example, thyroid stimulating hormone on the higher end of the normal range can still manifest in significant symptoms like fatigue, weight gain, and depression. These symptoms are often overlooked by healthcare providers using these broad normal ranges, because they don't have the tools to help you with preventative care that helps reverse the imbalance before it becomes a dysfunction or disease.

FUNCTIONAL BLOOD CHEMISTRY ANALYSIS: A DEEPER DIVE INTO YOUR HEALTH

Taking your blood test results a step further is functional blood chemistry analysis (FBCA). We explore beyond surface-level results, and focusing on each marker individually, to uncover subtle changes in biochemistry that may impact your health significantly.

FBCA helps us assess and analyse the state of your body systems and nutrient levels, using standard markers. It also extends beyond conventional testing by focusing on narrower, ranges that are specifically aligned with optimal health for women.

This approach is not merely about identifying disease or dysfunction earlier; it's also about providing deeper insights into your body's specific needs, allowing for care and support that is tailored to you, and that is also preventative.

This analysis helps us spot the early signs of imbalance or dysfunction, which can be crucial for addressing issues before they develop into more serious conditions. It’s a proactive tool that empowers both us and our clients to understand and manage what’s happening in their body, without the need for many (expensive) functional tests.

By using functional blood chemistry analysis, we can use mostly ‘standard’ blood tests to find out more about how other systems of your body are functioning, as well as track subtle changes in your body's biochemistry, for a comprehensive view of your health and to enable us to create personalised plans to help move you towards optimal. This personalised approach ensures that treatments are not only preventative but also highly specific to your unique biochemistry, phase of life, and health history, enhancing your overall health and perimenopause journey.

CASE STUDY: KIRSTY'S JOURNEY FROM FRUSTRATION TO EMPOWERMENT

Take Kirsty, for example, a client who came to me exhausted and frustrated. Despite constant complaints to her doctor of fatigue, brain fog, weight gain, and low mood — classic signs of low thyroid dysfunction — her blood tests continually came back ‘normal.’

However, it was evident to us that something wasn’t right. By applying the principles of functional blood chemistry analysis and evaluating her results against optimal ranges for women, we discovered her thyroid function was indeed on the low side of normal.

We adjusted her treatment plan to address the specific issues driving her symptoms, focusing not just on her thyroid but on other contributors that were picked up from her functional blood chemistry analysis. This holistic and proactive approach allowed us to implement changes that addressed the underlying factors driving her symptoms, to improve her thyroid function, and therefore her mood and energy levels, heavy bleeding and lose the weight that she’d gained.

Kirsty's health transformation was profound — she not only felt better, but she also learned how to examine her health and glean more from her standard blood test results, moving her from a state of frustration and feeling rubbish, to one of knowledge and active participation in her health.

MOVING FROM NORMAL TO OPTIMAL

Understanding lab results is more than just accepting what is typical; it's about striving for what is optimal. By adjusting how you interpret blood test ranges, you can better manage your health, particularly during the perimenopause years. Remember, you have the right to feel as good as possible, and sometimes that means questioning the norm and advocating for a deeper investigation into your health.

HOW TO USE OPTIMAL RANGES FOR BETTER HEALTH OUTCOMES

  1. Empower yourself with knowledge: Use resources like The Blood Test Decoder: Optimal Ranges for Women 40 Plus to compare your results with optimal ranges. Download the freebie here to get started.
  2. Request specific tests: If you suspect that there’s something out of balance with your results, you might ask your healthcare provider for tests that go beyond the standard panels to try and find out more about what’s driving how you’re feeling. This might include more detailed thyroid testing or inflammation markers which are often overlooked in routine checks.
  3. Seek second opinions: If your symptoms persist despite 'normal' results, consider consulting with a specialist who understands the significance of optimal ranges, such as a naturopath or an integrative medicine doctor.

If you are ready to move from feeling 'fine' to feeling your best self then download our free guide, The Blood Test Decoder, to begin understanding your blood test results and taking proactive steps towards better health. If you have questions or need further guidance, feel free to reach out or leave a comment below.

We're here to help you make sense of your health, one blood test at a time.

 
 

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