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Thread: Blood Work--What to Test for page

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    diene's Avatar
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    Blood Work--What to Test for

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    I'm going to get some blood work done soon. It's been a few years. I plan on getting a lipid panel and a full thyroid hormone panel. Other than vitamin D levels, what other vitamins/minerals should I get tested for? Is there a panel for this type of thing?

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    Neckhammer's Avatar
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    Without history any recommendations for asymptomatic testing is just plain silly IMO.

    Usually it just leads to stress or worse... intervention for a perceived outlier test that is simply not pathological in the individual sense, but is still seen as outside of "normal" range.

    Ok, now that I got that off my chest. Vitamin D is a safe one to get. I'd not do a full thyroid panel unless you are symptomatic or have other tests that come in highly irregular.

    The real questions are what is your health history and are you symptomatic in any way that you feel you need testing?
    Last edited by Neckhammer; 04-16-2013 at 12:25 PM.

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    If your really set on doing it just to see a bunch of info then I've recommended this for people:

    https://www.directlabs.com/MostPopul...S/Default.aspx

    You might need to add the C-reactive protein and vitamin D test to that list.... then its pretty comprehensive. Please work with somebody knowledgeable if you get all this data...
    Last edited by Neckhammer; 04-16-2013 at 12:31 PM.

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    I agree with Neckhammer, lab tests are best when they are correlated with problems to be solved. Just shotgunning a bunch of lab tests will lead to wild goose chases after minor statistical fluctuations.

    there is an analogous concept in X-ray: VOMIT, Victim of Medical Imaging Technology.

    good luck! Get yourself a good primary care doc!
    10/2/12: 169 lbs, 37"waist
    Now: low 150's, 33" waist
    Blog: http://paleopathologist.com/

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    diene's Avatar
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    If only I can find even a halfway decent primary care doc. My experience with primary care docs has been dismal. Most are idiots if you ask me. They don't know anything and can't diagnose anything. At best, they're a waste of time and money. At worst, they make you sick when you were fine before.

    A couple years ago, I went to a primary care doc complaining of constipation. Actually, I thought I had fecal impaction (TMI, I know), which is why I went to the doctor. Turned out I didn't have fecal impaction. Anyway, the doc told me to take MiraLax on a permanent basis. I asked whether it is safe to take it permanently. She said that it's fine and that lots of people take it permanently. It's a osmotic laxative and not a stimulant so you won't get addicted to it and blah blah blah. I took her advice and proceeded to take Miralax on a daily basis. Five to six weeks later, one day I experienced abdominal pains in the morning. I didn't have any other symptoms so I was pretty sure that it wasn't the stomach flu. I ignored it all day, but at night, when it got worse, I thought that maybe it's appendicitis so I went to the ER. A CT scan and blood test later, they told me that it wasn't appendicitis, that they didn't know what it was, and that I should go home. (Even though I told them during intake that I had been taking MiraLax.) They prescribed me some codeine for good measure.

    I went home but didn't really get better. I think two or three days later, I went back to the ER (different hospital this time). They still couldn't figure out what was wrong. They sent me home with an oxycodone prescription. The oxycodone was fun. (I hate opiates, but it was fun because it actually worked to diminish the pain, unlike codeine, which was pretty much useless. Works as a cough suppressant though.)

    Finally, I got better. (it's because I had stopped taking the MiraLax when the pain started.) Then I saw a gastroenterologist. (It took a while before I was able to get an appointment with a specialist.) He told me that it was the Miralax and that I should not take it again. I had an uncommon but not unknown or unheard of adverse reaction to it. No one else was able to figure this out. General practitioners are useless.

    Edited to add: The abdominal pains were severe. It was horrible, really. Like the worst cramps you get when you have a stomach flu, except that it's continuous. Did you know that pain wears you down psychologically? It wears down your mental endurance. I have a pretty high pain threshold and tolerance, but after hours and hours and hours of non-stop severe pain, your ability to endure pain really decreases so that it becomes harder and harder to tolerate the same amount of pain.

    Anyway, thanks Neckhammer for the link. I mostly just want to get my thyroid tested, and I'm curious about my cholesterol numbers since there's been so much discussion about that on this forum lately. The one and only time I've ever had a physical was in 2008, and it was before I went primal. My cholesterol and triglyceride numbers were CW perfect. The doc who examined me also told me that my thyroid was slightly larger than normal so he tested my thyroid hormones as well, but they came back normal. I just want to have them checked again because--you guessed it--I haven't been able to lose weight. Yeah, absolutely nothing has worked recently (past 8 months or so). I, like everyone else, would like to blame it on my thyroid.

    And I figured that if I'm going to get one thing tested, might as well get other things tested as well (since they're already going to be drawing blood). Figured that vitamin D is a good thing to test since many people seem to be deficient, especially if they live somewhere dismal like the Northeast. I take a supplement, but who knows how good it really is.

    Edit: I fixed my constipation problem by taking Garden of Life probiotics (Primal Defense) and apple cider vinegar. The probiotics alone didn't so anything. But once I started consuming ACV, it really started to work. Before that I was consuming large quantities of chia seeds, which relieved the symptoms, but I had to take an ever increasing quantity of chia seeds. (It's like I would become tolerant to the chia seeds.) Anyway, in case anyone was wondering...
    Last edited by diene; 04-16-2013 at 04:18 PM.

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    It is a challenge to find a good doc, I have to admit. Since I am a specialist doc (pathologist) it's easier for me! Maybe find a nurse or someone who works in a hospital and ask their opinion.

    The first time I went Low Carb I got constipated pretty bad for basically the first time in my life. I used Psyllium (metamucil) and it helped some but what really seems to have helped is supplementing good old NaCl salt and magnesium. It has not been a problem in six months, and I remain pretty low carb (prob less than 50 gm/day.)

    I had a doc tell me once that unless I was taking a minimum of 2000 IU/day of vitamin D that she could reliably predict that my D level would be low. It was. I'm doing 5K/day now and my level is around 60, middle of range.

    Overall the single most effective eating plan for weight loss tested in the A to Z trial (2007 I think) was good old Atkins, very low carb with transition as tolerated upwards. Atkins has been maligned right left up and down, but it has been tested in reasonable clinical trials and it does usually work. My favorite book is "The new Atkiins for a new you" by Westman, Phinney, Volek I believe. Westman is head of the Duke Metabolic Clinic. The book might have a suggested blood work panel, in addition, to get back to your original post.

    Good luck!
    10/2/12: 169 lbs, 37"waist
    Now: low 150's, 33" waist
    Blog: http://paleopathologist.com/

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    Oh, on the lipid panel thing, I just came across some interesting papers. If you are low risk (decent family history, no recent heart symptoms, normal blood pressure, no diabetes, that sort of thing) some people recommend against doing any lipid testing at all because of the problem I mentioned above. I have the "american male over 45" risk factor, but my HDL is now 77 due to low carbing and that is a "-1" so my risk factors come to 0. Lipid testing not recommended!
    10/2/12: 169 lbs, 37"waist
    Now: low 150's, 33" waist
    Blog: http://paleopathologist.com/

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    diene's Avatar
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    Thanks! I do take magnesium citrate, and it has actually helped me a lot with calf soreness. I also take 10,000 IUs of vitamin D. I ended up ordering the test Neckhammer recommended above and not ordering the vitamin D test.

    I tried the Atkins induction-style diet for a while (3-4 months), less than 20 g carbs per day, with one or two days per week of carb refeeding to fuel my HIIT sessions. But I did not lose any weight. I would lose water weight all week, but the water weight obviously comes right back as soon as I increase the carbs. At the time, I also restricted my daily caloric intake to 1200-1600 calories a day. I usually kept it around/below 1400 but would sometimes go over 1400. I ate more on high carb days. I'm very active, and there was no reason why I should have been unable to lose weight on such low carbs and calories unless I have thyroid issues or something else is going on. But I have no other thyroid symptoms other than the weight thing so thyroid is unlikely. I'm getting it tested so we'll see.

    I did some research and am now convinced that my inability to lose weight is caused by my copper IUD. Although according to mainstream medicine, copper IUDs do not cause weight gain, and, for a long time, I didn't believe that it was the IUD because I could think of no scientific explanation for it. But then I read that although the precise mechanism of action of the copper IUD is not well understood, the IUD is believed to cause chronic low-grade inflammation of the endometrium, thereby making it inhospitable to the zygote. (Plus, copper has spermicidal properties.) So now I think that it's the chronic inflammation that's causing me to be unable to lose weight. (I also gained weight right after I had the thing inserted, and my inability to lose weight also started after the insertion. Could all be coincidence, of course, but I'm going to have it removed. N=1 experiment!)

    As for the lipid panel, I don't have any risk factors, but I'm curious to see if my cholesterol numbers have gone up since so many people on this forum seem to have experienced an increase. Even if they did go up, I don't think they would have gotten to an unhealthy range (whatever that range is) because they were super low before: HDL 61/LDL 59 (can't remember the units--haha!)

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