Let’s take a break from the candy this Halloween and understand what this vampire elixir is all about for your health.
You may go to the doctor each year to get your blood work done since you care about your health. However, do you really understand the results once they come back?
Some physicians are great at explaining each value and some just say, “your numbers are good.”
Taking control of your health means understanding the values, if they’ve changed and what they represent.
For example let’s say your normal levels for a certain blood value like your thyroid hormones are at the top of the range and now they are at the bottom, which is not normal for your body. Unless you keep abreast of this your health could be deteriorating without your knowledge.
Let’s start with a common laboratory value called your blood glucose.
Blood glucose is related to how well your body is metabolizing food, specifically carbohydrates. Since our diets are rather high in processed, starchy foods this is one I pay close attention to.
“Normal” values are between 70-110 depending on the lab. However, having a fasting (without food) glucose value of 110 is not normal!
Healthy fasting glucose values are considered below 90, ideally in the 70’s-80’s.
I’ve had many a client come in with several years of blood work only to see their blood glucose values gradually rising over those years without their knowledge, since they were in “normal” range.
If your glucose levels are above 95 consider checking a value called your glycosylated hemoglobin A1C which measures what your blood glucose has been averaging over the previous 3 months. The normal value is 4-5.6. If your level is over 5.7 you are at a risk for impending diabetes and if it is over 6.4 you are considered diabetic.
Another important value now is Vitamin D.
“Normal” values are between 30-100 but health experts consider optimal values above 50 since Vitamin d functions as a hormone and affects hundreds of metabolic pathways in the body.
Since it is almost impossible to get enough vitamin D in our food and most of us avoid the sun, this important nutrient is low in much of our population and needs to be supplemented. If your values are 30-35 it is in “normal” range but having a higher value could significantly help with your immune system, metabolizing fat due to lowering of insulin resistance, lowering cancer risk and optimal bone health.
Take home message?
- Get a copy of your yearly blood work and have your doctor go over each value with you and compare to previous years
- If your physician is not available to go over the values with you, consider switching to someone who can or have an appointment with an RD or other trained health-care professional who understands these values and can help you make appropriate lifestyle changes
This Halloween get your numbers checked and be informed about their values.
Don’t be afraid to face the vampire at your doctor’s office – it could be good health for you and your blood.