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Advanced Diagnostic Testing

+ Blood, Nutrient, Hormone, Heavy Metal, Gut Biome, DNA test and more

Advanced diagnostic testing is revolutionizing healthcare, giving our doctors unprecedented insight into underlying health conditions. This is vital to treating chronic conditions.

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How Advanced Diagnostic Tests Can Revolutionize Your Health:

Most people have a blood test at some point in their life to measure cholesterol and nutrient levels. However, this is just the tip of the iceberg for modern diagnostic testing.

Advanced diagnostic testing is revolutionizing healthcare because it allows doctors to uncover root-level issues that cause a number of confusing symptoms. Chronic conditions are difficult to diagnose and often interlinked. If you’ve been suffering from a chronic condition, or can’t get a clear diagnosis from a doctor, getting advanced tests can be a game-changer.

Tests can now tell you what vital nutrients and micro-nutrients you are missing, what foods cause you inflammation, hormone levels, and even what bacteria you have in your gut. This is all vital information when you’re making diet and lifestyle changes.

Unfortunately, most doctors do not typically recommend many of the useful advanced tests because many of them require you to pay out of pocket. It’s more common for Integrative and Naturopathic doctors to recommend them, as they treat your overall health and not just your disease. Typically, your health insurance will cover basic blood tests, but often you’ll have to pay out of pocket for more advanced tests.

Below we detail all the available tests, what they do, and what they typically cost.

 

Why should I get Diagnostic Tests?

Often, underlying health issues like hormone imbalances, nutrient deficiencies, or biome imbalance can create a number of painful symptoms which can be hard for traditional doctors to diagnose. 

Specialized laboratory testing can give you a clearer picture of your health and what’s going on below the surface. Getting specific, targeted insight into your unique physiology can save you months or years of suffering through trial and error. 

Common laboratory tests include blood tests, hair tests, stool samples, and breath tests. Modern diagnostic tests can identify allergies, infections, inflammation, and even the onset of chronic diseases like cancers and organ damage. They can also shed light on complex, ongoing issues such as autoimmune conditions, digestive issues, and hormonal imbalance.

 

Auto-Immune Diseases

Autoimmune diseases, where your immune system attacks healthy cells, can be indicated for example by C-Reactive Protein (CRP) test, erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR), protein (ferritin) tests, antibody (ANA and immunoglobulins) tests and ELISA (Enzyme-linked Immunosorbent Assay) tests. Autoimmune conditions are one of the most misdiagnosed diseases — often taking up to 5 years to diagnose properly– and laboratory tests can identify them immediately. Although there is not one test that can single-handedly diagnose the dozens of autoimmune conditions, blood tests can indicate levels of inflammation common to autoimmune conditions. From there, you can get more specific testing to identify the exact condition and thus direct treatment.

 

Gut Health

Poor gut health is a significant factor in most chronic health conditions, particularly autoimmune conditions and digestive disorders.

Gut issues can be drastically improved through blood and stool testing. Taking a sample of live blood can tell you if there are bacteria, parasites, inflammation markers, or excessive sugar in the blood. Once you and your doctor know what’s happening, you can get clear on the necessary dietary changes, supplements, or medications. 

A biome test through a stool sample can show exactly what bacteria (both good and bad) are living in the gut. A good integrative doctor or naturopathic doctor can tailor-make a treatment plan to fit your unique microbiome. That might not sound like a big deal, but it is. Gut microbiomes are incredibly unique, and often testing can uncover irritants and inflammatory foods you’ve been living with for your entire life. 

Gut tests typically cost between $99 – $250 and can be ordered through companies like Viome or Everlywell. These tests typically require you to pay out of pocket. 

 

Allergies

Allergies and food sensitivities like lactose or fructose can show up immediately via skin-pricking tests, blood tests or breath tests. Breath testing can also indicate bacterial overgrowth, SIBO, or H. pylori which can lead to gastrointestinal diseases.

Food sensitivity tests typically cost between $40 and $200, and there’s a great article that breaks down options here.

 

Hormones Imbalances

Blood tests play a key role in fixing hormonal imbalances in both men and women. There are currently around 50 different hormones we know about, which all must be in a delicate balance for us to stay healthy.  

It’s very helpful to have a clear map of your hormone levels so you’re not throwing random treatments at your body and hoping them to work.

Hormone levels can be taken from blood tests through your doctor. These are often covered by your health insurance.

 

Types of Tests:

 

blood tests

 

Blood tests

Blood tests are the most common form of testing. From a single sample of blood, your doctor can order a variety of tests including basic nutrient levels (standard), hormone levels, heavy metal screens, and much more. 

Blood tests are a very reliable form of data. They can demonstrate organ functionality, the quality of metabolic health, hormonal imbalances, and even levels of inflammation which often indicate a chronic condition. They can help both diagnose existing conditions, and prevent future ones by letting you know what’s out of balance in your body. 

Through blood testing, we can see the body on a chemical level, down to our nutrient, micronutrient, vitamin, mineral, heavy metal and hormonal make-up: the small micro components which radically affect our health on a macro level and can be the difference between feeling vital and energetic or feeling ‘off.” A number of studies have linked nutrient deficiencies like magnesium with anxiety and depression. 

 

Blood cholesterol testing or Lipid Panel:

Cholesterol is a fat molecule created by the liver from the fatty foods we eat. It is essential for our health. However, having too high a level of cholesterol increases the risk of strokes and heart attacks. Prior to this test, you may need to fast for 12 hours so the result will be unaffected by undigested food.

 

Blood culture:

This test identifies the presence of germs and foreign invaders such as bacteria, fungus and yeast in the blood that can cause an infection by sampling blood from the vein and one or other parts of the body and combining the samples with nutrients to enhance bacterial growth. This test will likely be done in immunocompromised patients or those experiencing fevers or sepsis.

 

Blood gases testing:

This test assesses the balance of oxygen and carbon dioxide and acid and alkali (pH levels) in the blood. An imbalance in pH levels can be created by issues in the respiratory system including pneumonia or COPD or metabolic issues such as diabetes or kidney failure.

 

Blood glucose (blood sugar) tests:

This test can take the form of a fasting glucose test, a glucose tolerance test, and an HbA1C test (to check blood sugar over the past three months) to identify or assess diabetes or blood sugar dysregulation. Blood sugar dysregulation is correlated also to hormonal imbalance within women so can be a useful diagnostic tool and precursor to an effective holistic treatment plan.

 

Cancer blood tests:

Certain tests can help identify cancers or tell you whether you have a higher risk of developing specific cancer. These include prostate-specific antigen (PSA) for prostate cancer, CA125 protein for ovarian cancer, and BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes for hereditary breast and ovarian cancer. If you have a close relative with this genetic condition, it can act as a crucial preventative test for your future health.

 

Chromosome testing:

These tests check for a healthy shape and count of chromosomes in cells, identifying potential irregularities. This can help to identify sex development disorders or other disorders which can lead to repetitive miscarriages in women. 

 

Coagulation panel or blood count:

This test checks for normal or abnormal clotting of your blood. Bleeding irregularities can indicate hemophilia as well as liver conditions, some forms of leukemia, thrombosis, a Vitamin K deficiency, or increased risk for brain, heart, lung damage or heart attack or stroke.

 

C-reactive protein (CRP) testing:

This test measures the volume of CRP in the body produced by the liver. Excessive volumes indicate inflammation and can therefore indicate causes such as artery inflammation, infections, IBD, heart disease, arthritis, lupus, Type 2 diabetes, autoimmune conditions, or cancers.

 

DHEA-sulfate serum test:

DHEA comes from your adrenal glands. Low levels in men can indicate Type II diabetes, kidney diseases, anorexia, or AIDS. High levels in women can indicate cancerous cells in adrenal glands or hormone relates issues such as PCOS. Since DHEA plays a huge role in many of our bodily functions including hormonal regulation, cognitive function, the immune system, stress management, and overall wellbeing, you might find you have an imbalance if you are experiencing fatigue, memory loss, or hormonal symptoms.

 

Electrolyte testing:

Electrolytes are minerals found in the body, including sodium, potassium, and chloride, that have multiple functions including maintaining water balance. Low or changing levels can indicate dehydration, diabetes or side effects from medications. If you are experiencing blood pressure changes, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, cardiac or breath issues, weakness or urinary changes, this can be a useful diagnostic test.

 

Erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR):

This test assesses the time it takes for red blood cells to reach the base of a test tube. The faster they go, the more likelihood there is to be increased inflammation in the body. This test is for potential inflammation-related conditions associated such as infections, autoimmune conditions, arthritis, endocarditis, kidney disease or cancers, Crohn’s disease, and polymyalgia rheumatic.

 

Full blood count (FBC) or Complete Blood Count (CBC):

This demonstrates the component levels of every blood cell in the blood, being red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. It provides a general indication of health and wellbeing as well as showing iron deficiency anemia, vitamin B12 deficiency anemia, infection, inflammation, bleeding or clotting irregularities, heart conditions, or cancers.

 

DNA (genetic) testing and screening:

This test indicates genetic conditions including hemophilia, cystic fibrosis, spinal muscular atrophy, sickle cell anemia, and polycystic kidney disease. It can illustrate whether you carry a gene that could be passed on or whether you are likely to develop a condition that is presenting itself in a close family member.

 

Liver function test:

An unhealthy liver produces more enzymes and fewer proteins than a healthy liver. By measuring liver production, this test outlines overall liver functionality and can be used to identify conditions such as hepatitis, cirrhosis, or alcohol-related liver disease. Symptoms of liver issues include fatigue, jaundice, and acute or chronic pain in the upper right of your abdomen. Out of all organs in the body, the liver is particularly resilient and is able to regenerate providing the damage is caught early and is not too severe.

 

Metabolic panel:

A basic metabolic panel measures the metabolism and the electrolytes and minerals in the blood. This demonstrates how well various organs such as the pancreas, liver, heart and kidneys are working or how badly they are compromised. It can check for other compounds in the blood such as calcium, glucose, sodium, potassium, and carbon dioxide. Irregular results can show kidney complications, diabetes, autoimmune conditions, and hormone imbalances. Complete metabolic panels include also tests for liver function.

 

Thyroid function test or thyroid panel:

The thyroid is a small gland in the neck, regulating mood, energy, metabolism amongst other functions. When the thyroid is under or overactive, you may experience issues in energy and weight management and a snow-balling effect of symptoms within the whole body. These tests will show how well your thyroid is creating or reacting to specific hormones, including:

– thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) which regulates all hormones released by the thyroid

– thyroxine (T4) which along with T3 balances metabolism and cell growth

– triiodothyronine (T3) which along with T4 regulates heart rate and body temperature

– T3 resin uptake (RU) which measures the binding quality of thyroid hormones

Reduced or increased levels can indicate an underachieve or overactive thyroid as well as low protein levels, thyroid growth disorders, or abnormal levels of estrogen or testosterone. 

Hair testing

We hear about hair testing mostly in criminal investigations or for drug testing, as some drugs like opioids and amphetamines will stick to the strands. However, your hair can reveal a lot about your health, habits, and lifestyle. Since your hair is one of the places the body releases minerals and heavy metals, it can easily indicate the presence, ratios, and build-up of heavy metals or chemical toxicity in the body, including mercury and arsenic which lead to health complications. It can also show nutrient deficiencies or imbalances.

 

Minerals are used in almost every chemical reaction in the body. Hair analysis can show levels of calcium, magnesium, sodium, potassium, iron, copper, manganese, zinc, selenium, and chromium amongst others. Without adequate levels, the body cannot perform optimally but these minerals can also be stored in places in the body where they are not intended to be, hindering normal functionality. Hair analysis allows you to gain a clear picture to bring the body back to homeostasis. By understanding mineral imbalances present in the hair, you can get a clear map of your metabolic rate, adrenal function, thyroid function, the state of your nervous system, levels of inflammation, energy levels, mental health, liver and kidney health, blood sugar.

Since stress depletes mineral stores in the body, this test can also create a picture of your emotional and mental wellbeing. Excessive volumes of minerals could require you to make dietary changes to reduce processed or toxic foods, improve gut health or make lifestyle adjustments such as sleep patterns and exercise.

 

Biome Testing

Biome testing is very on-trend, as clinical studies continue to demonstrate how crucial it is in chronic condition management. 

Your biome test will show the diversity and balance of your unique gut ecosystem, what the bacteria are all doing and how this is positively or negatively impacting your health. If you are suffering from metabolic or gastric challenges, this can be an essential and fast-track route to healing.

 

viome gut biome test

 

This test involves sending off a sample of fecal matter. Some companies simply look for bacterias that can cause health complications. Others can send you an entire panel of your gut composition by observing the DNA sequencing of bacteria in the stool. From these findings, solutions can be found often in the form of probiotics, prebiotics, supplementation and making dietary and lifestyle changes. Generally, the more balanced your diet is, including a wide and diverse range of produce, the healthier your gut microbiome. However, gut health can be eroded by the overuse of antibiotics, toxicity or even stress. Even a “healthy” person with no visible symptoms can benefit from a biome test if presenting with confusing health complications.

Gut tests typically cost between $99 – $250 and can be ordered through companies like Viome or Everlywell. These tests typically require you to pay out of pocket. 

 

Breath Testing

Breath Testing is a non-invasive way to check for some food intolerances (fructose, lactose) and gut health complications such as Bacterial Overgrowth Syndrome (SIBO) or Helicobacter Pylori which causes inflammation. 

In the case of intolerances, you’ll be given a small amount of the item under investigation and over the next few hours, your breath will be monitored for the presence of hydrogen. Usually, the breath will contain very little hydrogen; its presence indicates the body is struggling to absorb or digest the chemicals, suffering from a sugar dysregulation or bacterial overgrowth. 

For SIBO or H. pylori, your breath will be analyzed for containing particles from these bacterias fermenting in the large intestine. SIBO is characterized by nausea, bloating, diarrhea, unintentional weight loss, discomfort after eating, a loss of appetite, or malnutrition despite regular eating. These symptoms are also shared with H. pylori and other gastric complications or dysbiosis, hence why this test can be an essential diagnostic tool.

If your looking for guidance with diagnostic testing to help you manage a chronic condition, or if you’re just looking for a health tune-up, make an appointment with one of our doctors at Wisdom. All of them use an Integrative approach, which means they’ll use your test results to uncover lifestyle changes you can make to help manage or reverse your condition.

1. Initial Appointment For Test Orders

Schedule an appointment so your doctor can take your history and order your diagnostic tests. There’s hundreds of tests, and your doctor will help you decide which will be the most helpful.

2. Doctor-Approved Protocol + Medications

Based on your test results, one of our doctors will help create a comprehensive recovery protocol, including a diet plan, lifestyle adjustments, and more. If necessary, they will also write you a prescription for medications.

3. Ongoing Support & Adjustments

Our integrative health team holds your hand as you implement and optimize your protocol.  You’ll be given everything you need to support you, including bi-weekly health coach support, and medications (if needed)

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