Gaining a detailed understanding of how your body is working (i.e. your biochemistry) is an important part of my overall assessment and when working out what’s going on for you. (This is particularly true if you have multiple symptoms such as poor sleep combined with digestive issues and anxiety, for example).
My assessment of pathology testing falls into three general categories
Testing you’ve already had done
In addition to taking a comprehensive history of your health along with dietary and lifestyle assessment, I will always ask you to provide me with copies of any tests (e.g. blood, urine, scans) you may have had in the past year or so.
I look at these tests in a somewhat different way to most doctors so I want to put them to good use. If you want to understand more about your general blood tests, please have a read of My blood tests are “normal” now what?
Further standard pathology testing
It is likely that your standard testing ordered by your doctor was covered by Medicare but often doctors are limited in what they are allowed to order under this system. This may mean some tests which may be useful are omitted. For example, certain vitamins and minerals, heavy metals, hormones and other markers can be very helpful in gaining a fuller understanding of your health.
I can order these tests for you and many of them are relatively inexpensive so this is often the next step in evaluating your health. They may also be helpful to monitor progress.
Tests that fall into the category of functional testing generally go a bit deeper again and are designed to give us information about how your “machinery” is working (whereas standard pathology tests tend to tell us if the machinery is faulty).
There is a large number of well-validated functional tests available to us these days. They include tests that look at:
- Your gut microbiome
- How you are digesting your food
- How well your liver detoxification pathways are working
- Food intolerances or sensitivities
- Specific genetic variants which may be impacting your health
- Your environmental toxic burden
- Your neurotransmitters
- Hair tissue mineral analysis
These tests can run to hundreds of dollars, so I don’t recommend them lightly. (Often we have plenty of data to go on with, without doing these tests). However, sometimes the expense is worth it, to get more detailed information which can then inform your treatment plan and save us some time in getting you to where you want to be health wise.