Know your numbers! Thorough laboratory testing completed in just one blood draw gives detailed information about body systems, vitamins and minerals, risk factors for disease and immune health. The Enhanced Healthy Living Assessment is a comprehensive compilation of over 50 blood markers that tell a true account about health. This affordable panel can be ordered by a Naturopathic Physician, completed at a local laboratory and has a turn around time of a few days at most.

Most commonly, bloodwork is targeted to understand current health symptoms so that treatments can be developed and monitored. Understanding where health stands in a broader range can allow for detection of borderline conditions as well as disease but also work at prevention. The Enhanced Healthy Living Assessment as a panel  is not available through the traditional system but can be specially ordered by Naturopaths. Read further to learn about the specific tests, benefits of testing these blood markers and how this can optimize health.

Eating well and living a healthy lifestyle is the best practice for the maintenance of good health. Adding in blood tests can help to understand where modifications can be made and supplements or other adjunctive therapies can support well being. Regular or annual testing can provide feedback to diet, exercise, stress reduction and supplement regimes that have been put in place while modifications can be based soundly on the science of the labs.

The Importance of Assessing Your Health

Baseline testing today can help to give a strong assessment of the effects of the current dietary habits, sleep routines, exercise, stress reduction techniques, supplements and medications. Working with a professional, the lab values can be evaluated as optimal, above or below range or if indications of a disease process are present. This should be the basis of any new additions to routines or changes with the goal of reduction of risk factors for disease and achieving healthy longevity.

With the knowledge of 52 blood markers that range from immune health, inflammation, liver and kidney function, cholesterol, blood sugar, vitamins and minerals, areas for improvement can easily be identified. Strategic goals for changing the blood values include all aspects of health from diet to sleep, exercise and individually selected supplements. Knowing which areas of health are optimal and which need work is invaluable information.

Setting realistic health goals is the best way to obtain the best health balance. Cutting out too many calories or food groups or over exercising will not only lead to non-compliance but can be harmful in the long run. If exercise is needed to lower cholesterol or blood sugar, a reasonable start is walking if no exercise is currently performed. This is easily modified and adapted to age, overall health, lifestyle and degree of medical intervention required. Long and strong wins the race!

Components of an Enhanced Healthy Living Assessment

The detailed blood work included in the Enhanced Living Assessment gives a vast amount of information regarding the inner workings of the body and overall health. When combined with a physical in-office exam and a review of lifestyle components such as diet, nutrition, sleep, exercise and stress management, a detailed health plan and prevention strategies can be developed and evolved.

Biomarker Testing

The report is categorized and details multiple organ systems and bodily functions. A complete blood count (CBC) with the different types of white blood cells, analysis of red blood cells and platelet numbers encompasses the hematology section. From this, a physician can extrapolate many aspects of health including diagnosing anemia, nutrient deficiencies, immune function, clotting ability, recent infections and clues about potential cancers.

Multiple metabolic markers can be used to diagnose diabetes or insulin resistance (blood sugar, HbA1C, insulin), and a basic thyroid test (TSH) may point to hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism. Several different inflammatory and clotting factors are tested such as high sensitivity CRP, ESR, and fibrinogen.

Organ function markers for the kidneys, liver, pancreas, gall bladder along with electrolyte levels can be evaluated for disease processes and other abnormalities. Nutrient testing for Vitamin B12, Vitamin D and several types of analysis for iron (ferritin, iron, iron saturation) will guide dietary changes or feedback to current diet routines.

Knowing cholesterol and triglyceride values are extremely helpful to understand cardiovascular disease risks and can help to shape exercise and diet patterns for the most optimal health. The lipid profile consists of total cholesterol, high density and low density lipoproteins from which a risk ratio is calculated.

Physical Examination

In-office focused physical examinations are part of every in-person first visit. When warranted or upon request, a full physical can be completed to include neurological signs, heart and lung health as well as checking the abdomen (digestion, liver, kidney, spleen). A woman’s wellness exam can be booked to complete a breast health and pelvic exam with PAP.

Vital signs give important information about heart and lung health. Blood pressure, pulse rate, and respiratory rate can be taken with the addition of body temperature to assess circulatory, respiratory and immune functions.

The use of body composition analysis can be helpful to determine caloric intake based on health goals. The basal metabolic requirement of an individual can be manually calculated or analyzed with a BIA machine. This is the amount of calories that the body needs to simply just be alive per day. When adding in movement and exercise, a total caloric requirement is established to either maintain body weight, gain weight or lose weight.

Lifestyle Assessment

Blood work is one part of a greater health picture. Learning more about one’s lifestyle can indicate other health risks or health enhancements to treat or recommend. Diet and nutrition are probably the most important component of a lifestyle assessment to review in order to create an optimal wellness plan. Using a diet diary or diet recall is a fantastic way to review types of foods consumed, portion sizes, spacing out of meals, snack patterns and overall attention to diet. Every bodily process relies on food and the nutrients consumed!

Exercise and daily movement can be used to reduce risks of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity, mood concerns and enhance physical fitness. Sleep patterns and stress management are benefited by physical activity. Reviewing all of these lifestyle patterns can be extremely beneficial to create new treatment plans.

Benefits of an Enhanced Healthy Living Assessment

Improving physical and mental health takes into account both physical and lifestyle factors. Using assessment tools such as laboratory testing and detailed lifestyle analysis, individual regimes can be initiated. Diet, supplements, optional prescription medications, exercise, sleep improvements and stress management are part of a holistic wellness plan.

Enhanced mental well-being comes naturally with this approach even if this area of health is not part of current health goals. Drive, motivation and connection with others are often improved when the right strategies are implored. Increased energy should also be noted if energy was sub-par prior to making changes. Depending on the specific health needs, a good treatment plan that takes into account all aspects of healthy living should improve physical and mental health as well as energy levels. These factors lead to a better quality of life and can bring optimal wellness and longevity.

How to Prepare for an Enhanced Healthy Living Assessment

Completing the initial intake form to a high level of detail will help to attain a greater understanding of health risks. Previous labs, current medications and supplements and a list of past medical conditions, allergies, surgeries and family history of diseases are all helpful and part of the medical questionnaire. No detail is unimportant when it comes to understanding a full health picture. Bringing along or sending ahead of time previous lab results is also recommended.

Talking to your health care provider about your main concerns combined with lab results, a physical exam and a review of the initial intake form will provide many details to help with the development of treatment plans. Come prepared to share details about physical and mental health and events that have led up to your current health. No judgment should ever be made, every aspect of a health history provides clues as to health risks and conditions that have yet to be diagnosed. Developing a relationship with a new provider can be daunting at first but should turn towards trust and relief quickly with the right professional.

Lifestyle changes, when required, will usually be suggested within the first few visits. It is not generally recommended to initiate a new, intense exercise regime with known health conditions; however mentally preparing for changes to diet and exercise is advised.

Finding the Right Provider

Naturopathic Physicians in British Columbia adhere to strict regulation and title protection. In order to attain the title of ND (Naturopathic Doctor), candidates must complete an undergraduate degree at an accredited university prior to entering a 4-year intensive Naturopathic institute. Rigorous examinations that are North America wide must be passed twice during this process and a third board exam is required to show skills required to practice in BC. Dr. Jennifer Luis examines candidates eligible for the BC licensing exams and has been in practice herself since 2011.

Holistic health assessments are in place by many Naturopathic Physicians. Experience in practice is important in order to draw from clinical scenarios that have shown success and the ability to adapt to individual requirements. Strong skills ordering, reading and interpreting lab values must be part of each provider’s repertoire.

Dr. Jennifer Luis prides herself for promptly making room in her schedule for consultations regarding laboratory results. Access to online appointments helps to start protocols quickly once labs are ready for review as less time off work is needed for patients and appointments can fit well into schedules. Emails with links for booking options are sent out the day results have been received and reviewed to alleviate the stress of waiting for results over longer periods of time.

Booking Your Enhanced Healthy Living Assessment

Looking at health from a variety of different contributing factors will lead to a more comprehensive wellness plan. Detailed blood work, a physical exam and a review of lifestyle in terms of diet, sleep, stress and exercise, will enable individualized protocols, realistic health goals and advancement towards optimal health. Taking control of these factors with the right guidance and medical advice helps to empower and initiate true change.

Finding a practitioner that values the holistic approach can sometimes be a challenge. Naturopathic physicians are trained to use all evaluation tools – laboratory testing, physical exam, a thorough past health history and current symptoms to diagnose, treat and prevent health ailments. Dr. Jennifer Luis uses evidence-based medicine in the least invasive and most effective treatment methods. Initial visits can be booked online or by calling and while in-office first visits are preferred, both video and phone appointments are available.