Dr. Kharazmi shares if lab value ranges are accurate or misleading.
I think what has happened in medicine is that we’re depending too much on ancillary testings and, unfortunately when physicians are pressured to see more and more patients, they depend on these ancillary test results without really determining if it applies to that individual or not.
This is what I mean. When you look at a range on a blood value of normal range, it’s so large and so varied because what’s happening is they’re comparing your blood test with thousands of other people’s blood tests. That sample size includes normal values and abnormal values. That means that they’re comparing with people who are old, young, sick and healthy.
So, how are we going to determine that if that value is really appropriate for you? Well simply put is this, you have to look at the individual, examine them, listen to them, see if they are complaining about symptoms that may reflect to a disorder.
I have had so many patients who have approached me with normal values with sub-clinical, I’ll give you prior example, hypothyroidism which means that they were hypothyroid for many years, all their value on the thyroid test was normal supposedly.
But really, as far as I am concerned, they were clinically hypothyroid, treated them, improved their symptoms dramatically and when you re-test them the values were still within normal range, but they were, actually in their lower end of normal. So what does that mean? It just means that the patient was hypothyroid for many years and was not treated.
Why is that? Because we depend on normal values too much because again within those normal ranges there are a lot of abnormal values. Complicated, but comes back to the basic understanding that we are treating patients, not labs.
Dr. Kharazmi, M.D.
Dr. Mohammad Kharazmi serves as the anti-aging medicine specialist at the Genetic Institute of Anti-Aging in Costa Mesa, California. He attended the University of California at Irvine for his undergraduate educations and later earned his medical doctorate (M.D.) at UCI’s medical school. In addition to anti-aging, Dr. Kharazmi is Board Certified in internal medicine and geriatrics.
Dr. Kharazmi is the partner and cofounder of Sherman Internal Medicine Clinics, cofounder of Medical Information Network Systems, and member of the American Medical Association. When he is not treating patients Dr. Kharazmi is a national speaker and consultant to Pfizer, Novartis, Aventis, Sankyo, Abbot and TAP.
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