By Logan Kwasnicka PA-C, IFMCP
Practical Healing Co-Founder

When it comes to ordering testing at Practical Healing, our process is highly individual based on the presentation and goals of the patient.  In some cases we are looking to further investigate symptoms and in others we are focusing on disease prevention.  Whether a patient’s goals surround symptom improvement or health optimization, we prioritize the foundational lifestyle components (nutrition, movement/exercise, sleep, stress, mental, emotional and spiritual health) and then consider which testing might be helpful.

When ordering testing we often start with blood work to cast a wide net and assess a variety of factors.  Through blood testing we can evaluate the function of key organs such as the liver, kidneys and thyroid.  We can assess the status of vital nutrients, screen for inflammation, evaluate metabolic health, and test for certain autoimmune conditions.  A comprehensive blood panel provides information that will inform the patient’s care plan.

Many of the blood tests we order are outside of what is conventionally seen in an annual physical.  One example is in how we assess cholesterol.  It is standard practice to assess a lipid panel, however we will additionally look at Apolipoprotein B and Lipoprotein(a) to better understand a patient’s risk for heart disease and stroke.  We test homocysteine and hs-crp as additional markers of inflammation that increase risk.  This in-depth approach extends to how we assess many other factors including blood sugar and nutritional deficiencies.

In addition to blood work we will at times order what we refer to as “Advanced Functional Tests”.  These tests include things like stool studies to shed light on gut health, saliva and urinary hormone tests, cortisol testing, breath testing for bacterial overgrowth, and environmental toxin analysis.  In the setting of specific symptoms, or symptoms that are not responsive to nutrition and lifestyle interventions, advanced functional testing can provide insight and further intervention points of our care team.

Unfortunately, insurance coverage often dictates what a practitioner can order based on which diagnoses the patient already has.  This makes prevention very difficult when you can’t use the best screening tests until a patient is already showing signs of a problem.  We see this in the setting of metabolic health.  In most cases, further testing isn’t ordered until a fasting blood sugar is abnormal.  The progression to diabetes or prediabetes doesn’t start the day the blood sugar crests over 100 on an annual blood test.  It often starts years before.  We can detect early signs of dysfunction by screening a fasting insulin, hemoglobin A1C, or using a continuous glucose monitor.  This early detection affords the patient the chance at disease prevention, not just treatment.

To get around the insurance coverage concerns for many of these tests, our practice has a partnership that gives our patients access to low-cost cash pricing.  After reviewing these lab reports in detail with one of our practitioners, many patients choose to have a comprehensive blood panel drawn annually to monitor for shifts in their blood work that would precede diagnosis of chronic disease by many years.  Early detection allows for prevention.

By tailoring lab testing to each individual’s unique needs and health goals, Practical Healing empowers patients to take proactive steps towards optimal health. Our comprehensive approach, which combines traditional blood work with advanced functional testing, allows us to detect potential issues early and address them before they become significant health concerns. With our commitment to affordable, accessible testing options, we strive to ensure that every patient can benefit from a personalized, preventative care plan. This approach to testing allows us to fulfill our mission: to partner with our patients to help each one achieve their highest expression of health. 

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