I hope you are enjoying summer while keeping yourself healthy and well these days. Many of the supplements, hormones, and lifestyle practices you are doing help facilitate your body’s wellness.
When we first started working together, we needed labs to get a baseline of how your body was performing and where it needed support. So we looked at serum labs (blood draws) to see sex hormones, thyroid, glucose metabolism, general immune function, inflammation, markers for disease risks, vitamin and mineral levels. In addition, we usually do a saliva test to assess the function of your adrenal glands – the saliva testing is the most complete and accurate.
We got a good picture of where your body needed help from all those, and we established a protocol to get started towards more optimal health and function and future disease prevention. You have done the work to put those pieces in place over time and reap the benefits in your good health and well-being.
As we go along through time, your body responds and improves, and you typically feel better with fewer or no troubling symptoms. And we need to re-test at appropriate intervals to ensure the doses, particularly of hormones, are looking appropriate for your individual body. As experienced and knowledgeable as a clinician may be, NO CLINICIAN can tell precisely where levels are without labs.
It’s the combination of how you feel along with the lab reports that determine what steps are the next ones you need in your protocol to keep you safe, optimal, and functioning with the lowest risk of disease development possible. For women, we want to reach optimal sex hormonal levels that stay in physiologic ratio with each other to prevent the symptoms of perimenopause, menopause, and imbalance. Symptoms like hot flashes, insomnia, fatigue, heavy bleeding, PMS, weight gain, and mood instability come from an imbalance of Estradiol, Progesterone, and Testosterone. For men, we work to maintain optimal levels of Testosterone while keeping estrogens at optimal lower levels. That sustains good energy, good sleep, motivation, positive moods, good muscle mass, and libido.
The professional organizations in Bio-Identical Hormone Therapy have, based on current research, established recommendations for frequency of testing. In this practice, I follow those for best results for my patients. The minimum testing is every six months when you are on sex hormones and/or thyroid support. If we are in the process of finding your optimal dose, we have to do labs more frequently, maybe in 4-8 weeks. Then once things look more stable, we may go to testing in 3 months and eventually get to every six months when that is appropriate.
Our office takes the approach of reminding you when labs are due around times you are getting refills on your prescriptions. The nurse reviews your chart and sees when the PLAN note indicates that clinically you need the next labs. We then send you a reminder by email so that you can accomplish the labs before the next refill. This allows your situation/symptoms to be evaluated with the dose you are on and the current labs to determine if dosing needs to change for the future to keep you well balanced. We are just helping you stay healthy and on track by doing the labs in a timely way.
Typically we will use the laboratory that your insurance company works with, so the labs can be billed to your insurance. However, if your insurance changes and you have to pay cash for labs, you need to consider the cash lab option we have through the office described below. This also applies if you have a plan where you pay significantly for labs with an HMO like Kaiser.
Patients needing labs who don’t have insurance coverage will get the best price if they use the cash lab program thru our office. We are participants with other clinicians across the country to get the most cost-effective prices with LabCorp through the Evexia program. The Evexia program is ONLY thru our office, not at LabCorp. You can save up to 60% with this program. Just talk with the staff in the office whenever you want to use it and ask for the Evexia lab order. Once we process payment for your lab order, we provide you with a requisition to take to LabCorp. It is the most cost-effective plan we can get for you.
Many other tests are available as you work with me to create your best health. We offer tests for gut evaluation of all types, including food sensitivities and nutrient panels covering vitamins, minerals, proteins, fats, and heavy metals. We also offer expanded lipid panels that give more depth to assessing cardiovascular disease and cholesterol issues, PULS testing for cardiovascular disease with expanded inflammation markers, Neurotransmitter testing, and hormone metabolite testing. This last one is something many of you will be doing in the near future as your hormone levels settle, and we want to see how your body is handling hormones. It gives added information as to your body and its ability to keep you well. Some of these tests are covered by insurance, and some are not. We will always advise you of your options.
We are welcoming a new nurse, Laura, to our team! Adrianne and I are busy training her this month, and she will be very capable of meeting your refill needs as we go forward. Thanks again to Adrianne for your professional service over the past seven years. Do enjoy being a grandma more full-time.
And, we are welcoming a new supplements manager, Bri, to our team! She is busy with Jenn learning all about what contributes to keeping your supplement orders going thru our office. Jenn has really developed that role over time, and for that, we are very thankful. We will miss Jenn but know that she is preparing Bri to continue to meet your needs. Jenn will continue to do the practice bookkeeping, and we congratulate her on broadening her work elsewhere. We wish you the best!
Here’s to new adventures building on the old ones!