Melissa Deally, of Your Guided Health Journey, is beyond knowledgeable in all things health. Her resources are extensive and has provided me with information for a variety of concerns for not only myself but my family as well. I have done the detox program 2x and felt amazing!! Next I have ordered some at-home tests to further examine my concerns. I am so happy I’ve found Melissa!! Contact her, you will be amazed at her extensive knowledge. Thank you Melissa!!
As I continue talking about ideal partnerships, let’s talk about why it’s important to have a partnership with your medical doctor and a health coach, integrative health practitioner. It’s not about having one or the other, or that one is better than the other, it’s about having an ideal partnership between both in order to truly take control of your health.
Most medical doctors run blood work labs, which you should run annually because it gives you really good insight into your health.
Blood Work Doctors Usually Run:
- Complete chemistry panel
- Complete lipid panel – your cholesterol and triglyceride levels
- Complete blood count
- Vitamin D3
These labs diagnose disease, but if you want to know why you have that disease in the first place you need to go deeper as these labs do not provide information regarding the imbalances and deficiencies in the body. So, you should run your blood work with your medical doctor every year, but you should also run the additional functional medicine labs that will show the imbalances and deficiencies and get to the root cause of your ‘dis-ease’ in your body.
For instance, running your cholesterol levels and finding out your levels are high, doesn’t tell you why they are high, so that you know what changes to implement to bring your levels down. Your doctor will very often give a statin drug – to help bring your cholesterol down. But ask yourself this, 10 years ago was your cholesterol high? Likely not, so why is it high now? Does this lab tell you that? Wouldn’t you rather know why it’s high, so you can then do something about it to bring it down and not be dependent on a chemical drug forever more? There is always a reason why!
This imbalance has occurred, it didn’t just happen because you are getting older, but it can absolutely be triggered by your overflowing trashcans and resulting toxicity levels, your hormone levels being imbalanced, or your cortisol levels being too high. But the blood work through your doctor doesn’t show any of that.
Another example is that your medical doctor will run labs looking at your thyroid, to assess your TSH level, and if your level is below a 5, they’ll tell you it’s within range, everything is normal, but meanwhile you’re struggling with weight gain, have cold hands and feet, possible hair thinning, brain fog, and wondering what is wrong. Using functional medicine markers where we are looking at markers relative to optimal health vs “average health”, we want to see your TSH level below a 2.5 and we’ll go deeper to look at free t3 or free t4 in order to catch early warning signs of a struggling thyroid and then we’ll use natural supplements to support the deficiencies and help your thyroid get back to a healthy level of function.
Knowing your mineral levels and omega 3 levels are important to optimal health too. Healthy Omega 3 levels, means healthy inflammation, but right now many people are struggling with gut health issues and other imbalances that trigger inflammation in the body, and high levels of inflammation cause your cells to turn on your genes for the diseases that you are genetically pre-disposed to. BUT we don’t have to “wait” until that happens, when we instead take responsibility for our health, and step into preventative measures by assessing what our levels are through a functional medicine lab and then take corrective action with natural supplements and choosing to eat more fatty fish! These labs will even tell you if you need more EPA or DHA. Without the lab how do you know what kind of supplement to buy? And as an added bonus, when we use this lab to optimize your inflammation levels, we can reduce the risk of sudden death from cardiovascular disease by 90%! Yes 90%!!! Cardiovascular diseases are the #1 cause of death in North America, but using just this one lab, we could change that if more people knew these labs were available.
I could go on and on about the labs, but I’ve explained them all in a previous podcast – #56: Your Body Just Wants To Be In Balance, Is Yours? You can check out that podcast if you’d like to learn more about each lab test.
My point is that when we use these additional lab tests to catch problems early it’s so much easier to bring the body back into balance. It’s not your doctor’s fault they don’t run the additional labs, or that their ‘acceptable range’ is based on averages, rather than optimal health levels, but this is where partnerships can be useful because you can work with your medical doctor for all the labs they can run, but also partner with an integrative health practitioner like myself to do the additional lab work to give you a full picture of your body’s imbalances and deficiencies relative to what “optimal health” looks like, so you can make the tweaks needed to get back to optimal health.
I also want to share with you some questions that you can be asking your doctor in order to help build an ideal partnership between them and your health coach or integrative health practitioner.
Questions to ask your doctor in no particular order:
- Have you partnered with a health coach before?
- If not, do you know the value of me partnering with a health coach? Explain that they don’t have time to help you change your lifestyle habits, from nutrition to exercise, sleep, lowering stress – they tell you to do it, but there is no support provided, whereas a health coach will provide the necessary support for you to be able to make these changes.
- Do you know of a natural alternative to this treatment? If they say “no”, ask do you mind if I try to find one before starting to use this prescription drug? For instance, there are a lot of safe and effective natural options for depression and yet most doctors will write a prescription for an SSRI chemical drug – that over time becomes less effective and then you need a higher dose, or switch to a different drug all together. Most doctors unfortunately are not trained to ask you about your diet, sleep, stress or look at your gut health, all of which can impact your state of depression. This isn’t their fault, it’s just not what they’ve been trained in, but as you are listening to this podcast, you know there are options and can ask specific questions to help yourself. I have clients that have completely come off their meds, as a result of detoxing and healing their gut and changing their diet. I’m not going to say that will be true for everyone, we are all different, but why don’t we start with those options first, before going to the chemical drug, that causes other side effects?
- If you are diagnosed with a chronic illness, ask them if they can help you change your diet and lifestyle in order to reverse the diagnosis. Most chronic illnesses are not a “life sentence” but rather a state of “dis-ease” or imbalance in the body, which can be resolved once we get to the root cause. If they cannot help you, ask if you can work with a health coach as well, so that you don’t have to be on the prescription medication forever. Ask if they’d be willing to partner with your health coach in your healing journey to help you achieve the best results.
- If they are recommending you change your diet, ask if they can provide a meal plan with recipes that aligns with what they’d like you to do. If they don’t have anything to offer, again ask if it would be ok for you to work with a health coach to help you get set up for success
- Ask if they can offer functional medicine lab testing (more doctors are able to now), and if they say no, ask if it’s ok for you to seek out these labs and then share the results with them. They might indicate it’s a waste of your money, but you now know that isn’t true! More information is always helpful in understanding your symptoms and or baseline of optimal health. If you provide them with your results, you are working in partnership with them by providing them the additional information you learn from these lab tests.
- Ask why…. whenever you don’t understand something or you’re being told you need to do something, know that you can ask ‘Why do I need to do that? ‘What is this drug for?’ or ‘Why do I have these symptoms?’
You also have the right to get a second opinion even a third opinion, and to listen to your body, your intuition. If something isn’t sitting right with you, listen to that instinct and get a second opinion and then choose how you’d like to proceed.
Your Health Is Your Responsibility, Educate Yourself!
Remember too that your health is YOUR responsibility, you need to be educated about it, to ask the right questions. Your health is not your doctor’s responsibility; therefore, you ultimately have the choice as to who you work with on your health journey. Ideally it would be great to have both a medical doctor and a health coach or integrative health practitioner, but not all doctors are open to this and that is when you can choose to change doctors in order to be able to create the ideal partnership for yourself. Don’t accept being told there is only one way to do something, there is always another option, and you can always get a second opinion.