My patients are sometimes surprised at the number of tubes of blood I draw for testing. "Blood work" is a broad term for any laboratory test performed on the specimen of blood. It is not, however, created equal. For performance assessment, functional blood work analysis (FBWA) is critical.
Sometimes "blood work" is just a finger prick or a couple tubes drawn from a needle stick. But if you come to me it can be more like 10-15 tubes. "What?!", you ask? More tubes means more tests and more test results give us more information. In this case, more information allows for a more detailed look at how the body is really performing under the stress of daily living.
What is functional blood work analysis?
Functional blood work analysis (FBWA) relies on a complex series of genetic testing, lipid differentiation, inflammatory markers, reproductive and metabolic hormones, detailed thyroid information, complete blood counts, and nutrient assessment. I utilize Boston Heart Diagnostics and Quest to perform these tests in the Portland area. The difference between FBWA and the standard blood work offered by a conventional primary care physician is vast.
How is it different from conventional blood work?
Conventional blood testing in the absence of serious risk factors generally includes a complete blood count (CBC), comprehensive metabolic panel (CMP) and basic lipids. Further, the reports suggest that every result falls into one of two categories: "normal" or "abnormal".
This categorization helps doctors assign diagnosis coding: you either have diabetes, or you don't. You have anemia, or you don't. Treatment is given if you "have" something and treatment is not given if you don't. You see, without a diagnosis code, your treatment won't be covered by insurance, and if your blood result number doesn't support the diagnosis, you don't get treatment.
FBWA throws out the idea that there are only these two categories. There's a wide range of results and they all mean something. Careful review and understanding of each result gives me two very different meta categories: the results are "optimal" and "everything that isn't".
Proof is in the pudding
Of course, pathology is important to identify and still very much on my radar, but even without an overt, diagnosable pathology, improvements in performance and function can be made. Risk factors for developing chronic disease can be controlled and even reversed. Physicians who use this method can identify warning signs and weaknesses earlier and intervene faster and often those interventions lead to noticeable improvements in sensations of fatigue, exercise performance, blood sugar regulation, and hormonal fluctuations.
Blood draws of this nature are significant, but not even close to the amount of blood given during a blood donation. Plus, we have a wonderful mobile phlebotomist who will happily come to your house for maximum comfort. They also cost more than conventional report, but it's a fraction of the cost of hospitalization due to heart attack or stroke. Results are available in about 2 weeks and printed in color with easy to understand graphics so you can compare your results easily over time.
Want to see a more complete roadmap of your health's markers with functional blood work analysis? Reach out to me to get started.