The secrets to understanding your blood tests
You don’t need to visit a witchdoctor to know what a voodoo doll feels like——your own physician will give you the pincushion treatment as part of your annual physical.
It’s included with your copay.
If you’ve had one recently, you know the drill. Docs draw so much blood you’d think they were selling it out the back door.
They’re not. (At least, I think they’re not. You never know these days.)
Instead, they’re using your blood to run every last test in the lab——some that are useful, and some that are useLESS. Trouble is, you don’t know which is which... and for the most part, neither does he!
All he’s doing is comparing the numbers on the left——your numbers——to the ones on the right, under the column marked “normal range.”
If your numbers fall outside that “normal range,” you get a lecture and an invitation to come back and repeat the tests. If they fall outside the normal range again, you get more tongue-clicking AND a drug (and that’s assuming your doc even bothers with the lecture the first time around——many skip straight to the prescription pad).
But here’s the problem with that approach, and it’s a biggie: The numbers in the “normal range” are practically meaningless in most categories. They’re fabricated not with good health in mind, but to sell meds, biopsies, and additional tests. (Now of course that’s not always true and some of the tests your doctor orders are extremely important.)
That’s why many mainstream targets are now practically impossible to meet without pharmaceuticals.
I’m looking at a typical blood test right now, as I write this. I’m going to take you through it with me——and when I’m finished, you’ll have a leg up on your doctor and understand your test results even better than he thinks he does.
Let me start with the one you need to keep the closest eye on. And no, it’s not cholesterol. It’s...
Glucose: The “normal” range here is supposedly from 70-110 mg/dl——and if you’re at the upper end of that range and feel fine, your doctor will claim you’ve got nothing to worry about.
He’s dead wrong.
The latest research shows that tight control over blood sugar is absolutely essential not only to diabetes prevention (especially in people with pre-diabetes), but also to longevity.
In other words, your very life depends on this one——but that message may not have filtered down to your doctor yet.
The absolute maximum for blood glucose is 90 mg/dl. More than that, and you’ve got a problem no matter what your doctor says. Take control of it now, or be prepared to face the music later.
Cholesterol: Patients have been so brainwashed into worrying about their cholesterol levels that it’s the first, last and only numbers that they look at.
Don’t even waste your time.
Despite what you’ve heard, high cholesterol is GOOD for you. It’s LOW cholesterol you need to worry about——and if your numbers drop to within guidelines, you could face memory problems, muscle damage and sexual dysfunction.
It’s no coincidence that these are also side effects of cholesterol meds, and for more on that see page four.
Low cholesterol can also cause the very heart problems it’s supposed to prevent. So forget cholesterol. If you want to see a truly good marker of heart risk, take a look at...
C-Reactive Protein: Most doctors are at least waking up to the fact that CRP levels are important. They just don’t know how important (but once Big Pharma develops a CRP drug, you can bet it’ll leap to the top of the page and you’ll even see commercials about it).
CRP levels are as strong an indicator as you’ll find of that elusive concept of “health.” They measure inflammation levels in the body, and chronic inflammation goes hand-in-hand with any number of diseases. So when CRP starts creeping up, you could be facing heart disease, dementia, cancer, and more.
And speaking of cancer, that brings me to the great granddaddy of all overused blood tests.
PSA Test: Men have become so conditioned to ask for this test that many actually demand it despite the fact that they’re about as credible as MSNBC.
PSA stands for “prostate-specific antigen,” but there’s nothing prostate-specific about it. Everything from an injury to a cold to a recent ejaculation can elevate it. It’s so wildly inaccurate that the man who developed it now regrets it, and even mainstream medical groups are urging docs to abandon the test altogether.
I’ve had three PSA tests in my life, and all three were elevated. But I didn’t get a biopsy AND I still have my prostate. And that’s thanks in part to the next test I got. It’s called the...
Anti-malignin antibody screen (AMAS): If your doctor says you need a biopsy or further testing for any form of cancer, find someone who can give you this test first.
It won’t be your regular doctor. He’s never heard of it——and if he has, he almost certainly will disapprove of it.
Ignore any noises he makes here; the AMAS was developed by a Harvard-trained neurochemist and is so sensitive it can detect cancer anywhere in the body.
The one downside to this test is that it won’t tell you what kind of cancer you have it or where it is. But if you have a cancer scare of any kind and the AMAS comes back negative, you can feel free to cancel that biopsy.
p.s. Alzheimer’s Disease has been in the news a lot lately...a real media darling. But I have a surprising revelation for you. “Alzheimer’s” is not the disease the experts are talking about (note the quote marks). The disease they’re treating is what I call “Old-Timer’s” disease——senile dementia.
News stories often say that the “disease” is increasing with the aging of the populace. Of course it’s increasing as the number of old-timers increases.
The thing is Alzheimer’s is not rare but it is uncommon. In fact, in my practice I can only remember about 10 cases in 30 years, all men. (Of course statins raise your risk.)
Dr. Alzheimer, an avid cigar smoker, described a case of a woman (it’s more common in men) in her 50’s that complained of suffering from memory loss, disorientation, and hallucinations. She eventually died of her condition at the age of 55. Dr. Alzheimer called it pre-senile dementia. Alzheimer was “right on.” He had discovered a new disease syndrome 106 years ago now and it’s still unrecognized as the disease that it is and is untreatable.
But that’s a topic for another day... I promise. In fact, if you want to learn more about dementia, and the cost-free bright idea that can chase it away, be sure to read next month’s issue of The Douglass Report were I give you all the details.