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Medical diagnostic tests

Basic medical tests - Diagnostic laboratories

Whether you have signs or symptoms of a disease and need to find out the cause, or simply want to assess state of your health, your only reliable option are adequate medical diagnostic tests. Well, that shouldn't be a problem, should it? Your doctor knows what to do. Or does he, or she? Read on, and decide for yourself.

The initial purpose of a routine medical procedure is to diagnose. Standard diagnostic tests are used to the extent needed to establish medical diagnosis - medical label, if you will. If standard diagnostic tests - usually serum blood and/or urine - come out negative, you may be sent to one or more specialists, to prolong the frustration. If the specialist  doesn't have a clue what to do next, you will be pronounced "officially healthy", no matter how crippling your symptoms may be.

And if you are diagnosed - that is, labeled - often times no additional testing will be done at all. It is only logical, since the purpose of diagnosing in today's "official" medicine is not finding the cause to help the body heal, but

treating the symptom, either by drugs or surgery.

That is what medical doctors are trained for, and that is what most of them do. If you are diagnosed with, say, hypertension - which may be caused by chronic magnesium deficiency, or by toxic effects of mercury accumulated in your body, or by free-radical damage (including oxidized cholesterol sticking to your blood vessel walls), or by phthalates-caused thyroid dysfunction undetectable with standard tests, or any other of many possible simple or complex causes - what is the next step?

Most likely, you are prescribed blood pressure lowering drug, and perhaps given some basic dietary guidelines.

Anything wrong with it? Well, sort of. Not only that the "treatment" doesn't address the actual cause of your health problem,

it will likely cause more problems down the road!

How? Standard hypertension drugs are diuretics; in other words, they act by pulling water out of your body, which deflates tissues and lowers blood pressure. However, by pulling water out of the body, diuretics also pull out some important minerals, like magnesium and potassium. And that means your blood vessels will be more prone to constrict, and salt intake will cause you only more problems.

The diuretic of choice with most practitioners, HCT (hydrochlorthiazide) also raises homocysteine level, which increases your risk not only from cardiovascular diseases, but from a number of other degenerative diseases as well12.

Another class of hypertension drugs, calcium-channel blockers, not only significantly increases your chances of suffering heart attack, but can literally shrink your brain (together with its functional capability). It also promotes cancer. Medical research papers piling up for decades show that hypertension drugs significantly increase incidence of diabetes as well12. And so on...

In a vicious circle, you will likely be needing more drugs, will become more, not less sick, and you'll be back to your doctor sooner, needing more help...

This is not just a remote "possibility": it is happening to many as you read this. It is quite common scenario with most degenerative diseases. With the cause not addressed, the disease will likely only worsen, while the adverse effects of medications further erode health of the diseased. You slide into

downward spiral of health

with nothing in the way to stop it.

And you are not likely to have better luck if you just want to check the status of your health. Diseases that can be indicated by standard blood and urine tests are just the tip of the iceberg of the host of modern world diseases.

Worse yet, the few commonly used tests are unreliable and often plain wrong. If your serum test turns in low iron - a number that has no reliable correlation with the overall iron status for the body - you may get supplemental iron prescribed when you don't need it. Or the other way around, you may not get magnesium when you literally need it to save life (if you were lucky enough to be tested for it at all).

And, again, MDs are not trained to go beyond the symptom-label-drug/surgery scheme; they hopelessly lack the knowledge of body's biochemistry, molecular and environmental medicine. Instead of looking for the cause of disturbance in your body chemistry that brings on your health problem, their training concentrates on detecting and suppressing the end-point symptom alone. That directly limits both, choice of diagnostic tests they use and their interpretation. Unless you are among a few lucky ones who's doctor went beyond what is being thought in medical college, you'll have to do your homework and

learn what is it that can be done.

You need to know what tests are available and what they are for. Which ones could help in establishing the cause of your health problem. If it is only for the check up, you need to pick the right tests for what you want to find out.

Normally, medical tests need to be ordered through your doctor. You want to have your doctor involved; preferably, to lead you in the right direction. Your own knowledge is still very helpful - it not only makes you capable of realizing whether you are getting good medical service, or not, but also capable of better understanding your health problem and play an active part in the healing process.

 If your doctor isn't willing - or competent - to move along these lines, you are not getting kind of service needed to resolve your health problem. Your initiative can only go so far, as to openly discuss all aspects of your illness and diagnostic/treatment options. When it comes to diagnosis and treatment decisions,

you need assistance of a competent medical professional.

Self-diagnosing and treatment can have disastrous consequences. Not that diagnosing and treatment by trained medical professionals can't, or do not, but this is only one more reason to get personally involved in the process.

Some tests can be done either at home, with supplied kit, or by sending sample to a lab

Diagnostic medical tests

Good place to start is always your nutritional status: RBC minerals (usually includes heavy metals), complete vitamin profile, fatty acid levels (may include trans-fatty acids) and amino acid test.

Again, the routine plasma (serum) test is very unreliable for determining body level of most nutrients; the reason is simple that it is easy for the body to maintain needed plasma level of a nutrient by securing a small fraction of the body's nutrient content for blood circulation. It is also the first priority, so your organs may be starving for a nutrient, despite its blood levels showing in the normal range.

The most reliable test for minerals, some vitamins, hormones and other molecular compounds is acu-cell analysis.

Not less important, and often times directly related, is your digestive health. It can be assessed with digestive and microbial stool analysis, intestinal permeability (leaky gut) test, intestinal parasites tests, Candida test and H. pylori test.

Organic acid test measures about 40 urine metabolites, opening up the window to body's complex metabolic function. This simple urine test can indicate a number of health disturbances, from specific nutritional deficiencies, to detoxication efficiency, to gut bacterial overgrowth - including Candida - efficiency of energy production, neurotransmitter levels, and more.

Tests like Detoxification Capacity (Metametrix) measure efficacy levels of body's major detox pathways. It gives an indication of the overall efficacy of your detox system, and what it may need to function better.

Lipid peroxides test indicates the level of burned (peroxidized) cellular lipids in your body; it indicates how much is your exposure to free radicals from all sources (junk foods, environmental exposures, low antioxidants level, inefficient detox system, etc.)  hurting you. It indicates the extent of damage to cellular membranes which can be major contributing factor to anything from fatigue to degenerative disease and cancer. It is always a factor accelerating aging. There is a simple, non-prescription qualitative variant of this test that can be done at home10.

Estronex test (Metametrix) is a simple, inexpensive urine test for dangerous estrogen metabolites. It is important not only for women on birth control or hormone replacement therapy, but for everyone, due to daily exposure to many estrogen mimics (pesticides, plastics, prescription drugs, household chemicals, and so on). Elevated estrogen levels indicate increased risk of cancer; also, increased toxic exposure, possible negative effect on testosterone production in males, or on growth and development in children10.

Specialized tests, for food sensitivities, allergies, chemical sensitivities, and many other are at your disposal. For comprehensive analysis, bundled deals are available, like Ion test with Metametrix (10 tests at a discount), or ONE (Optimal Nutrition Evaluation, 3 tests) with Genova Diagnostics are most appropriate.

Medical diagnostic laboratories

Follows a list of several major diagnostic laboratories in the U.S. It should be noted that same type of tests may differ in how comprehensive they are from one lab to another. As always, it pays to give attention to the details.

ACCU-CHEM LABS: Chemical contamination - pesticides, PCB, chlorine, heavy metals, VOC and others (NOTE: acquired by MetaMetrix, January 2009).

DOCTOR'S DATA: Nutritional, gastrointestinal and environmental (includes drinking water analysis) tests.

GENOVA DIAGNOSTICS (former Great Smokies Diagnostics Lab): Nicely organized tests tab, by health condition and by test type; also, endocrinology, immunology, nutritional and metabolic.

IMMUNOSCIENCES Lab, Inc.: Auto-immune diseases antibodies, cancer antibodies, Candida (yeast infection), chemical sensitivity, food sensitivity, H. pylori, Natural Killer Cell activity and others (NOTE: Site "under construction", 2/04/2009).

METAMETRIX LABORATORY: Amino acids, Candida, fatty acids, food sensitivity, heavy metals (includes aluminum), ION, organic acids (40 metabolites urine test), RBC minerals and others (acquired by Genova Labs in 2012).

Both, you and your doctor will greatly benefit from the medical test manual "Laboratory Evaluations in Molecular Medicine" (Bralley and Lord, 2001), published by MetaMetrix. It is more than just a guide to test results interpretation; it gives crucial insights into biochemistry of the body, specific nutrient needs, detoxification, hormonal functions, and more.