Your personalized Risk Assessment
We encourage all patients to come to us and have a complete risk assessment. In all patients, we get baseline blood tests that are sent off to 3 different labs to get a true picture of your risk factors. I commonly refer to these as your wellness panels. The new technologies and biochemical markers in our wellness labs help uncover hidden risks and enable us to develop a personalized treatment plan to achieve true health. The basic cholesterol and chemistry panel are a good start in determining the state of your health. However, these should always be combined with advanced testing to unveil a more accurate picture of your true health. These advanced tests document your levels of “good” and “bad” cholesterol particle number, which has been shown to be a much more accurate indicator of your cardiovascular risk. These panels also provide markers of inflammation in your blood vessels. Inflammation accelerates plaque formation and leads to plaque rupture, ultimately leading to heart attack and stroke. We are now learning that having knowledge about the amount of inflammation in your blood vessels is much more important than knowing your cholesterol levels. Our panels provide you with 8 markers of inflammation in your blood vessels in our panels. In addition the panels provide biomarkers that can lead to early detection of strain or damage to your heart muscle which can lead to more appropriate treatments for preventing congestive heart failure and heart attacks. Other information provided in the panels are derived from genetic tests that reveal increased risk for heart attacks and elevated cholesterol levels. Metabolic markers such as insulin levels, glucose, HbA1c, Vitamin D, vitamins B12 and 9, homocysteine, testosterone, thyroid panels, parathyroid hormone, leptin and cortisol level, iron, and your Omega-3 index all help in the early detection of prediabetes, diabetes, low testosterone, and cardiovascular disease.
When your results return, which usually takes 2 weeks (coming from Lufkin, Virginia, and California), we discuss your results in detail so that you have a clear understanding of your own individual physiology. This discussions typically lasts an hour or more. At the end of this discussion, your personalized treatment plan is outlined. In most cases simple lifestyle changes are suggested along with non-prescription supplements. For people in need of lifestyle changes, we refer you to one of our lifestyle instructors for long term follow up. When needed, insurance pays for follow up labs every 3-4 months to follow your path to true health.
Other tests that may complement your wellness panels which are done in our office by competent staff, include exercise stress tests, echocardiograms, EKG’s, ANSAR (a measure of how your autonomic nervous system is working), computerized arterial pulse wave (provides measurements that enable your vascular age to be calculated), extremity studies which detects peripheral vascular disease, and a retinal scan to detect early atherosclerosis and damage to the eyes as a result of hypertension or diabetes.
Depending on the outcome of the above testing, we will sit down with you and have a lengthy discussion on how to repair your body so that more serious diseases can be avoided or existing disease can be better managed. We encourage everyone to have a healthy lifestyle, which includes having a healthy weight, eating better, and exercise. I have found that repairing nutrition in tissues fixes most problems. Nutrition supplements are routinely suggested depending on the outcome of your tests. Some patients are referred to cardiologists but most are able to assume control over their health with lifestyle changes and nutritional supplements.