In November of 2012, the Ontario Medical Association changed their guidelines for the frequency of physical exams and routine bloodwork performed by family doctors from yearly to only once every two years. This change in combination with the number of patients in Ontario without a family doctor (15.5% of Canadians aged 12 and over as of 2013) has left a huge gap in preventative screening and early intervention of health-related concerns.
Fortunately, Naturopathic Doctors are trained to offer these same services include extensive physical assessments and the ability to order and interpret bloodwork. By being able to screen early for changes in bodily functions we can often catch certain illnesses before they become problematic and arrive at a proper diagnosis to enable more comprehensive and accurate treatment.
Common bloodwork testing offered through a Naturopathic Doctor includes*:
Complete Blood Count – Measures markers related to red and white blood cells counts – the most preliminary form of screening. ($8.50)
Cholesterol Panel – Measures total cholesterol, LDL (bad cholesterol) and HDL (good cholesterol) as markers of cardiovascular risk. ($9.00)
Fasting Glucose and HbA1c – Measures blood sugar levels to monitor for diabetes, metabolic syndrome, hypoglycemia, and insulin resistance. HbA1c is used to assess long-term damage with chronic diabetes. ($2.59; $10.00)
Ferritin – Measures stored iron levels. Low ferritin is a marker for anemia and often presents with fatigue, dizziness, poor wound healing and frequent infections. ($8.00)
Thyroid Panel (TSH, free T3 & free T4) and Anti–TPO – Thyroid function is directly correlated to metabolism. A hypo-functioning thyroid can present with fatigue, weight gain, dry skin, brittle hair and nails, as well as depression and mood changes. In contrast, hyperthyroid often presents with anxiety, extreme or rapid weight loss, irritability, rapid heartbeat and sweating. Anti-TPO (anti-thyroid peroxidase) is used to assess for autoimmune thyroid conditions. Standard blood tests usually assess TSH but not the free thyroid hormones or anti-TPO, which can lead to many thyroid conditions being missed and untreated. ($34.00; $20.00)
Vitamin B12 – low B12 levels are also a form of anemia and poor blood oxygen levels which may present with fatigue, frequent infections, neuropathy or tingling sensation in the hands and feet. ($16.00)
Vitamin D – with a growing body of research supporting the preventative effects of proper vitamin D levels, vitamin D is used for boosting immunity, bone health, cardiovascular health and as a cancer preventing agent. ($32.00)
AM & PM Cortisol – These are preliminary measures of adrenal function which may correlate to stress, anxiety, fatigue, burnout, immune status and chronic inflammation. ($18.00 each)
Kidney Panel – Used as a measure for acute or chronic kidney dysfunction, assessment of electrolyte levels, blood sugar and monitoring for reactions to certain prescription medications. ($7.00)
Liver Enzymes – Assesses for baseline function and potential injury or damage to the liver. Most frequently useful with chronic alcohol or drug abuse and in monitoring long-term reactions to certain medications. ($10.50)
Celiac Disease Panel – Used as a diagnostic tool for autoimmune reactivity to wheat and gluten. Celiac disease often presents with extreme abdominal pain, indigestion, and malabsorption of nutrients. ($105.00)
For any further questions or if you want to book an appointment with our Naturopathic Doctor, Dr. Kathy Van Zeyl, feel free to call us at our clinic.
*Note: Unless otherwise listed, all routine bloodwork is performed at Gamma Dynacare Labs and includes a baseline $15 collection fee.