How to Read Your Lab Values to Determine Your Metabolic Health
How important are blood sugar levels?
What’s an ideal blood sugar level? Getting a handle on how your body handles and processes sugar is one of the best things you can do for your long term immune and overall health.
High blood sugar levels lead to all sorts of health complications: insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease and immune dysregulation.
Blood glucose is a direct measure of your blood sugar levels that goes up and down with meals. It should be in a tight range even after a carb heavy meal. If it isn’t, you know your body has a difficult time processing sugar. Insulin works in the same way going up and down with meals. Insulin is a hormone secreted by the pancreas and helps move sugar out of the blood and into our cells.
Hemoglobin A1C is a measure of how much sugar is coating your red blood cells. This number changes every 3 months with the life cycle of the red blood cell so is a more stable, long term indicator of blood sugar management.
If you suffer from less than ideal blood sugar management than working with a naturopathic or functional medicine doctor who understands functional blood value ranges and natural ways to help boost your body’s ability to manage blood sugar is vital.
What are ideal blood lipid values?
Lipids are the fats and cholesterols that float around in our blood. Cholesterol is an important backbone molecule for our adrenal and sex hormones as well as a building block for our cellular membranes. The problem is when too much cholesterol floats around our blood in the presence of high levels of inflammatory markers clogs up our arteries leading to cardiovascular disease.
Keeping our lipid markers (and inflammatory markers) low is key for long term metabolic health. (HDL being the exception since higher values acts to remove cholesterol from the blood to be processed by the liver). Diet, lifestyle and nutrient interventions can have a huge impact on these values even though a large portion of our circulating lipid values are created internally by our livers.
How Does Inflammation Come Into Play?
The final piece to the metabolic health puzzle (after sugar and lipids) is inflammation. Inflammation is the body’s natural response to injury. You need a certain level to be able to heal. The problem occurs when inflammation isn’t turned off and continues to burn in a chronic state.
Elevated sugar in the blood is a major driver of inflammation. It’s the fuel for the fire of inflammation that oxidizes cholesterol leading to plaque formation in the arteries of cardiovascular disease patients. Plaque formation and chronic inflammation in the arteries eventually leads to clot rupture and blockages in heart attack and stroke patients.
Chronic inflammation is also the main driver of chronic pain in all areas of the body.
Working with a qualified health professional who understands the roots causes of inflammation and how to reverse them is key for improving long term health outcomes.
As part of our practice here at Curos Health, we help patients reverse metabolic disease by helping them get a stronger handle on the foundations of their health. If you are interested in working with our team one-on-one to address your health concerns and strengthen your health foundations schedule your free consultation here.