May 3, 2013
Most Americans have little-to-no medical training whatsoever, so it’s nigh-on impossible for them to figure out what is and is not “normal,” in terms of lab results and so forth.
What’s more, your doctor may not be providing you with complete information either, regarding what is and is not “normal” for you.
According to Dr. Lee Hieb, an orthopedic surgeon specializing in spinal surgery and a past president of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, a free market medical organization, the term “normal” can be used – and misused – in describing the results of lab tests taken by your physician.
Normal versus abnormal
“When you go to the doctor and he does tests, ever wonder how ‘normal’ is determined?” she writes in WorldNetDaily. “Ideally normal should be ‘optimal.’ But, what is optimal for you is not always optimal for me. And, sadly, how we determine ‘normal’ in standard medicine has nothing to do with what would make our bodies’ the healthiest.”
Consider thyroid levels, she says. When the labs “norm” the various studies, they use volunteers – “many times hospital and/or lab employees” – and ask them if they are well on a particular day, then make them part of a random sample. Of the 50 or so employees questioned in the norm test, some of them may actually not be “normal.” Genetic drift, Hieb says, along with a lack of iodine in the diet, exposure to bromine and other factors may mean “a great number of people’s thyroids are not working normally, and they are actually hypothyroid, but haven’t been diagnosed as such.”
Still, though actually abnormal, these participants are lumped into the pool of people “to determine the normal range of thyroid,” thus actually skewing the “normal” range to the abnormal.
Staying with the thyroid, she writes, “TSH is a measure of thyroid function, and as the thyroid fails the TSH gets bigger, we know from studies in the heart as well as bench analysis that if the TSH is above 1, the thyroid function – its effects on different body tissues, is abnormal. Cardiac output, the ability of the heart to pump blood diminishes with a TSH above 1.” But the lab range of “normal” remains 0.4-0.5, which is broad enough to include a good number of sick people.
Consider also, she says, stats for male testosterone levels. A normal 25-year-old has a testosterone level in excess of 150, on average – a level that is found in virile, young, healthy males. But if you are a 55-year-old male who has experienced a “lack of energy, increasing abdominal girth, inability to get benefit from working out and loss of libido,” and “you just don’t feel like yourself,” perhaps you will go to your doctor to inquire about your testosterone level.
The doctor gets a blood sample, and your testosterone is 75, which puts you just above the bottom of the “normal range,” and your doctor says, “No, your testosterone is normal – see?” Of course, what is normal for a 60-year-old may be quite abnormal for a 25-year-old. And certainly, the diminished level of testosterone confirms no biologic advantage. As testosterone declines, muscle wastes, fat deposits rise and thereby estrogen levels in men rise.
Of course, what is normal for a 60-year-old may be quite abnormal for a 25-year-old. And certainly, the diminished level of testosterone confirms no biologic advantage. As testosterone declines, muscle wastes, fat deposits rise and thereby estrogen levels in men rise.
‘Free market medicine should be the new normal’
She goes on to note that the risk of developing prostate cancer in men is reduced in those who maintain healthy, youthful testosterone levels. She also notes that higher testosterone levels are associated with heart attack survival – “to name just a few benefits of having a youthful testosterone level.”
In the end, she says, medical professionals should change how they view or think about “normal.” To help in that transition, she recommends that patients ask their doctors questions like, “Well, if that is normal now, what was normal when I was 25?”
“We now have sophisticated testing that assesses “normal” functionally. Instead of taking the average from a bunch of strangers, these tests actually asses the levels of various substances needed to optimize growth and function in an individual patient,” Hieb writes, noting that is the kind of medicine she practices personally – and at age 60, it has left her feeling better than when she was 45.
“Free market medicine for free people also is the best quality medicine. And this truly should be the ‘new normal,'” she says.