Standard Blood Testing in Functional Medicine - An Interview with Dr. Shikha

Matthias Dehne posted on 31 January 2018

BLOG: You say that you are using the common blood tests, but that you are reading them differently. What do you mean?

DR. SHIKHA: The only difference is that they tell me a whole lot more than what is usually read into them. When interpreting these test results, ordinarily doctors only look for the 5% of abnormalities that indicate a serious deviation from the norm, or illness. I am looking at the full 100% of the data, everything inside and outside the parameters given by the reference ranges revealing the general state of health. In other words, I am looking for overall tendencies. I compare the results of each and every individual test not only with the deviation from the norm, but with the optimal range to see how far a patient is off it. This gives me a lot more information to work with.


BLOG: Can you illustrate what you mean by giving an example?

DR. SHIKHA: Let’s say a patient’s blood sugar is 5.82mmol/L, this falls within the normal laboratory reference range. Meaning that in the conventional system the patient would be told that the lab test is normal and that he or she doesn’t have diabetes. Which is actually correct, the patient indeed doesn’t have diabetes…. just yet. However, we want to be more thorough. We don’t only look for a possible pathology, but rather want to compare the test result with the optimal range for blood sugar levels. If we do that 5.82mmol/L alerts us to the probability that this patient’s ability to regulate blood sugar is most likely going to be compromised. Combining this with a thorough history, a diet and symptom analysis, and looking at other values in their chemistry screen, I can more accurately pinpoint if this patient is having problems with blood sugar malfunction, or another metabolic imbalance. In other words, the patient and I have the opportunity to deal with a slight malfunction long before it manifests in full-blown diabetes.


BLOG: And this approach pertains to all the blood chemistry values. Not just blood glucose?

DR. SHIKHA: As I said, I am always looking at all values, not just isolated values or a limited set of values. Often what I see in my patients is the result of something else that’s out of balance, rather than the apparent problem. The metabolism is a whole bodymind phenomenon. We can look temporarily at isolated aspects for practical purposes, but if we want to get the whole picture, well then we also have to look at the whole picture. And this is the strength functional medicine in a nutshell.


BLOG: In a few short words of summary, what role do common blood tests play in functional medicine?

DR. SHIKHA: It’s like detective work, piecing together input from different sources, not just from the blood tests themselves. There is not one perpetrator by the name of a particular disease to be neutralized. There are many different potential perpetrators to be kept in check and balanced out, before they ever can create mischief.