Friday, April 28, 2017 by goodlife
Are you a perennial fan of Dr. Oz? Have you read every article in Healthy Living magazine for the last 3 years? You may be like me then and crave to learn how to best take care of your health (though I don't specifically follow those sources). You may also be like me, in a negative way though…
You may be so enthralled with your own knowledge about health that you sometimes neglect seeking visits with medical health professionals.
I was. For the last few years since I began working as an exercise physiologist I have deeply enjoyed the wealth of information I have learned about exercise science and health. I take great pride in my understanding of what exercises I should select for my own workout routines. Of knowing which exercises will improve the mobility in my thoracic spine. Or a well suited combination of core exercises to improve the stability in my hips, lower back, and abdominal muscles. Part of why I enjoy my work is because it directly benefits my own life as well. But sometimes I take on the mindset that because I am in the health field, because I have access to the plethora of information on the internet, that I can manage my health for myself. And that fruits and vegetables can solve a great deal of issues. I do believe in both of those things. They became excessive however. I found myself trying to diagnose the minor issues I had with my health- lack of energy, post-nasal drip. A simple search on google can yield millions of results on health tips to resolve an illness. My mindset too often these last few years is, "This resource looks well-researched and backed by science, I will use this source to improve my health." What I didn't remember in my mindset though is that an actual doctor's visit, or a visit to a health clinic has incredible value in how it is specific to me and my health. The internet sources I like to read so often can be fantastic, but often speak to a broad scope of people.
This realization came full circle about 1 month ago. This past fall I had finally visited my naturopath doctor for a post nasal drip and a drop in my energy levels. My doctor quickly discovered that I often didn't eat enough meals each day due to my schedule. He also determined that the presence of fruits and vegetables in my diet was greatly lacking. After a thorough check-up he gave me my tasks. Eat more fruits and vegetables, eat more calories, and get my blood work done.
I went as far as the first two, although not particularly well.
Finally, after my energy levels hadn't improved, I gave in and had my blood work done 1 month ago. Yes, I put it off for more than a few months. I thought I had it under control. Based off of my own research, I expected my B vitamin levels and my iron levels to be lower than average on the pending blood work. It seemed like one of the most common causes of a drop in energy levels from all the articles I had read. Plus, since I don't eat meat very often (which can be a good source of vitamin B12) I had a high confidence level that B12 was a culprit in my health issues.
I logged into my account with the blood testing company on a Tuesday afternoon. At the very top of the report was a line of words in bold print. Red bold print. "Vitamin D, 25-OH, TOTAL, IA…7L." The number 7 just sat there on my report. Seven seemed like the lowest number I had ever seen in my life. I couldn't believe the result. I couldn't believe how wrong I was with my conclusions. I am severely deficient in Vitamin D. Normal levels are apparently at least 30-50 (ng/mL). And mine were at best only 24 percent of that. A call to my doctor's office immediately following the results put me on the right track.
I thought I could resolve my health issues on my own. And I guess I've had the mindset for some time now. It was and is scary to me that I was so far off on what may have been causing my health issues all along. And there is a lot more for me to find out...except this time with the continuing help of my doctor. For anyone who currently has health issues, I hope that my own learning curve has value to you. Though the internet, books, and knowledge from trusted friends and family can have great value, in many cases it is best to put your trust in a health professional to investigate and diagnose what may be causing your health issues. It is so easy to search for the answer for yourself. Sometimes the hardest step is recognizing that these unlimited sources don't have the answers that a doctor or other professional can find after examining you personally. I turned out to be a poor naturopath with a degree in exercise science.