Naturopathic Physician Questions Blood Tests

Lab tests

Why do some naturopaths do lots of lab tests and others don't? How important are hormone tests?

9 Answers

It all depends on the condition. It is more important to treat the entire person first (holistic) and to find the root causes of disease. Hormone testing is an important component in order to properly monitor hormonal levels in the body.
Some naturopaths do not run labs because they either cannot run labs since they are not a naturopathic physician (only a naturopath), they do not reside in a state licensed for naturopathic physicians or they have seen a particular case many times that they can make a recommendation without costly test. The importance of a hormone test varies on the individual case. For certain hormonal imbalances, I feel comfortable making a recommendation without labs, while others I would like to be sure I am not putting the patient at risk for throwing their hormones more out of balance.
Naturopathic doctors have foundational training and then others go on to get more in depth training that involves more in depth labs. Some believe the labs won't change the treatment and so want to save the patient money. Others may utilize the information to did deeper into what may be happened. I am an absolute proponent of hormone testing and being sure that the hormones are balanced properly. If the hormones are not balanced, you can have many different types of symptoms from fatigue, hot flashes, low libido, erectile dysfunction, etc. Hope this helps.
Although testing through education is relatively the same across all fields, each doctor is unique and varies in their approach to healing a condition. This is why every naturopath will differ in the number of lab tests they do. Hormone tests may or may not be necessary based on which condition you are treating and the approach that is being undertaken.
Each patient's needs are different. Some patients might need more testing than others. The majority of these tests are non-invasive.
As far as hormones, again, each case is different. And yes, hormones are important.
Excessive use of laboratory testing not weighed appropriately with medical necessity is not good medical practice regardless of the provider type. In addition the economics must be considered. I have seen patients pay $2,000 for a blood panel that others only paid $150 for. That is not right either. Always work with your doctors office to understand your insurance coverage. My practice has found major labs with very reasonable negotiated cash prices often far less than so called list prices. These rates are available for doctors to pass on to patients. Beware doctors who inflate these prices in order to make more money. This practice is illegal in some states. As for hormones work with your Naturopathic or other doctor to find the hormones necessary to check and best pricing as noted above. Again some doctors, often those with poor training in hormones, will order excessive hormone labs resulting in high unnecessary costs to the medical consumer. If your doctor cannot explain clearly why certain tests are needed, the benefit, and estimate what your costs will be then question and get a second opinion.
Labs and other diagnostic tools are used to confirm whether a patient has a condition or to rule out something more serious. Which labs to run are up to the physician who orders them. Hormones are important for certain conditions and there are many different hormones in the body. Sometimes, the simplest solutions are often the best.
I can not speak for other Naturopaths, I personally do not use them. I use my sensing to find the problem.
Blood test will give insights into a person's health.. examples we can use.. in some anemias, the blood can look pale.. a high fat\lipidemia.. gives the blood a yellowish hue.. forecasting problems for those with heart disease.. blood transports hormones from the releasing endocrine organ.. the endocrine system influences metabolic activity by the means of the hormones.. which travel through the blood to the targeted organ.. bind to the specific receptor creating their specific effect.. both overactivity & underactivity of a hormone can cause metabolic disturbances.. the endocrine system works on positive & negative feedback systems.. which work to keep the body within homeostasis\balance.. Homeostasis is so important that most diseases can be a result of the body falling out of balance.. as we age, the body's control systems do become less & less efficient.. which can be seen within the blood chemistry..