Friday, September 12, 2008

Blood Work: Did My Body Get "Passing Grades?"

It was Thursday, and I was sitting in one of those clever lab chairs that allow the technician to draw blood from either arm. I cranked myself around and offered up my left arm as my "good arm." I was at the Pioneer Comprehensive Medical Clinic in Draper, Utah, where Dr. Rodier practices.

The lab technician wrinkled her brow and said, "That's your good vein?" Now, why do they say things like that?! I closed my eyes, ready for a bad poke, but she got it just right and emptied several vials worth of blood to send off for testing.

Why do this? I decided that I should have all the tests that the patients at Pioneer will have when we do the Constant Health study. So, the little vials will be assessed for:

  • Lipid Panel - cholesterol and triglyceride levels
  • c-Reactive Protein - otherwise known as c-RP to test inflammation markers
  • Glycated Hemoglobin - 2-hour fasting glucose test for insulin resistance levels
  • Vitamin D - most people are low, which leads to all sorts of chronic disease
  • Celiac Panel - gluten intolerance antibody and malabsorption detection
  • Heavy Metals - many people are unexpectedly high in these toxins associated with disease
The carotid IMT, which is a non-invasive measure of inflammation that is more accurate than the c-RP, but it requires a trip to another facility.

But back to that lab chair. I was fine with the first blood draw. My job was then to scurry off to have an incredibly high carb/high sugar meal and start my stopwatch at my last bite and clock back into the clinic for a second blood draw at exactly the 2 hour point. The second stick was not as perfect, but still fine.

The technician told me to go eat pancakes and syrup or something like that, but since I'm watching all gluten intake of late, I canned that idea. I had white rice, saving most of the stir fried chicken and veggies for after my test.

I had some Hi-C "fruit juice" to ensure I boosted my sugar intake (weird to feel competitive about "testing" my system, but I did). I finished with an English toffee candy (the other sugar-laced dessert choices involved dairy and wheat, which I am avoiding).

I was satisfied that I had done the deed, ingested a boatload of sugar in one meal, without blood sugar-stabilizing portions of protein or fiber.

I felt fine, for the first couple of hours, long enough to get my blood drawn again. However, after I drove back to my office, I started feeling wired, like I had had coffee. I started flushing and feeling nauseous and it was clear my blood sugar had spiked and started to crash. I didn't feel well last night and woke up feeling wretched at 4 am on Friday morning.

I felt like I had just taken the SATs and flunked. I'm not sure why my body is so sensitive this summer. I have not had Hi-C in several decades and usually don't eat much artificially-colored, corn syrup sweetened foods. I wondered if my reaction was due to the additives in that red sugar water that kids seem to mainline.

Then, reading more about the 2-hour glucose test online, over and over, the guidelines said that patients are directed not to restrict carbohydrates in the preceding days or weeks before a test.

The reality is that with the ocular rosacea diagnosis this summer, I have eliminated all sorts of things (wheat, sugar, refined foods, in short, carbs). My hope is that this is why I was so affected by the sugar loading.

Anyway, like a kid who took a test, I am eagerly awaiting my results. Did my body get passing grades? I'll know more on the 25th, when I go in to see Dr. Rodier. More when I know more.

No comments: