The Shelter-In has been taking its toll on me. This past weekend I have been feeling lonely. This is new for me because although I live alone (except for 4 – furry 4 legends) I haven’t been lonely until this Shelter-In. A rainy Saturday prevented long walks with my dogs. I have been meditating, not watching the news, sleeping well, eating healthfully and taking my supplements. I haven’t been moving much, exercising my mind or connecting with friends. This coming week I will be focused on connecting with friends, moving more and exercising my mind.

How have you been? What do you want to be working on this week? Please let me know.

Lately, I am seeing a lot of emails, articles, and webinars about supporting the immune system. I know I have written about it here and discussed a variety of ways you can do to support it. These included lifestyle habits, foods, minimizing stress and taking supplements.

Some people have asked me how do they know if their immune system is working optimally. The simple answer is how do you feel? Do you have brain fog? aches or pains? how often do you get sick with a cold or flu? Are you depressed or anxious? Do you crave carbs? Do you have gastrointestinal issues? Do you have skin rashes?

Another way is to see if you have inflammation. Chronic inflammation is evidence of the body’s immune system working overtime. If our immune system is not able to get rid of the agent responsible for the inflammation. Or the immune system mistakes healthy tissue for an offending agent and attacks it leading to autoimmune illnesses. Or there is continual exposure to an offending agent.

There are two simple laboratory tests that your physician can order to quantify inflammation.

  1. C reactive protein, high sensitivity (c-RP, hs)
  2. Sedimentation Rate (esr)

Your conventional physician uses C-reactive protein as a cardiovascular disease risk factor. Functional Medicine physicians use it as a way to quantify systemic inflammation. So when I order this for my patients I do explain that I am not ordering this to tell them they have cardiovascular disease but that we are looking for systemic inflammation. c-RP is a protein the liver produces when there is inflammation.

Sedimentation Rate (esr- erythrocyte sedimentation rate) is another marker for inflammation. It is actually a measurement of the time it takes red blood cells to settle at the bottom of a test tube. Inflammation causes red blood cells to clump together which raises the ESR.

You may want to check your last few years of lab work and see if these tests were done. You also may want to ask your physician to run them on your next visit. Also, there are ways to order these labs without a physician’s order. You can’t use your insurance though but the cash payment is much less than you would pay through insurance.

I am always interested in how you are doing. Please let me know. Take Care Now.

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Dr. Laurie Goldman is a medical doctor, psychiatrist, and functional medicine practitioner who’s been in private practice since 1999. She founded Clear Path Wellness to help her patients reach their maximum state of mental and physical health using a personalized, comprehensive approach powered by the principles of functional medicine, which treats the whole person, not just symptoms.   

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Functional Medicine How Do You Know If You Are Inflamed?