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Natural Awakenings Metro Phoenix & Northern Arizona

The New Annual Health Checkup: Go beyond the standard of care to identify health factors that could negatively impact one's health, says Dr. Jake Psenka

Nov 30, 2013 11:07AM ● By Jonathan Psenka, NMD

For many people, January 1 is not only the first day of their New Year’s resolutions, but is also the time of year when their annual health checkup is due and health problems caught early are the easiest to fix.

The routine annual checkup is a straightforward endeavor. A physical exam and some laboratory work is the standard of care. For those above a certain age, other exams may be suggested, such as mammograms and colonoscopies. These labs, exams and tests are recommended because finding a problem early is advantageous. The problem with the standard annual checkup isn’t that it doesn’t cover some important areas, but that it doesn’t cover some areas enough and others not at all. It’s time for a better annual checkup.

The new annual checkup is one that adheres to the standard of care and also goes beyond, looking for additional health factors that could be negatively affecting a person’s health. These health factors can be used to help guide a person toward corrective actions, should they be found to be outside of recommended limits. Below are some examples of tests that can be run that expand on the standard of care.

Vitamin and mineral and antioxidant analysis: Just as too little of a particular vitamin or mineral can potentially lead to problems, too much can be problematic, as well. Antioxidants are needed to help protect us from the many toxic exposures we deal with daily. Knowing our levels of these things can help to specifically tailor our supplement plan to prevent imbalances.

Omega-3 fatty acid analysis: The omega-3 fats are called essential because our bodies cannot make them on their own, yet they are necessary to our health. We are supposed to include an adequate amount of these health fats in our diet, but experience shows that few of us do. Poor memory, depression, fatigue, heart disease and dry skin are all associated with omega-3 deficiencies.

Blood sugar issues: The standard of care is testing a person’s fasting blood sugar a single time. A better way is to use the fasting test and additionally obtain a marker of the person’s average blood sugar levels over the past two or three months. It should come as no surprise that our diets are full of hidden sugars and that there are many health problems, such as diabetes, associated with our increased intake.

Cell proliferation studies: Our cells generally reproduce at predictable rates, so when they are reproducing faster than normal it can signal a risk of diseases like cancer. Certain enzymes can be used to estimate cell proliferation rates and can be beneficial in detecting abnormal cellular proliferation. Again, the importance of early detection cannot be overstated.

Vitamin D3: Being tan will rarely ensure a healthy vitamin D3 level. Considering the numerous health benefits associated with this single vitamin, it is astounding that it is not included in more annual checkups. Depression, skin issues and cancer are all associated with low vitamin D3 levels.

Exposure-dependent testing: Some people may have higher risks of exposure to environmental toxins due to a job, hobby or even the area in which they live. There are many types of specialized tests available to help quantify a person’s exposure. Many health problems are linked to toxins, and removing them from our bodies is very important.

The goal of a yearly checkup is to learn what is needed in order to be healthy. Choosing a more detailed analysis can provide additional information needed to maintain good health far into the future.

Dr. Psenka works with integrative cancer therapies, IV therapy, allergies, ozone, UVBI, diet and exercise education for the treatment and prevention of disease. For more information, call 602-428-6151 or visit

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