The Normal Range

A question has been nagging at me for a long time now.  Who decides what is “normal”?  I know a lot of people who think they’re normal, but their normal is indeed a little bit different from MOST other people’s normals.  Just a hair askew, you know?  When you get the results of a blood test back and everything is “normal,” do you ask, normal in comparison to what?  Is it possible that not everyone’s normal is the same normal?

For example, several years ago, my left ankle looked like an elephant’s ankle.  Or like an elephant stepped on my ankle, but there was no injury.  I went in to the doctor who did an inflammation marker test, which came out at 0.2 above the normal limits.  Technically, I was inflammed!  But the doctor said, no, that’s not high enough to cause concern.  I looked down at my elephant ankle and thought, huh…  Indeed I went to rheumatology who took a giant needle and sucked a heckuva lot of fluid out of my ankle to test for rheumatological disorders, all of which tests came back, you guessed it, normal.  The fluid didn’t return to my ankle.  When they got the fluid out, it stayed out.

So my question is, is it possible that people with fibromyalgia, who all come back with lovely “normal” CBC (complete blood count) panels might need a different normal?  Maybe just because we have a normal thyroid doesn’t mean that we don’t need a thyroid boost?  I’ve counted at least 14 chemicals in our body that may be associated with fibromyalgia – and they’re all at low levels.  Do we simply not process our own chemicals properly and need a boost even ABOVE normal levels?

An abstract by Ortancil, et al, (see library) describes the association between iron levels and fibromyalgia.  They indicate interestingly “even for ferritin in normal ranges.”  In other words, people with fibro may have a normal iron level, but it could still not be enough and mess with serotinin and dopamine production, which when these chemicals are out of whack contribute to pain.

More to think about…..

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