The Value of a Comprehensive Assessment

A functional approach to understanding your health story.
Kari Collett, RDN, LDN, CLT with A to Zinc Nutrition, LLC

When patients meet with me for the first time, they’re often surprised at the depth of the preliminary paperwork they complete prior to coming in. Some find detailed forms unpleasant. It takes a fair amount of time to answer the questions and much of the information gathered doesn’t seem relevant to nutrition health.

On the other hand, a pleasantly surprised patient recently told me, “These are the questions providers should have been asking me all along!” After years of seeing doctors for her health issues and not getting resolutions, she saw the value in going deeper and asking for information that can help discover the underlying root cause.

A thorough assessment is absolutely critical to understanding the complexity of a person’s health challenges. Every atom, cell, and system is in constant communication with each other to make your body work. The story matters. The questions matter, and your provider should be asking, looking, and listening.

Eyes on You

In a world where so much of our communication has gone digital, it can be difficult to really ‘see’ a patient for assessment purposes. Some of this approach is unavoidable. But, when possible, insist on seeing your provider in-person. Sitting face-to-face for a conversation allows your provider to take a good look at you.

A first impression speaks volumes. How do you carry yourself? This reveals confidence, sadness, happiness, and many other emotional aspects of heath. It might reveal structural instability and muscle strength. How do you present yourself? In other words, do you practice good hygiene and convey self-value? An unkempt person may be suffering from depression, memory loss, or financial hardship. On the flip side, does the patient wear a lot of makeup, perfume, and painted nails? This can mean chemical overload or a perfectionistic type of personality.

Body shape and size are elements of health visible to the provider. It’s not always necessary to take measurements; it’s usually pretty obvious if a person has abdominal obesity, pear-shaped hips, or is extremely underweight or undernourished. These are all clues to a person’s state of health.

Skin, eyes, and hair factors are also important. Dark skinned people have greater potential for vitamin D deficiency. Many ethnic groups have less capacity to digest dairy foods. Any exposed skin may reveal acne, eczema, or psoriasis. Skin may also communicate a person’s hydration status. Are the whites of a person’s eyes white or yellow? If yellow, the liver might need support. Hair that is falling out is a sign of nutrient deficiencies and/or a low functioning thyroid.

Ears on You 

Even after filling out detailed paperwork, our patients are provided the opportunity to tell their story. Open ended questions invite them to share their experiences, emotions, facts, or whatever they deem most important to share. Follow-up detailed questions allow us to investigate further and seek clarification.

Listening intently encourages sharing and provides a safe environment to tell the story. Many parts of an individual’s story are personal, and he or she may be wary of being judged for not doing things they should have done to prevent their current situation. There are many factors that influence anyone’s state of health.

Most importantly, when a provider has full ears on you, he or she is able to hear what you’re NOT saying. If you’re the type that tries to be strong and live with your pain on the outside, you’re likely crying on the inside hoping that the real you can be free to come out. You can’t play with kids, reach career objectives, socialize with friends, recreate or travel in any of the capacities you desire because you aren’t thriving. In fact, you’re barely surviving.

For You

If you aren’t feeling seen or heard by your provider, look for one that will make time to hear everything you have to share and focus intently on you during your visit. It might take a while when seeking providers that are not part of large medical systems. You might even consider a provider outside of the scope that you think is relevant. For example, if you experience migraines, you might think you need a neurologist. But there are many types of healing approaches that can help: chiropractic, acupuncture, massage, MAT, and nutrition just to name a few!

Be an advocate for your own health! If you’re not feeling heard and supported by your provider, speak up. If he/she is not willing to work with you in the manner that you need, inform the provider why you will be seeking alternative care. You want answers and solutions that get to the root cause and fit your value system for achieving health.

Free Assessments

A to Zinc Nutrition specializes in reducing inflammation with foods and nutrients unique to individuals. Our assessments are thorough and help us get to the root cause of your pain!

Kari Collett, RDN, LDN, CLT with A to Zinc Nutrition, LLC

To learn more about optimizing your health, schedule a free Discovery Call:

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