I was fortunate enough to grow up with home-cooked meals, healthy eating habits, and plenty of regular exercise. But the older I've gotten, the more I've found myself struggling: Restful sleep was simply not happening, and I've constantly felt sluggish and tired despite maintaining a healthy diet.
Right when things were at their worst, I happened upon Ways2Well, a digital healthcare platform based right here in Houston with a goal of bridging the preventative care gap we don't receive in our regular healthcare plans. Ways2Well goes beyond the standard wellness check with a comprehensive blood analysis to determine overall wellness and ensure we're functioning at the highest possible level.
Founder Brigham Buhler—a native Houstonian recently named a "CEO to watch"—understands the importance of addressing health problems and finding solutions early to prevent more serious future medical needs. That means running a multitude of blood tests that your general physician typically wouldn't in order to check hormone levels, vitamin levels, genetic and biological markers, and even thyroid and nutritional health, all with the overarching goal of early detection.
"We don't want to treat disease states—our goal is to prevent them," Buhler says. "The statistics about the prevalence of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and other chronic illnesses are staggering. These diseases are preventable or modifiable in many cases, but often patients are diagnosed too late.
"Coupled with the reality that most insurance companies do not offer coverage for preventative care measures and industry time constraints leave doctors to only address sick care needs," Buhler continues, "there's a gap in providing preventative care to patients in order to address these rapidly rising conditions."
Before I began my own journey, the Ways2Well team walked me through the process of what to expect. Having a completely digital platform helps with addressing things quickly and conveniently—the online portal is a hub containing all of your information for appointments, prescriptions, and diagnostics.
First, we had a preliminary consultation to discuss my specific health goals, and I learned there are two potential routes: The first, a comprehensive panel, is about $250 and tests for just about everything. The second, a targeted testing, is around $99 and tests for specific areas of interest. I went for the comprehensive tests because I'd never had any testing done in the past.
Next came the IRL portion, and I set an appointment for blood work with Quest Diagnostics. Obviously, this is the least enjoyable part of the experience—especially for anyone with needle-fear—but it's really over before you know it.
About three days later, I had a complete video chat evaluation and lab review with nurse practitioner Danese Recroad, who built me a totally unique and personalized health guide. Recroad spent about an hour going through every single test Ways2Well ran, and she broke down what those results meant, how each vitamin or hormone was affecting me, what it did for my body, and how each contributed to the health of other vitals.
Turns out, I was overdoing it on the B12, which I'd thought I needed to combat my low energy levels. On the other end, my Vitamin D levels came out extremely low, which might actually be the issue. Recroad showed me how the low D levels were could be affecting my hormones, energy, and even folic acid levels. She explained that, for parts of my body to function the way I need, I had to get those numbers up.
Armed with new information, I emerged with a game plan. I'm ready to get some pep back in my step, and I now begin the three-month period of integrating the prescribed vitamins—Ways2Well calls them into their own affiliated pharmacy, ReviveRX—into my daily routine. (Revive also delivers the meds—talk about customer service!)
After three months on my customized regimen, I'll return for a few select tests to see how the supplements have affected my numbers—not to mention restless nights and general lack of energy. That's the time when patients find out if the changes they've made over the last several months have helped improve overall health.
In all, my experience with Ways2Well opened my eyes when it comes to what my body really needs. No matter how many articles I've read, fads I've tried, or health trends I've followed, there's no denying these numbers—they're specific to my body, which means creating a better, more specific roadmap for improving my own health.