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Tackling Autoimmune Disease by Cutting Out Gluten

Going gluten-free is all the rage among people trying to adopt a healthier lifestyle, and restaurants and grocery stores are jumping on the bandwagon by offering a slew of gluten-free choices. But avoiding gluten is not optional for patients suffering from celiac disease.

Celiac disease is a genetic, autoimmune disease that damages the lining of the small intestine. The disease is triggered when people eat gluten, a protein found naturally in wheat, barley and rye. The disease damages the small intestine’s villi, which absorb nutrients. Approximately one out of 100 people worldwide are affected by celiac disease, according to the Celiac Disease Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to accelerating diagnosis, treatments, and a cure for celiac disease through research, education and advocacy. Three million Americans suffer from celiac disease. It is more common among Caucasian females, as well as people with Down syndrome, Turner syndrome and type 1 diabetes.

Symptoms of Celiac Disease

Celiac disease has a host of symptoms that vary among patients. The average length of time it takes for a person in the United States with symptoms to be diagnosed with celiac disease is four years. Going without treatment increases the risk of developing complications, including autoimmune disorders, neurological problems, osteoporosis and cancer, the University of Chicago Medicine reports. Some of the common symptoms in adults are stomach problems, like gas or diarrhea, according to WebMD, but other symptoms include:

  • Iron deficiency
  • Bone or joint pain
  • Arthritis
  • Depression or anxiety
  • Tingling numbness in hands and feet
  • Seizures
  • Irregular menstrual periods
  • Itchy skin
  • Mouth sores

Children suffering from celiac disease may exhibit signs of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), as well as irritability and behavioral issues, according to the CDF.

Get Tested at Any Lab Test Now

Despite the popularity of the gluten-free diet, nearly 2.5 million Americans with celiac disease remain undiagnosed, the CDF reports. You can access the Celiac Disease Panel at Any Lab Test Now.  You do not have to fast before taking the test and you will have results to show your doctor in less than a week.

Treating Celiac Disease
Unfortunately, if you learn you have celiac disease, the only treatment is to adopt a gluten-free diet, according to Mayo Clinic. Eliminating breads and processed foods containing gluten is key to preserving the health of the small intestine. Removing gluten from the diet reduces inflammation in the small intestine within months for children and slightly longer for adults. While the intestine heals, doctors may prescribe steroids to combat inflammation.

In addition to the obvious sources of gluten, it hides in many everyday products, and even trace amounts can trigger an attack, Mayo Clinic reports. Here’s a list of uncommon products that need to be monitored for gluten.

  • Modified food starch, preservatives and food stabilizers
  • Prescription and over-the-counter medications
  • Vitamin and mineral supplements
  • Herbal and nutritional supplements
  • Lipstick products
  • Toothpaste and mouthwash
  • Communion wafers
  • Envelope and stamp glue
  • Play-Doh and similar flour-based modeling compounds

Gluten-free diets do not require avoiding all grains. People with celiac disease can enjoy a number of grains and starches, including cornmeal, buckwheat, corn tortillas, quinoa, rice, tapioca and wild rice. Many people with celiac disease find following an anti-inflammatory diet, in addition to cutting out gluten, helps reduce symptoms. The diet includes fatty fish, vegetables, whole grains and beans.

Psychological Impacts of Celiac Disease

Receiving chronic health news often causes stress, anxiety and depression. The side effects of celiac disease can cause fatigue and depression owing to malnutrition and lack of vitamin absorption. People with celiac disease report brain fog, memory lapse and headaches, as well as avoidance of social situations, according to Beyond Celiac, a patient advocacy nonprofit. Doctors recommend maintaining a regular exercise routine and receiving psychological support to prevent depression.

If you have a family history of celiac disease or are experiencing any uncomfortable symptoms, visit your local Any Lab Test Now location to get tested today.

Employer Drug Testing

Drug Testing Improves Productivity, Cuts Costs

Evolving drug laws, coupled with record-low unemployment rates, makes navigating drug testing a challenge for many employers.

Nearly 21 million Americans abuse drugs, prescription medication and alcohol, according to the National Safety Council, the nation’s leading safety advocate. Seventy-five percent of people struggling with addiction to alcohol, pain medication, marijuana and other substances are employed. The National Institutes of Health reports that drug abuse costs the U.S. economy $246 billion in decreased productivity, turnover and absenteeism, as well as medical costs and increased accidents, according to the Drug & Alcohol Testing Industry Association, or DATIA. The construction, hospitality and foodservice industries have two times the number of employees with substance abuse problems, the NSC reports.

Making the decision to include pre-employment drug testing should not be taken lightly. Having a written policy about employee use of alcohol and drugs is key to maintaining a safe and healthy work environment. Administrator training, and review of the policy by a lawyer, are also important to prevent employer liability.

Here are just a few reasons to include human resources policies to prevent drug abuse.

  • Maintain a safe work environment. On-the-job accidents occur when judgment is impaired. Ensuring workers are clear-headed and focused is the key to maintaining a safe workplace.
  • Increase worker productivity. Workers with substance use problems miss 50 percent more days of work annually than their peers. Employee turnover rates are high for people with substance use disorders.
  • Improve company culture. Pre-employment drug screening allows employers to determine if a candidate holds your company’s values and standards. Drug use can decrease employee morale and interfere with attention and concentration.
  • Abide by regulations. Many industries, including healthcare, transportation and government, have specific regulations for drug testing compliance.

Any Lab Test Now offers a variety of on-site testing options for employers nationwide. The direct access lab testing company can manage pre-employment drug testing, random testing programs, reasonable suspicion tests, post-incident and return-to-duty drug and alcohol testing. Any Lab Test Now is qualified to provide testing for the Department of Transportation as part of its Federally Mandated Urine Drug Test (5-Panel). This test is a laboratory-based test and includes a screen, confirmation and the review of a medical officer. The Healthcare Professional Drug Panel is specifically designed to test healthcare professionals for highly addictive prescription medications that are readily available at their workplace. The panel will determine the presence or absence of the most easily abused prescription drugs or their metabolites in the urine.

The most common pre-employment drug test is the Urine Drug Test (5-Panel), which checks for the presence of five drug metabolites including:

  1. Amphetamine/Methamphetamines
  2. Marijuana
  3. Cocaine
  4. Opiates
  5. Phencyclidine (PCP)

Any Lab Test Now offers other solutions, including options that test hair, fingernails and blood.

The company’s 10-drug panel tests may also include screenings for phencyclidine (PCP), methadone, propoxyphene and methaqualone.

Legalization of Marijuana

Currently, the recreational use of marijuana is legal in 11 states as well as Washington, D.C. Marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug in the past year, according to a survey conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. In 2018, an estimated 43.5 million Americans aged 12 or older used marijuana in the past year, the survey revealed.

Employers must decide if they will continue to have a zero-tolerance policy for marijuana and make sure their decision is reflected in their human resources policies. The National Institute of Drug Abuse contends that the negative impacts of marijuana on attention and memory can last long after the acute effects of the drug wear off. A study of postal workers found that employees who tested positive for marijuana on a pre-employment urine drug test had 55 percent more industrial accidents, 85 percent more injuries and 75 percent greater absenteeism, compared with those who tested negative for marijuana use, NIDA reported.

Make a plan to improve employee safety and morale by relying on a drug-testing authority. Visit Any Lab Test Now to learn more about our business solutions designed to boost your company’s bottom line.

Five Ways to Improve Gut Health

Colon Cancer Awareness Month

Pharmacy shelves are filled with expensive probiotics touting gut health, but simple dietary (and lifestyle) changes, along with regular medical tests, can help build a strong digestive system and decrease the risks of colon cancer.

One in 23 men and one in 25 women will develop colon cancer. The American Cancer Society predicts 104,610 new cases of colon cancer to be diagnosed in the United States this year. In the United States, colorectal cancer is the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths in men and women. Colorectal cancer typically starts from a growth in the lining of the colon or rectum, called a polyp. Adenomas polyps may change into cancer over time and can be removed if they are detected during colonoscopies. The colon measures five feet long and is responsible for absorbing any of the remaining water and salt in food before it exits the body as waste, according to the American Cancer Society.

The good news is that early detection and screening are helping reduce the death rate from colorectal cancer. To highlight Colon Cancer Awareness Month in March, take time out of your busy schedule to visit an Any Lab Test Now location to get an annual screening test. The Colon Cancer Screening (Fit) Test is a valuable tool to ensure good colon health.

Are You at Risk?

Many lifestyle factors increase your risk of developing colorectal cancer. Physicians cite lack of regular exercise, low fiber and high-fat diets, obesity, alcohol consumption and tobacco use as risk factors, the Centers for Disease Control reports. Regular screening and dietary changes are key to avoiding colorectal cancer, according to the CDC. If you have a family history of colorectal cancer, it is important to be aware of some of the common signs of a problem and visit your physician.

Common signs include:

  • Blood in your stool.
  • Lingering stomach pain.
  • Unexplained weight loss.

Easy Steps to Improve Gut Health

Stress, lack of sleep, antibiotics and a diet of highly processed foods can damage the health of the gut. In addition to obvious lifestyle changes to lower the risk of colorectal cancer, there are five easy steps everyone can take to improve gut health and reduce their cancer risk.

Eat more vegetables. Increasing consumption of whole grains, fruits, nuts and vegetables provides essential fiber, an important component of digestion.

Add fermented foods. Fermented foods like kimchi, yogurt and sauerkraut contain natural probiotics, which can help improve your gut health.

Eat dark chocolate and foods with polyphenols. Polyphenols found in foods like berries, dark chocolate and certain spices help improve digestion.

Cut out artificial sweeteners. A study conducted on mice reveals artificial sweeteners altered their metabolism and damaged their gut bacteria.

Brush and floss your teeth. Medical professionals are exploring a link between excess plaque and gum disease as one cause of colon cancer.

Get Tested at Any Lab Test Now

If you have a family history of colon cancer, the Colon Cancer Screening (Fit) Test is an important tool in the early detection of blood in the stool that could indicate colon cancer. The Colorectal Cancer Alliance recommends adults start getting screened annually at age 45. People with a family history of colon cancer should start getting screened at 40, or 10 years before the age of the youngest case in your immediate family. People with certain autoimmune diseases, like ulcerative colitis, may need to be screened prior to age 45.

You do not need an appointment to take advantage of Any Lab Test Now’s affordable lab testing. Patients can receive results via mail, fax or pick them up at their testing location. The test results are in an easy-to-read format that clearly states if the test is within the normal range. You should share the results with your physician. If the Colon Cancer Screening (Fit) Test detects blood in your stool, your doctor will likely schedule a colonoscopy to determine the cause. A colonoscopy is a test conducted under sedation by a gastroenterologist. The outpatient procedure involves inserting a camera in the rectum to allow the doctor to examine the colon for abnormalities.

Reduce your risk of developing this silent cancer by adopting healthy habits and getting regular screenings. Visit your local Any Lab Test Now to find out about the Colon Cancer Screening (Fit) Test.