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Iron Deficiency

About three million of us suffer needlessly from a condition that seriously and negatively impacts our quality of life. But it doesn’t need to be that way.

The condition is called anemia. It is when your body lacks enough red blood cells to carry oxygen to your tissues. Anemia can sound frightening because it involves your blood. Yet the treatment can be as easy as changing what’s on your plate for dinner. And finding out if you are anemic can be done quickly and easily with a simple test from Any Lab Test Now! The answer to the test can help you and your doctor put you back on the path to feeling better.

Anemia Symptoms

The symptoms can often be so mild that they go unnoticed or seem like they are just “part of life.” Do any of these things sound familiar? Fatigue, weakness, pale or yellow skin, irregular heartbeat, shortness of breath, dizziness or lightheadedness, chest pain, cold hands and feet, headache, irritability — these symptoms of anemia are often dismissed or ignored. Often, the fatigue becomes overwhelming. Dr. Allen Nissenson, nephrologist and professor of medicine at UCLA, says it doesn’t have to be the norm for the millions with anemia.

Nutrition and Anemia

In order to make enough healthy red blood cells, your body needs an adequate supply of iron, folate and vitamin B-12. Of course, not everyone consumes the right quantity of these nutrients. For this reason, the most common type of anemia is caused by poor nutrition, according to Dr. Nissenson. Our increasing obsession with diets — and the growing number of strict vegetarians and vegans — is adding to the problem. That’s why the Anemia Panel from Any Lab Test Now checks not only your blood count, but also your iron, folate and vitamin B-12 levels.

Whether the anemia is iron deficiency anemia or vitamin deficiency anemia, the treatment is likely as simple as supplements and a change in diet. The best sources of iron are meat, poultry and egg yolks. To a lesser extent, you can get iron from eating green leafy vegetables, dried fruits, dried beans and peas, and enriched whole-grain cereals and bread. You need to also eat foods rich in Vitamin C, like citrus fruits, to help your body absorb the iron. The dark green leafy veggies are also your best source of folic acid. You’ll only get vitamin B-12 by eating animal foods — especially meat, fish, eggs and milk. That’s a real challenge to those following a strict vegan diet.

Who is at Risk?

Your diet isn’t the only thing that can put you at risk of an iron deficiency. You may eat all the right foods but have an intestinal disorder — like Crohn’s disease or celiac disease — that keeps you from properly absorbing the nutrients you eat. Other causes of anemia include:

  • Significant blood loss
  • Heavy menstrual periods
  • Possible reactions to birth control
  • Kidney disease

Importance of Treatment

Anemia may not sound threatening, but there can be complications if you don’t treat it. In addition to severe fatigue, anemia can cause pregnancy complications. And if left unchecked too long, it can eventually lead to heart problems because the heart needs to pump more blood to compensate for the lack of oxygen in the blood. That can ultimately lead to an enlarged heart or even heart failure.

Finding out if you have an iron deficiency takes just a few days. The professionals at your local Any Lab Test Now location can help you find out if you need to take the next step with your doctor to boost your iron and change your health for the better.

Why Should I Get My Vitamin B Levels Tested?

B12 Vitamin Photo

Everyone knows the feeling. It’s 9 a.m. after a late night, you just sat down at your desk and you can’t imagine how you’re going to get through a whole work day without falling asleep where you’re sitting. It’s fatigue, and it hits all of us at one time or another. But for many, that fatigue won’t go away, and that could indicate a deficiency in vitamin B. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there is about a 10 percent chance that the average American is deficient in a given vitamin or nutrient. Conversely, the rates of vitamin toxicity have risen in recent years due to the increased use of multivitamins, and about 60,000 instances of vitamin toxicity are reported to U.S. poison control centers each year. Vitamin toxicity, which is an overabundance of a vitamin in the body, can take a tragic toll if it isn’t caught in time, causing damage to several organ systems, including your nerves, liver, kidneys and brain. If you’re concerned that you’re getting too much or not enough nutrients like vitamin B, a vitamin level test might be just what you need.

 

Vitamin B is an extremely important nutrient for the function of the immune system, metabolism and production of healthy skin, nails and red blood cells. The B vitamin family includes vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B12 and folic acid, and each of these serves a different, but important, purpose in the body. The most commonly deficient of these are vitamin B6 and folic acid, which are important for the metabolism, immune system and fetal development. Deficiencies in these vitamins can cause extreme fatigue, confusion, a weakened immune system and rashes. For most B vitamins, the recommended daily amount is in the range of 5-20 mg.

 

The best way to determine whether you’re getting the right amount of vitamin B is to have your vitamin levels tested. Any Lab Test Now offers vitamin level testing at all of its locations, and with the results of a vitamin test, you can approach your doctor about how to solve any toxicities or deficiencies. With a vitamin as important to basic bodily functions as vitamin B, this test can mean the difference between walking around like a zombie and having enough energy to live life to the fullest. You owe it to yourself to make sure your nutrition is working for you!

Could the answer to your energy loss lie in your stomach?

Are you constantly tired? Feeling like every day is a 3 to 4 cups of coffee kind of day? If you’re lacking energy on a regular basis, you may need more than just another cup of coffee…your body may be trying to tell you that you have a vitamin B12 deficiency. Vitamin B12, also known as the “energy vitamin”, plays a key role in turning the food you eat into energy to power your metabolism. Without adequate levels of the vitamin, you could suffer from memory loss, mood swings, and overall energy loss. If left untreated, the side effects can become even more serious resultinginpermanent nerve damage. Recent studies have suggested that anywhere from 15-40% of the American population today fail to obtain adequate levels of B12 due to their diet, medications and lifestyle.

So, do you know if you’re getting enough B12 to achieve your optimal health? What could put you at risk for developing a B12 deficiency? Because B12 absorption occurs in the stomach, a good starting point is to consider the current health state of your stomach.

People who suffer from gastrointestinal disorders like IBS, Celiac disease or Crohn’s disease are at a greater risk because their stomachs may not be able to fully absorb enough vitamin B12 from food or produce adequate intrinsic factor, a compound needed further along in digesting to absorb B12 in the small intestine.

Because stomach acid plays a major role in unlocking B12 from food in the digestive track, those who regularly take medicine to suppress gastric acid production also have a higher risk. Medications like aspirin, Metformin, and heartburn medicine are a few examples of this.

As a person ages, their stomach lining changeswhichsometimes resultsina decreased production of gastric acid. Because of this, people over the age of 50 tend to need B12 supplements to help them obtain an adequate amount needed for their health.

If you would like to know if you’re getting enough of the vitamin B12, call your local Any Lab Test Now today and schedule a Vitamin B12 Test.