Give Your Heart Some Love During Heart Health Month

Between work, social activities and taking care of a family, it may be easy to forget to take care of yourself.  However, it’s important to make sure your heart’s health is top-notch, especially if you’re the heart of the household.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  Many of those at risk may not even realize there is a problem.  Since February is American Hearth Month, it serves as a reminder that there’s never a bad time to make sure your heart is in good condition and avoid being one of those people who is putting their health on the line.

Your Life, Your Heart, Your Choice:

While various heart problems may be inherited, many forms of heart disease can be prevented or treated with healthy lifestyle choices.  Having a poor diet, excessive alcohol use, smoking, stress and physical inactivity are all lifestyle choices that put people at a higher risk for heart disease.  These factors lead to high blood pressure, which thickens arteries and narrows blood vessels.  Obesity, lack of exercise, smoking, diabetes and other risk factors can also lead to high blood cholesterol levels, which can lead to plaque buildup in the arteries.  If that information doesn’t get you to change your habits, consider this: about 735,000 Americans have a heart attack every year.

Know the Warning Signs:

Chest discomfort and pain in your left arm aren’t the only warning signs that something is wrong with your heart.  Nausea, feeling lightheaded, and pain in the throat or jaw could also be signs of trouble too.  Also, if you’ve developed an annoying cough that produces white or pink mucus, check with your doctor.  When the heart can’t keep up with the body’s demands, this causes blood to leak back into the lungs.  Another sign something is up could be if your legs and feet are swollen.  Blood can get backed up in the veins and cause bloating when the heart can’t pump fast enough.

Take a Test:

If you’re worried about your heart health, take just a couple of minutes to visit your nearest Any Lab Test Now location and see if everything is OK.  The Lipid Panel, which is just $49, includes tests to measure if a patient has abnormal cholesterol or triglyceride levels.  The C-Reactive Protein Test measures the amount of protein in your blood that indicates inflammation.  The test will let you know if inflammation has damaged arteries, thus increasing the chances of a heart attack.  The Lipoprotein Particle Profile Test is the most advanced test available to predict heart disease risk.  Low Density Lipoprotein cholesterol, LDL, is also known as the “bad cholesterol.”  High numbers of small, dense LDL particles can cause plaque buildup, and ultimately cardiovascular disease.  The Lipoprotein Particle Profile Test measures the particles directly.

American Heart Month is the perfect time to show your heart some love.  After all, it does so much for you!  Visit your local Any Lab Test Now to get started.

Got High Blood Pressure? You Could Be Putting Yourself at Risk

“High blood pressure,” also known as hypertension, is a phrase we hear all too often in the American medical landscape. So much so, in fact, that the words have become normalized as something you will most likely hear at least once throughout the course of your lifetime. According to the CDC, one in three American adults has high blood pressure, and only about half of those with high blood pressure have the condition under control. This is dangerous news as high blood pressure, often dubbed “the silent killer,” is capable of wreaking havoc on your health. It often has no warning signs or symptoms, but can set you up for an endless list of problems, including the No. 1 cause of death in the United States: heart disease.

The Silent Killer

If high blood pressure presents no signs or symptoms in most people, how can you know if you have it? The best way to keep tabs on your health is to regularly check your blood pressure with the help of a medical expert. By monitoring your blood pressure levels on a regular basis, you can be better prepared to take the steps toward lowering your blood pressure if necessary. If left untreated, your high blood pressure could be opening you up to a whole host of dangerous and even deadly health problems, including:

  • High blood pressure can cause a number of disabilities if left unchecked. Lack of blood flow to various areas of the body can cause harm to those areas, leaving them with permanent damage. One common result of untreated hypertension is vision impairment or blindness due to blood vessel damage in the eyes.
  • Poor Quality of Life. Not only is high blood pressure dangerous, but it can make your life more difficult on a daily basis. Left untreated, high blood pressure can cause cognitive impairment, dementia and memory problems, nerve damage, bone loss, sleep apnea and even sexual dysfunction.
  • Untreated hypertension can lead to an aneurysm due to damaged arteries, heart failure, heart attack and stroke. It can also cause damage to the kidneys, resulting in kidney scarring and kidney failure.

Consider all of the ways in which these could impact your life as you know it. Untreated high blood pressure could mean not being able to drive and losing the independence of getting yourself around. It could mean that you have trouble remembering your grandchild’s birthday. Worse yet, it could force you to say goodbye to your loved ones too soon. Get tested before it’s too late.

Take Control of Your Health

If you are worried about having high blood pressure, the best thing you can do is get your blood pressure tested. Once you know your numbers, you can take the necessary actions toward improving your health. This would include scheduling regular check-ups with your doctor, and asking about the changes you can make to keep your blood pressure at a safe and healthy level.

Any Lab Test Now offers several options for blood pressure testing and monitoring, including the Basic Check-Up Panel and other Health & Wellness Tests. Nothing is more important than your health. Don’t allow your high blood pressure to put your health at risk. Talk with the experts at Any Lab Test Now to learn what testing options are right for you, and take the steps towards preventing this silent killer.

Safety First! Any Lab Test Now Offers Lab Tests for Athletes

As an MMA fighter, boxer or other combative sports competitor or athlete, you already know that achieving peak performance means taking care of your body and health first. Vitamin deficiencies, hormone imbalances and other health problems can affect your success in the ring and even put you in danger of injury. That’s why many athletic organizations go so far as to require lab testing for their athletes — to make sure they are healthy and fit to compete and won’t be placing themselves in harm’s way.

The good news is, if you need required lab testing before your competition, you can get your results quickly and easily at Any Lab Test Now. Your local Any Lab Test Now location can provide your lab results before your next big fight or other athletic event, with no appointment or insurance necessary. You’ll have your results in 72 hours or less. We are proud to be the Lab Testing Provider for MMA and other combative sports fighters, getting fighters the results they need without the wait or the hassle.

MMA, Boxing and Other Combative Sports

The Fighter Panel at Any Lab Test Now is specially designed to meet the lab test needs of MMA fighters, boxers and other combative sports athletes. To be eligible to compete, many combative sports fighters are required to present their test results to their state athletic commission. The Fighter Panel includes tests for HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C. These tests will ensure your immune system is not compromised and that you are ready to fight.

While certain tests are required for competition, others are simply recommended for peak health, safety and performance in the ring, including:

Make sure you’re taking care of your health first to become the athlete you were always meant to be.

Other Athletes

If you aren’t a combative sports athlete, you may not need the same required lab testing that competitive fighting requires. However, many competitive athletes will still benefit from establishing a baseline for their health and fitness goals. Your baseline will help you improve your performance and let you know what might be going on when something doesn’t feel quite right. Common lab tests for athletes looking to monitor their overall health include:

As an athlete, your health is crucial to staying safe, fit and high-performing on the field, court or fighting ring. Stay at the top of your game by taking care of your health first. Schedule a lab test appointment online or call the experts at Any Lab Test Now to learn what testing options are right for you.

 

Cholesterol Testing: What’s Your Number?

 

Cholesterol plaque in artery

If you suffer from high cholesterol, or have a family history of high cholesterol, you know first-hand that numbers are important. Monitoring your cholesterol numbers can mean the difference between life and death — as high cholesterol increases your risk for heart disease, stroke and other dangerous health conditions. As you may already know, a total cholesterol level of 200 mg/dL or below is considered ideal, while a number above 200 mg/dL may be cause for concern.

 

Types of Cholesterol

To get the full picture of your cholesterol health, there are several numbers you need to know. Total cholesterol measures the total amount of cholesterol in your blood, including LDL and HDL. In general, the lower your total cholesterol number is, the better.

LDL, which stands for low-density lipoprotein, is “bad” cholesterol. Too much LDL can cause buildup and blockages in the arteries, which can slow or even stop blood flow throughout the body. An LDL level of less than 100 mg/dL is best for optimal health.

HDL, which stands for high-density lipoprotein, is “good” cholesterol. This type of cholesterol actually helps remove cholesterol from your arteries, preventing buildup and blockages. In general, the higher your HDL level, the better, and any number over 60 mg/dL is considered healthy.

Know Your Number

Getting tested regularly is an important part of maintaining your cholesterol levels, especially if you struggle with high cholesterol or suffer from conditions relating to high cholesterol, such as diabetes or heart disease. Cigarette smoking, a poor diet, obesity, diabetes, a lack of exercise and a family history are all factors that can raise your risk of having high cholesterol and the dangerous health conditions that can develop as a result. If you are unsure of your cholesterol levels, think you may be at risk of high cholesterol, or if you are already taking medication to treat high cholesterol, it is important to get tested. Knowing your cholesterol numbers could save your life because it helps identify worrisome changes and prompts you to make lifestyle adjustments to protect your health.

Cholesterol Testing

There are several options for getting your cholesterol tested at Any Lab Test Now.

The Cholesterol Medication Maintenance Panel is ideal for patients who are already taking medication for high cholesterol, or for those needing their cholesterol and liver function tested on a regular basis. It is also perfect for those interested in knowing their cholesterol level, providing patients and their doctors with the information they need to make certain health decisions.

The Lipid Panel is an excellent option for those concerned about their cholesterol levels as well as their heart health. And for those interested in a more comprehensive look at their health, the Basic Check-Up Panel, Comprehensive Male Panel and Comprehensive Female Panel are all options that include cholesterol testing.

Talk with your physician and the experts at Any Lab Test Now to learn which cholesterol testing options are right for you.

Have you checked your numbers lately? Knowing your numbers is important, especially when it comes to your health. Take control of your health by scheduling an appointment to get your cholesterol tested today, and start feeling healthier tomorrow.

Cheers to Men’s Health Month!

Women often joke that getting a man to go to a doctor is almost as difficult as getting him to ask for directions when he’s lost. In both situations, men tough it out until they feel better or gotten where they are going, even if it took twice as long as it needed to. When it comes to their health, that stereotype isn’t always wrong. According to the CDC, women are 100 percent more likely than men to visit the doctor for annual exams and preventative services.

To help address this, June is Men’s Health Month. It’s a good time to take a look at some of the risks you may not even realize you’re taking. There are some simple things you can do to be healthier. Any Lab Test Now can help you see places you need to make changes, and you can do it without even needing a doctor’s appointment.

Heart Disease

Heart Disease is the leading cause of death in men. Many of the risk factors for it are things that we can control. If you smoke, drink too much, eat a diet high in saturated fat (think: cheeseburgers and fries), lead a sedentary lifestyle and are overweight, you can change those things. Hey, no one said it would be easy! Stress can also be an important factor in heart disease.

Your cholesterol numbers are also a factor. Cholesterol is fat produced by your liver. You also get it from the foods you eat. Low levels of HDL (sometimes called “good cholesterol”) and high levels of LDL (sometimes called “bad cholesterol”) are the opposite of what you’re after. Any Lab Test Now has a Lipid Panel available that screens for HDL, LDL, the ratio of the two as well as your triglyceride levels. The result will let you and your doctor see if your cholesterol levels need attention.

Diabetes

Your chances of having a heart attack are also greater if you have diabetes. Diabetes is easy to ignore because at first you feel just fine. But the disease affects other organs: your heart, blood vessels, nerves, eyes and kidneys. Left unchecked, the long-term complications can be disabling or even life-threatening. In addition to heart disease, diabetes can cause blood vessel damage, kidney damage, eye damage, foot damage, hearing loss, and possibly increase the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

The symptoms develop slowly — often a person has type 2 diabetes and doesn’t know it. Symptoms include: increased thirst and frequent urination, increased hunger, weight loss despite eating more, and fatigue. If you think you might have diabetes, or if you have diabetes and want to get a check on your blood levels, you can use the Diabetes Maintenance Panel at Any Lab Test Now.

Underlying Causes

Heart disease and diabetes aren’t embarrassing to talk about. But two men’s health issues that can lead to both of those can be uncomfortable to discuss —  prostates and testosterone. After you hit the age of 40, your prostate starts to grow. The symptoms you notice are a slower urinary stream or the sudden urge to go. But an enlarged prostate is also linked to metabolic diseases like diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Another issue men face as they age is a drop in testosterone. The symptoms are a decreased sex drive, erectile difficulty, mood changes and even memory problems. Low testosterone increases the risk of developing diabetes and hypertension. You can find out what your levels are with a simple testosterone test from Any Lab Test Now.

Men, it’s time to take control of your health and well-being! The first step in leading a healthier lifestyle is knowing what changes you need to make. Along with your local Any Lab Test Now, it’s easy to find out what areas you and your doctor can focus on as you make a roadmap to follow for better health.

It’s Time To Take Care of Yourself

On an airplane, they tell you to be sure to put on your own oxygen mask before helping others, because you can’t take care of someone else if you are in need of help. But all too often, women focus on taking care of everyone else in the family before caring for themselves, and this is to their own detriment. They look after their children, their spouse, their aging parents. Who doesn’t get taken care of? The woman herself. While your family is picking up cards and gifts to show their love during the week leading up to Mother’s Day, you should use that time to take care of yourself.

May 8-14 is Women’s Health Week. It’s the perfect time to slow down and check in with yourself. Have you noticed any changes with your body in the last year? Pain? Dizziness? Fatigue? Changed menstrual cycle? Don’t let these changes nag at you. They could be signs of conditions for which medical care can help, such as heart disease, menopause or osteoporosis.

Heart Disease

Heart disease is the number one killer of women in the United States. A whopping 80 percent of women between the ages of 40 and 60 have at least one risk factor for heart disease.

Menopause

It’s a fact of life for women: menopause. Knowing when you are starting to go through it allows you to have the conversation with your doctor about steps you can take to ease the symptoms. If you are having hot flashes, rapid mood swings and a drop in your sex drive, you may want to take the Menopause Screening Panel. This blood test can help you find out if the symptoms are, in fact, the start of menopause. Knowing helps you decide what to do next.

Osteoporosis

Especially after menopause, an issue women face is bone loss, meaning that bones become more brittle and susceptible to breaking. Vitamin D is an important nutrient that can help keep your bones strong, but it can be tricky to get enough just through your diet. Any Lab Test Now has a test available that allows you to find out if you need to boost your vitamin D intake. Or, you may choose to take a more comprehensive Osteoporosis Risk Panel. It includes ten different tests to evaluate your risk for the disease.

Instead of wondering about your body’s changes, get answers. Walk in to Any Lab Test Now to arm yourself with knowledge to make your next doctor appointment more productive. Taking good care of yourself, and having the information you need to help your doctor keep you healthy, is the best gift you can give yourself and your loved ones.

Stay Heart Healthy This February!

Walk into any retail location and you’ll see red, pink and purple hearts of all shapes and sizes. February is the month of love, and the heart represents this feeling for many people. Did you know, however, that February is also Heart Health Awareness Month?

This year, celebrate your heart by making healthy lifestyle changes and taking action to prevent chronic conditions like heart disease. Heart disease kills more American adults than any other cause of death, including cancer, accidents and diabetes. For this year’s Heart Health Awareness Month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention want Americans to focus on one healthy behavior they can make into a habit to take control of their heart health.

After all, your heart health influences your daily life and everything you want to do. From how often you get sick to how much activity your body can handle, a healthy heart makes your whole body run right. Symptoms of heart disease can be unique for everyone, but will often include fatigue, shortness of breath, angina or pain in the chest, nausea and swelling of feet or ankles (also known as edema). Your heart never rests — and your heart health influences your quality of life even when you’re asleep, so it’s critical that it remains healthy.

Heart disease can be difficult to detect on its own, which is why it’s so important to use laboratory testing and regular visits to your primary care physician to keep yourself on track. To find out what your risk is and begin your journey to a healthier heart, you should schedule a Cardiac Risk Panel at Any Lab Test Now this month. Getting a laboratory test entails a simple, one-time visit that will allow you to see your levels of blood cholesterol, C-reactive protein and homocysteine. These levels are an indication of how hard your heart is working and how much inflammation is in your body. Any Lab Test Now also offers a variety of other heart health related tests to consider, like cholesterol testing.

Once you have your results, you can take them to your doctor to discuss your lifestyle and how you can improve your habits, one step at a time. Suggestions may include dietary changes, increasing the consistency with which you take prescription drugs, increased exercise or quitting smoking.

Your cardiovascular system is important for your quality of life, so make February the month you take charge of your habits and make an improvement in your health. For more information on how to use Any Lab Test Now’s laboratory testing to determine your risk, visit our website!

Five Recommended Tests for the New Year

Each January, people across the country resolve to get fit and improve their health. From increasing exercise and reducing stress to taking vitamins and eating right, people understand the importance of taking care of their bodies and minds. Taking care of oneself is a goal that has positive impacts on every area of life.

Of course, any time you set a goal, it is important to figure out how you will track your progress and measure the impact of the actions you take to reach the goal. When it comes to goals related to good health, there are tests that can help you evaluate where you are today and what your personal areas of focus should be.

In 2017, the top five suggested tests for men and women are:

Basic Check-Up Panel – This grouping of tests helps you evaluate your overall health. From liver function to blood pressure, this panel gives you a high-level view of your health today so that you can better pinpoint what is working well, what isn’t, and identify areas for improvement.

Comprehensive Female Panel – This is the most comprehensive panel for women. Not only does it evaluate your overall health, as in the Basic Check-Up Panel, but it also measures hormone levels, nutrition status and thyroid function.

Male Panel – Like the Basic Check-Up Panel, this gives you a good overview of your health. In addition, however, it evaluates adrenal functions that are specific to men and testicular health.

Nutritional Panel – Often, health and wellness issues can stem from having too much or too little of a nutrient in one’s body. Evaluating and monitoring the level of various nutrients in your body is a good first step to making sure your body has what it needs to perform at its best.

Cortisol Total Test – Cortisol is the hormone your body releases in response to stress. When cortisol levels are too high for an extended period, they can contribute to health issues. Monitoring your cortisol level is a good starting point if your goal is to reduce stress.

When it comes to good health, making the decision to take control is step one! Step two is learning about how healthy your body is today so that you can find specific areas for improvement. From there, you can establish a plan that meets your personal health needs. Then, when 2018 rolls around, you are sure to find yourself fitter and healthier!

The Top 5 Things To Avoid This Holiday Season

What do you do when your food won’t treat you right? From causing digestive problems or headaches to giving you long-term health concerns, sometimes the simple act of eating what we love can make us feel horrible. And while there are about 40 foods that are known to cause reactions for people, the five on this list are the most notorious trouble-makers. If you don’t feel so hot after consuming some of these foods, you might want to avoid them over the holidays. And if you’re not sure what food is making you feel ill, visit your local Any Lab Test Now for an ALCAT test that will pinpoint your food sensitivity!

Dairy
Dairy foods are notoriously hard to process. According to Medline Plus, a division of the U.S. National Library of Medicine, about 30 million Americans have some degree of lactose intolerance by the time they reach age 20. The most common symptoms of lactose intolerance are gas, bloating, diarrhea and cramping, beginning within 30 minutes of consuming dairy. You can work around lactose intolerance by consuming different types of dairy products, by consuming them in smaller amounts or by consuming products made with soy or nut milks. You can also use supplements of the enzyme lactase to help you digest dairy more easily. The ALCAT panel offered by Any Lab Test Now can help you pinpoint whether your digestive distress is caused by lactose intolerance.

Food additives
Food additives can be any substance, natural or man-made, that brings about a certain change to taste, texture or nutritional content. These can include vitamins and minerals, flavorings, colors, preservatives and chemicals that change the acidity or texture of foods. The adverse effects of food additives can be as varied as the additives themselves. Eight additives are responsible for most adverse reactions: sulfites, parabens, nitrates, BHT and benzoates, which are preservatives; monosodium glutamate (MSG) and aspartame, which are flavor enhancers; and tartrazine, a yellow dye. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, some symptoms of adverse reactions can be hives, difficulty breathing, digestive troubles and nausea.

High Saturated Fat
Foods that are high in saturated fat can contribute to high cholesterol and heart disease. High cholesterol is a gradual, chronic condition that makes your heart work a lot harder to pump blood throughout your body, but doesn’t present very many noticeable symptoms at first. But foods with high saturated fat contents can also cause some immediate digestive distress if you’re sensitive to it. Inflammation is a likely result of eating too many foods high in saturated fat, because they irritate your stomach as you digest them. You can experience heartburn, coughing and even shortness of breath after eating these foods. Foods like butter, fatty meat products, lard and full-fat dairy products, and foods made with any of those products, are all foods you might be sensitive to. In addition to the ALCAT panel, which will let you know if these foods irritate your digestive system, the lipid panel or Lipoprotein Particle Profile at Any Lab Test Now can show you your risk of high cholesterol and heart disease.

Wheat
A growing number of people are being diagnosed with wheat sensitivity or celiac disease. Celiac disease is a relatively recent discovery in the field of digestive health, and many who have struggled their whole lives with confusing symptoms are finally getting the answers they’ve sought. According to Beyond Celiac, while about 3 million Americans suffer from celiac disease, it is estimated that six times that amount have some form of gluten sensitivity. Gluten sensitivity involves an immune response a few hours or days after eating gluten and the symptoms can include confusion, joint pain, numbness of the arms, legs or fingers, and headache.

Red Wine
Some people have reactions when they drink alcohol that go beyond the typical symptoms of drunkenness. Experiencing anything from trouble breathing to flushing and headaches, people with a sensitivity to alcohol do not enjoy a night of drinking as much as some others might. The sensitivity could be brought on by the alcohol, or by a specific drink, like red wine. Additionally, the alcohol could simply be triggering a food sensitivity, rather than causing the reaction itself. The only way to know for sure is to get tested!

The holidays are a time for fun, family and of course, lots and lots of food. This holiday season, don’t let your food sensitivities make mealtimes a pain. Visit your local Any Lab Test Now for a lipid panel and ALCAT food panel to find out what foods don’t sit right with your body!

Using Athletic Testing to Monitor Your Progress

Athletic TestingWhether you’re a seasoned athlete or just starting your journey to fitness, you know that the more information you have about your performance, the easier it will be to build your diet and activity to yield maximum results. The superficial information is easy enough to get — it’s obvious when there are changes in your energy levels and appearance. But to know how your lifestyle is impacting your body’s internal systems, you need more thorough testing. At Any Lab Test Now, we have a series of tests that will help you determine where your body is starting from before you begin your fitness regimen, and ongoing testing to help you see what changes are going on under the surface as you train. Here are some ways Any Lab Test Now can help you in your athletic endeavors.

There are myriad tests you should undergo if you are starting a new fitness program, especially if you haven’t exercising regularly and are looking to make a dramatic change. In addition to giving you a full picture of the impact your current lifestyle is having on your body, comprehensive athletic testing can reveal underlying health issues that might make exercising or changing your diet challenging or risky. For example, if you have heart trouble that hasn’t been addressed, strenuous exercise can cause a heart attack. You should also get detailed information on your dietary intake by testing for nutrient deficiencies. This will help you build a targeted and detailed diet plan to meet your body’s needs.

You should continue testing to monitor your progress over time. Exercise and proper diet are known to lead to a reduction in risk factors for cardiovascular problems and metabolic disorders like diabetes, so continued testing should show a decrease in those panels. The micronutrient panel should show improvements, as should the hormone test, indicating that your body’s systems are functioning better. Another reason to continue testing is to help you make course corrections during your training. By helping you catch problems while they’re still relatively minor, these tests can save you time and discomfort, and help you keep your training on track.

This might sound complicated, but at Any Lab Test Now, we make it easy to keep track of what’s going on inside your body. So don’t stay in the dark about your health! If it’s worth going to the trouble of starting a fitness program, it’s worth knowing what would serve you best in your efforts. So find your local Any Lab Test Now to take a peek at your body’s inner workings with athletic testing!