Encouraging the GLBT Community to Take Control of Their Health®!

We all know everyone is amazing in his or her own way; we’re all one of a kind. But what happens when we get caught up in the day-to-day and forget to pay attention to our health? Surprises happen and not always the good kind especially when there are increased risk factors for various health concerns.

Health risks affect everyone. For example, it has been statistically proven that African-Americans are at higher risk of Heart Disease and Latinos are a higher risk of developing Diabetes. In the GLBT Community, the risks and concerns aren’t as easily determined. Each individual has their own experiences and factors that determine their particular health risks. These factors may include race, age, geographical location, socioeconomic status, and lifestyle amongst others.

Understanding what health concerns you are at risk for can help you take the right steps towards leading a healthier lifestyle to reduce those risks. So how do you start? Lab testing can help you identify your current health condition.  At that point the key is really in PREVENTION. You can develop a plan to get healthy and ensure that you are staying that way. This includes getting tested for STD’s. According to the CDC, the GLBT community accounted for nearly half of the 1.1 million people currently living with HIV in the country and 61% of those reporting new infections each year as well as 63% of the syphilis and gonorrhea cases in the country.

When you combine factors such as the statistics and society’s pressure, it can be scary. There are concerns based on your particular risk factors, the concerns of not becoming part of a statistic and last but not least, the fear of being judged.  You need to find out more about your health in an environment that supports you and cares about your well-being.

ANY LAB TEST NOW® helps you Take Control of Your Health® with discreet, confidential and anonymous STD screens as well as a variety of Wellness testing that will get you on your way to a healthier, worry-free lifestyle. What better time to start Taking Control of Your Health® than during STD Awareness Month? Come in this month and get tested! Remember that Symptom Free Doesn’t Mean Disease Free. For more information on our confidential, anonymous STD screens and available Wellness testing visit your local ANY LAB TEST NOW®.

Celebrating National Nutrition Month

Are you known in your social circle as the ‘foodie’ of the group? Who doesn’t enjoy celebrating food, right? Well all throughout the month of March you get a chance to celebrate your passion for food during National Nutrition Month and share your ‘foodie’ experience with your friends. However before you can share your love of food with your family and friends it is important that you know how to make nutritious food choices and that you incorporate them with good physical activity habits.

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has given this year’s celebration the theme of “Eat Right, Your Way, Every Day”, encouraging individuals to personalize their eating habits towards a healthier path and help them to identify the factors that ultimately influence their food choices. Our food choices are influenced by the events in our everyday life, busy lifestyles, cultural traditions and most importantly our health concerns. Health concerns, depending on the condition, should be a main factor in how we personalize our eating plans.

So perhaps your food choices aren’t always the most nutritious. That can be okay, as long as you balance your overall daily intake and combine it with an active lifestyle. Nutrition boils down to learning about how our bodies work and how to create an eating plan that is tailored to our lifestyle, health needs and of course our tastes. In addition knowing how our bodies will react to the meals we enjoy is key to creating a balanced healthy eating plan. Let’s say that during one of your ‘foodie’ adventures you came across a meal that your body just did not agree with. That disagreement could have been caused by a number of things. It could be that your body is intolerant or sensitive, or perhaps you are allergic to one or more of the ingredients in that meal.  Even if you are eating healthy, it is still possible that your body is deficient in specific vitamins and minerals.

There is no better time to Take Control of Your Health®. ANY LAB TEST NOW® offers a variety of tests that can help you learn more about your body’s current state and help you reach nutritional wellness. In order to do that, it is important to learn about the different food ingredients your body might be sensitive, intolerant or allergic to. Understanding how your body reacts to food through lab testing can help you truly create a tailored healthy meal plan that works just for you. It is also good to know what vitamins and minerals you might be missing.  Use National Nutrition Month to celebrate food in a healthy way and share with your friends and family all you have learned. Why not prepare a feast with the healthy foods you love for them and plan a fun, physical activity for everyone after the meal?

Remember you are what you eat, and ANY LAB TEST NOW® is here to help you Take Control of Your Health®.  To learn more about our nutrition-based lab tests including nutrient testing, food sensitivity, intolerance or allergies visit www.anylabtestnow.com.

Getting in the Spirit of National Collegiate Health and Wellness Week

Going to college is a great experience. It is the time when you finally get to study the subjects you are really interested in and when you begin to work towards your future career. You are the one and only responsible for what comes next for Y-O-U, including meeting deadlines, paying bills on time and of course taking care of your health.  Welcome to adulthood!

Now let’s talk about the process to get into college. Yes grades, tests scores and a comprehensive entry essay are a given; but the other side of this process believe it or not comes down to your health. Are your immunizations up to date? Have you been tested for venereal diseases? Some institutions may also require you to take a drug test. All these elements combined and perhaps an interview will determine whether you get in or not.

Next… Congratulations you got accepted! Now the grind begins, you are on a roll and burning the midnight oil has become part of your daily routine. You figured “why not I’m young I’ll catch up on Z’s once I graduate!” Ask yourself do these activities affect my overall health and wellness? The answer to that question is YES! Let’s be honest that midnight oil being burned is not just due to studying and once you graduate the time to catch up on Z’s decreases. It has been reported that some of the main health concerns on campuses across the country include lack of sleep, infectious diseases, alcohol abuse and lack of exercise.

The time to Take Control of Your Health® is now! You might ask yourself, but “how do I do that?” Perhaps doing the good old buddy system could work.  ANY LAB TEST NOW® can be that buddy you need to help you stay on top of things and make sure you’re healthy. We have the tests that you don’t have to study for including titer testing, STD testing and overall wellness checkups. Plus, we have B-12 shots that can help you boost that energy after those all-nighters.  Get in the spirit of National Collegiate Health and Wellness Week, increase your awareness about the importance of staying healthy, fit and get educated on how to do it.  Visit www.anylabtestnow.com to find additional information on how to Take Control of Your Health® and visit a location near you.

What’s Up With That?? What’s Good For Me Can Also Be Bad For Me?

There’s a reason why your momma always told you to “drink your milk” when you were a child.  You’ve seen the milk commercials – it builds strong bones.  Then, when you started becoming the sunbathing god or goddess on the beach, your mother’s mantra changed to “wear your sunblock”.  Both good for you, right?

Well, yes and no!  Who would have thought that sunblock would also inhibit our body’s ability to produce Vitamin D?  The good news is if you use sunblock, you are protecting yourself from the negatives associated with sun exposure – skin cancer, wrinkly skin, unwanted aging and sunburn.  The question is, is your body getting enough exposure to produce a sufficient amount of Vitamin D?

It sounds silly to get a Vitamin D test in the summer when you’ve got a great tan going on; however, it may be the smartest thing to do to ensure you are not deficient if you are taking care of your skin through sunblock protection.  Who wants Vitamin D deficiency when you are older?  Now we have to deal with osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, hypertension – whew!  The list goes on.

Lucky for us, if we just get tested periodically, we will know if we have a deficiency, then can take care of it in a number of ways, from combining a Vitamin D rich diet with supplements, or seeking guidance from our physician or nutritionist.  So, I’m not going to end this with “break a leg” (caused from Vitamin D deficiency); take control of your health, even in the summer.

The “Sunshine” Vitamin Could Save Your Life: Are You Getting Enough?

You wear sunscreen, right?  So you’re protected from skin cancer, great!  But what about the vitamin D that is also blocked with that SPF 100 Sunscreen?  You may not think it matters, but vitamin D, also known as the “Sunshine Vitamin”, is critical to the body’s immune function, strong bones to prevent osteoporosis, and it may even help you lose weight!  If you’re not taking a vitamin supplement, or specifically a vitamin D supplement, you could be putting yourself at risk for many serious health conditions.  Just one example is a broken hip, which in an elderly person, can severely limit their independence.  The problem with getting enough vitamin D is that it is very hard to do with diet alone even if you are trying to eat right.  And you may not be able to tell if you’re not getting enough.  A simple blood test to measure the levels of vitamins and minerals in your system, the MicroNutrient test, includes the test for vitamin D and is a good place to start.

Most people are aware that calcium is necessary for bone strength, but calcium needs vitamin D for the body to properly process it.  The kidneys convert vitamin D in its active form which controls calcium and phosphate levels in the body.  A lack of vitamin D has long been associated with rickets, a very serious disease in which bone tissue doesn’t properly mineralize, leading to soft bones and skeletal deformities.  Recent research has shown that low levels of vitamin D, less than 30 nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL), has been associated with cognitive impairment in older adults, increased risk of death from cardiovascular disease, severe asthma in children, and cancer.

Beyond too little sunshine, there are many reasons that you could be deficient in this critical vitamin.  Those with dark skin, those who are obese, those with kidney problems which would prevent the conversion of vitamin D to the active form, those who have had gastric bypass surgery which may prevent your intestines from absorbing the vitamin or those who follow a strict vegetarian diet should get their vitamin D levels checked to determine if supplements are appropriate.  Although vitamin D is available in some foods, most of them animal based, such as fish and fish oils, egg yolks, cheese and beef liver, it is very difficult to get enough through these foods.

Although the link between vitamin D and weight loss isn’t clear, a study funded by The National Institutes of Health, the University of Minnesota, and the Pennock Family Endowment at the University of Minnesota found that women who had low levels of vitamin D and increased their intake before starting a low calorie diet lost more weight than those who did not increase their vitamin D.    Higher levels of vitamin D (both the precursor and the active form) predicted greater loss of abdominal fat.  Of course, the flip side of this is that starting on a diet but not getting enough vitamin D could inhibit or imped your ability to lose weight.  If you’re going to go to the trouble of going on a diet, why bother if it’s not going to show a big weight loss payoff?

The best test for evaluating vitamin D levels in the blood, the 25-hydroxy vitamin D test, is offered at ANY LAB TEST NOW® locations and is quick and simple.  Because a deficiency in vitamin D is usually not noticeable or has very subtle symptoms, a test may be the only notification you get.  Guidelines from the Institute of Medicine call for raising the recommended dietary allowance from 600 IU (International Units) to 700 IU for those over 70 to optimize bone health.  If you have any risk factors or minimize your exposure to the sun, you should consider getting tested and talk with your doctor about supplementing your diet with vitamin D.   Your body, your bone, your mind and your belly may all thank you.

Vitamin D Deficiency Addressed Again

vitamin D pillsThere has been an annoyingly large amount of back and forth over whether we should be taking large amounts of vitamin D to compensate for unrecognized deficiencies of the critical mineral.  First, most of us weren’t getting enough, then we were so, don’t worry and don’t take too much.  A new study has recommended screenings, specifically of the serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels, not the active levels, for specific groups that are at risk of severe vitamin D deficiencies.  These groups include the obese, those with malabsorption issues, african americans and pregnant/lactating women.

The study, conducted at the Boston University School of Medicine, includes new guidelines for screenings for levels of vitamin D that should be that should be present in the blood.  Generally a level of 30 ng/mL has been considered acceptable, but the recommendation is that clinicians should aim for a target level of between 40-60 ng/mL.  Many feel that the guidelines of 400 IU daily of vitamin for children and young adults and 600 IU for adults through the age of 70 is conservative because so many people are deficient and don’t realize it.  Regardless of the current guidelines, getting tested to check your level and making sure you are getting the minimum couldn’t hurt.  Obviously, the medical community is still battling this one out and we still don’t have a clear answer.  Until they figure it out, don’t sit around and assume you’re OK.  You’re the one who cares the most about your health so it’s up to you to be sure you’re getting the nutrients you need.