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Is Your Diet Putting You at Risk of Anemia?

Do you feel constant fatigue you can’t explain?
Do you frequently get dizzy or lightheaded?
Do you suffer from chest pains or shortness of breath?


These are all signs that you may have ANEMIA

 

What is Anemia?

Anemia is a condition where the body does not have enough healthy red blood cells to transport oxygen from your lungs to the rest of your body. There are several types of anemia. Some, like sickle cell anemia, are hereditary, but others, specifically iron deficiency anemia, and vitamin deficiency anemia can be caused by an improper diet.  For 20 years, doctors have seen a growing number of iron deficiency anemia cases in America. Iron deficiency anemia, the most common form of the condition, is caused by low levels of iron in the body. Your body needs this iron to produce hemoglobin, the protein that makes up red blood cells.

According to a recent study by the American Society for Nutrition, the rise in iron deficiency anemia coincides with a decrease in the amount of beef people are consuming. Between 1999 and 2018, Americans ate 15.3 percent less beef, an iron-rich protein, and 21.5 percent more chicken, thus not getting all the iron their bodies need.

As the name suggests, if you have vitamin deficiency anemia, your diet is deficient in the vitamins and minerals that your body needs to produce healthy red blood cells. According to the Mayo Clinic, you can develop vitamin deficiency anemia if you don’t eat enough foods containing folate, vitamin B-12, and vitamin C, or if your body has trouble absorbing and processing those nutrients. 

Eating to Treat Anemia

If left untreated, anemia can cause serious health problems, such as having too little oxygen in your body, which can damage your organs. Having a diet consisting of the right foods is the first step to treating a deficiency.

Foods that can help prevent and treat iron deficiency anemia include:

  • Beef and other red meat
  • Dark, leafy greens like spinach
  • Beans
  • Seafood
  • Iron-fortified cereal and pasta

Foods that can help prevent and treat vitamin deficiency anemia include:

  • Fruits and leafy green vegetables
  • Eggs
  • Milk
  • Broccoli
  • Citrus fruits

How Do You Know If You Have Anemia?

Before you change your diet or start taking vitamin supplements, you need to make sure that the problem is anemia and not something else. The signs and symptoms of anemia may be subtle at first, so the best way to know for sure is with a simple blood test. You don’t need to wait for an appointment with your doctor in order to be tested for anemia. Any Lab Test Now offers a complete Anemia Panel for fast and accurate diagnosis. 

We offer one simple blood panel that includes several tests, including a reticulocyte count to determine if your body is producing enough red blood cells. This can help determine not only if you have anemia but also the type of anemia you have. A ferritin test, that will screen your blood for the protein that indicates how much iron you have in your body. Your blood will also be checked for the levels of vitamin B-12, and folic acid to determine if you have vitamin deficiency anemia. 

 Where to Get Tested

Any Lab Test Now has 190+ locations nationwide, dedicated to providing you with the information about your body designed to help you Take Control of Your Health®.
You can schedule an appointment online or by phone, or walk-in for same-day testing. Each location is sanitized several times a day, in accordance with CDC protocols so you can be confident your lab work is being done in a safe, clean facility. 

Any Lab Test Now is a committed partner in helping you manage your family’s healthcare. Click here to find an Any Lab Test Now location near you.

Is Your Iron Low?

Why It Can Be a Heavy Load to Carry

Iron. Depending on the person, it may conjure up a variety of images. Maybe you think of a structural material. Others may think of the dreaded household task of getting wrinkles out of clothes. But for more than three million people in the United States, a lack of iron in the blood is a major issue.

Iron is a mineral that helps our bodies function properly. It is part of our hemoglobin, a protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen from our lungs to the rest of our bodies. Iron also helps our muscles store and use oxygen.

If your body doesn’t have enough iron, it can’t make enough of the oxygen-carrying red blood cells. When the body doesn’t get enough oxygen, fatigue results. This is one of the most common signs of iron deficiency, which is a leading cause of anemia. Anemia is a condition defined by a reduced amount of healthy oxygen carrying red blood cells.

Other Symptoms of Iron Deficiency

Shortness of Breath

Because it is hard for your body to get oxygen, it makes sense that low iron would cause shortness of breath, especially when exercising.

Pale Skin

Hemoglobin in the blood gives it that red color, which also puts a rosiness in some skin tones. When the hemoglobin is low, the red blood cells shrink and become smaller, taking away the healthy color or warmth in the skin. If you have a darker skin tone, pull down your lower eyelid. If it is a pale pink or yellow color, this may be a sign of anemia.

Chest Pain and/or Heart Palpitations

Because a loss of iron affects your red blood cell count, a shortage could cause your heart to work harder to deliver oxygen throughout the body — and cause you to develop heart palpitations, murmurs, or an enlarged heart. People could suffer a heart attack or stroke if they develop iron deficiency.

Dizziness

Again, because anemia prevents oxygen from getting to all the parts of your body as necessary, dizziness is your body telling you to relax and lie down to allow more oxygen to get to your brain.

Cold Extremities

Cold hands and feet are another sign of iron deficiency since your body is not sending as many red blood cells into those areas.

Swelling of the Tongue

Iron deficiency can also show up on your tongue and inside your mouth. Signs include painful swelling of the tongue, dry mouth, mouth ulcers, and painful cracks in the corners of your lips.

Brittle Nails

Anemia can also cause your nails to chip and crack easily. People with prolonged iron deficiency may develop koilonychia, which are spoon-shaped nails where the edges of the nail are raised and the middle of the nail dips down, forming the appearance of a spoon.

Who is at Risk?

Iron deficiency is very common, especially among women. In fact, almost 10 percent of women are iron deficient. Here are some groups at the highest risk for anemia:

  • New moms and women who are breastfeeding
  • Women who experience heavy menstrual periods
  • People who suffer from celiac disease, ulcerative colitis, or Crohn’s disease
  • People who have undergone weight loss surgery, such as bariatric or gastric bypass
  • Vegetarians and vegans whose diets do not include iron-rich foods
  • People who have undergone major surgery

Testing and Treatment

Any Lab Test Now® offers a comprehensive Anemia Panel to determine if you are iron deficient. You do not need to fast for this test, and you don’t need insurance or even an appointment to take advantage of Any Lab Test Now’s affordable lab testing. Test results generally take between 24 to 72 business hours, and customers can choose to have test results mailed, faxed, or pick them up at the testing location.

Once you get the results, you can work with your regular doctor to figure out the best course of treatment, which could include simple changes to your diet or supplements. In certain cases, an infusion of iron might be necessary.

Be at Ease

At Any Lab Test Now, we understand that people may have concerns about going to a healthcare facility during the coronavirus outbreak. You can be at ease knowing that we are providing you a safe and clean location for your lab work. Each of our 190+ stores are sanitized several times a day, in accordance with the CDC’s protocols. When you get your test results, you can easily make a telemedicine appointment with your physician and share the details. Any Lab Test Now is a committed partner in helping you to make educated healthcare decisions that can benefit your quality of life.

Find your closest Any Lab Test Now store at www.anylabtestnow.com.

Tired of feeling tired all the time?

It’s easy to feel tired all the time in today’s world. With the stress that comes from trying to balance work and family as well as the disruptive influences of technology on our sleep environments, feeling tired all of the time may seem like part of the human condition. But if you are one of the millions of Americans who complain about exhaustion, the problem might not be your lifestyle — it might be your blood.

Understanding Iron Deficiency

Iron deficiency isn’t hard to understand. You are considered iron deficient if you aren’t getting enough of the mineral iron in your diet. Any Lab Test Now can help you find out this critical information. It’s important to know because if you aren’t getting enough iron, then a chain reaction starts:

  1. Lack of iron means fewer red blood cells.
  2. Fewer red blood cells mean less hemoglobin.
  3. Less hemoglobin means less oxygen in your body.
  4. Less oxygen means your body isn’t working properly.

If you’ve reached this point, you might have iron-deficiency anemia.

What is Iron Deficiency Anemia?

It’s estimated that as many as 3 million people in the United States suffer from anemia. That “feeling tired all the time” that we talked about at the start? That’s the most common symptom, but there are a host of others including headaches, shortness of breath, dizziness, rapid heartbeat or palpitations, and even paleness. The National Institutes of Health special Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute even says to watch for brittle nails, swollen or sore tongue, or strange cravings for nonfood items like dirt or paint! Even Restless Leg Syndrome may be linked to iron deficiency. The degree of your deficiency determines just how severe your symptoms are, so if you have a mild case you might not even notice!

A Warning About Self-Diagnosis

So what can you do? Well, self-diagnosis is not recommended because taking iron supplements when they aren’t necessary can cause some unpleasant side effects of their own. Your local Any Lab Test Now can help you get a proper diagnosis and get you on the track to better health with the Anemia Panel.

The First Step to Feeling Better

The Anemia Panel is a comprehensive panel that includes a CBC, Ferritin, Folates, Total Iron Binding Capacity with Iron, Reticulocyte Count, Vitamin B12, and Folic Acid. That’s a lot of test but it will provide you with a lot of important information. The CBC (Complete Blood Count) looks at important parameters of your blood including hemoglobin level, white blood cells, red blood cells and platelets. The Ferritin, Iron and Total Iron Binding Capacity tests all work together to indicate if you have an iron deficiency. The Reticulocyte Count can help determine if you are producing enough red blood cells, which in turn will help determine the cause of your anemia. The Vitamin B12 and Folic Acid levels will show if there is a deficiency there.

Any Lab Test Now; the First Step to Feeling Better

A lot of different factors come in to play when you start talking about complications surrounding your anemia caused by iron deficiency. They can be simple quality of life issues, like the constant fatigue in mild cases. They can be more serious, like unchecked internal bleeding if your iron deficiency anemia is caused by some underlying unknown condition. That’s why it’s important to pinpoint the problem…then get to the root cause. Any Lab Test Now can be your first step in that process. The information our test provides will put you and your doctor on the right track to helping you feel better.

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.