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.

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!

Understanding the Causes of Anemia and How it Affects Those Who Have It

Anemia Photo

Everyone feels run-down at times. Sometimes, this is simply a matter of getting too little sleep, having the sniffles or battling too much stress. When you can’t identify a reason for your fatigue, however, there could be an underlying cause for it. One such cause is anemia.

Anemia is a fairly common condition, affecting approximately 3 million Americans each year. There are several types of anemia, but the common thread among them is that either the body’s red blood cell count is lower than normal or the hemoglobin level within the cells is lower than normal. Hemoglobin is responsible for transporting oxygen through the blood to the body’s tissues. If there aren’t enough blood cells containing hemoglobin, or hemoglobin levels are too low, oxygen is not being transported throughout the body efficiently.

When our bodies aren’t getting enough oxygen, we become fatigued. Certainly, this means that the body may feel weak and tired, but it can also mean that you experience:

  • Headaches and dizziness
  • Chest pains
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Shortness of breath
  • Pale skin
  • Cold hands and feet
  • Cognitive problems

When you first begin to suffer from anemia, the symptoms may not be severe; if left untreated, the lack of oxygen will cause the symptoms to worsen over time.

Each of the different types of anemia has a different cause. Some types are caused by low iron levels or vitamin deficiencies. Others, like sickle cell anemia, are inherited and are the result of misshapen blood cells. Still others stem from chronic diseases or diseases of the bone marrow, a tissue in the body that creates red blood cells.

The only definitive way to know if you have anemia is to have a blood test. Tests like the anemia panel can evaluate the components of your blood and related vitamin levels to determine if they are within normal ranges. Also, the sickle cell screen can determine if you are at risk for the inherited form of anemia.

Until such a test is performed and the type of anemia is established, treatment can’t be provided. Because each form of anemia has a different cause, each needs to be addressed differently. Treatments range from simple solutions, like getting more vitamins in your diet, to more complex medical procedures, like blood transfusions.

If you’ve been feeling fatigued or have been experiencing any of the other symptoms associated with anemia, come in to Any Lab Test Now to request your blood test and start learning how to regain your lost energy.

Eating Your Way Through The Holidays? You Might Want to Check Your Sugar Levels First

‘Tis the season — the season of eating, that is! We all get excited about our favorite foods when the holidays come around. There’s just something special about sharing a meal with family and friends, often with beloved family recipes that have been passed down through the generations. And there’s nothing wrong with enjoying a special meal with loved ones. The problem comes when these meals are high in unhealthy fats, added sugars and other not-so-good-for-you ingredients. Not to mention the fact that the spirit of the season has come to include a tradition of rampant over-indulgence in our favorite holiday treats. (Seconds, anyone?  Leftovers tomorrow?) This time of year is especially difficult if you have diabetes or prediabetes. You may want to reach for that pumpkin pie, but it is imperative to your health that you keep your sugar levels under control. So how can you enjoy the season and all the delicious foods it has to offer while keeping your health in check? Knowing your sugar levels ahead of time will help you decide what is safe to eat and what you should avoid.

Why should you check your sugar levels?

If you have diabetes or prediabetes, you know how important it is to keep your sugar levels down. Insulin is a hormone that helps get glucose (sugar) to your cells to use as energy. With diabetes, your body does not make or use insulin well. Without insulin, the glucose remains in your blood, raising your blood glucose (blood sugar) levels. Having high blood sugar can cause a number of serious problems to your health including, damage to your eyes, kidneys and nerves as well as heart disease, stroke and even the need for amputation.

One of the best ways to keep your blood sugar levels in check is to stick to a diabetes-friendly diet that limits foods high in sugar, fat, salt and carbohydrates. Everyone’s body is different, and it’s best to consult with a dietician to find a meal plan that’s right for you. But before you can know what you can and can’t eat, you need to know your blood sugar levels. This will give you an idea of how well you are managing your diabetes or if you are in danger of becoming diabetic.

The best way to know your sugar levels? Get tested!

If you are unsure of your blood sugar levels and you are concerned about your health, it is best to get tested before that big holiday dinner. When you are aware of your health, you can be proactive about preventing any serious problems. Would you rather have that second helping of sweet potato casserole or keep your left foot? It may sound extreme, but this is the situation you could be facing if you don’t keep your sugar levels under control as a diabetic or prediabetic. But if you want to take control of your health, you’re in luck! Any Lab Test Now has several testing options to help you monitor your blood sugar levels quickly and easily, no appointment necessary!

The Hemoglobin A1c Test is a valuable measure of the overall blood glucose levels over a period of time (two?three months). This test can be used to help detect prediabetes and diagnose diabetes. If you’re diabetic, this test can help determine if your disease is under control.

The Glucose (Serum) Test, also known as the Fasting Blood Glucose Test, is the most common test used to diagnose hyperglycemia (higher than normal levels of blood sugar), hypoglycemia (lower than normal levels of blood sugar) and diabetes. Diabetics self conduct this test multiple times a day to monitor their blood glucose, which is conducted as a finger stick and measured with a home glucometer. This test will determine if your blood glucose level is within a healthy range. It will also screen for, diagnose and monitor prediabetes, diabetes, hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia.

The Diabetes Maintenance Panel is an effective panel for both diabetics and for those who want to see if they have diabetes. This panel includes four tests: The Complete Blood Count (CBC), the Fasting Glucose, the Hemoglobin A1c and the Diabetic Urinalysis. The information gained from the four tests in this panel will give you and your physician the necessary information to help monitor and/or adjust your diabetic medications.
Talk to our experts at Any Lab Test Now to find out which test is right for you! The sooner you know your blood sugar levels, the sooner you can take control of your health this holiday season.

How Can You Prolong Your Life? Know Your Blood

It’s simple. Each of us desire to live long, happy lives. The question is how can we guarantee it? Although the answer’s not simple, it does not require us to spend endless hours searching for the fountain of youth. Rather, take one blood testTake a few.

Did you know that your blood contains secrets about your health that could potentially add years to your life? Even better, maybe even save your life? Picture your blood being a strand of clues. With just one drop of your blood under a microscope, your physician (a.k.a. the detective) can use those clues to pinpoint the exact steps you can take into prolonging your life.

For example, a rise in your blood sugar could signify potential diabetes, increased risk of heart disease and stroke. A drop in your blood levels could indicate future hyperthyroidism. These are all examples of “silent warning signals” that are hidden in your blood. The advantage you have is clear. Be proactive. Get to know your blood. The sooner you can understand what your blood represents, the sooner you and your physician can develop a strategic, preventive health plan to prevent your future diagnosis from becoming a reality.

Life Extension Magazine reported 10 important blood tests that adults over 40 should get annually in order to get a true gage on what their lifespan currently looks like and what measures could be taken to extend it.  Below is a list of those exact tests.

1. Chemistry Panel & Complete Blood Count

2. Fibrinogen

3. Hemoglobin A1C

4. DHEA

5. Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) (Men Only)

6. Homocysteine

7. C-Reactive Protein

8. Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH)

9. Testosterone (Free)

10. Estradiol

Take charge of your current and future health in the most simplest way.  Any Lab Test Now offers an array of blood tests including the ones listed above.  Schedule an appointment with us today and let us begin to help you live the long and healthy life you desire.

Reference: http://www.lef.org/magazine/mag2006/may2006_report_blood_01.htm

Raising Awareness for Health Centers During Health Center Week

Have you ever noticed that when you get sick you always feel the need to find out what’s wrong? Who wants to go another day with a tummy ache, a sore throat or the dreaded sinus headache and congestion? Believe it or not that’s one of the many benefits provided by health centers. You might start asking yourself… “But I don’t have insurance, so how can I get service?” The good news is you have options at your disposal that will empower you to Take Control of Your Health® whether you have high deductible insurance, a Health Savings Account or Flexible Spending Account, or if you are uninsured.

A great example of available options is ANY LAB TEST NOW®. Though ANY LAB TEST NOW® does not treat or diagnose, it does empower its customers to be proactive about managing their health by providing direct access to blood tests, DNA tests, drug and alcohol testing as well as other lab testing services.  After you get your lab test results, you can quickly call a physician with our AmeriDoc telemedicine services program.  The doctor is just a phone call a way, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and can treat many non-emergent care issues by phone, video call, or chat.

According the National Association of Community Health Centers, there are around 44 million people in the U.S. that are currently uninsured with another 56 million with high deductible insurance. This often makes health take a back seat to cost, which stresses the importance of price transparency. Can you take more good news? ANY LAB TEST NOW®’s affordable, transparent prices fit into a person’s healthcare budget, providing a solution that continues to support overall health and wellness. Don’t let your health take a back seat, without it we are nothing.

During the week of August 11 – 17 the nation celebrates Health Center Week. Why not take the time during this week to stop by a health center near you, check in on your health and thank them for helping to empower you and your loved ones to Take Control of Your Health®?

To learn more about ANY LAB TEST NOW®’s lab testing options stop by an ANY LAB TEST NOW® near you or 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.

Diabetes & the Holidays

It has been reported that diabetes affects 25.8 million people in the US alone. Out of these, 18.8 million people are diagnosed and 7 million go on undiagnosed.  As diabetes awareness month comes to a close and the holiday season kicks off, living with diabetes can be a little tougher than usual. With such a high number of people with diabetes everything that comes with the holiday season besides family time can become a form of temptation for a diabetic.

During the holidays we love going for round 2 of that amazing turkey with the stuffing and all the goodies around the table. We also love to indulge in that glass of wine for the holiday toast.  Sometimes there are multiple toasts, and some stay true to the saying ‘it’s rude if you don’t drink after a toast!’. When you have diabetes, indulging in these events can cause serious consequences to your health.  So what are you to do this holiday season with all these temptations all around you?

In terms of indulging in that glass of wine or champagne for your New Year’s toast, studies have shown that it is okay if you indulge in that one glass for your toast. However, more than one can seriously increase your blood sugar levels lasting up to 24 hours. As for your trip to the delicious goodies table, there are two myths attached to the diabetes diet. The first myth is that you have to give up your favorite holiday foods. Studies have shown that if you simply modify the way in which the meal is prepared and reduce the serving size, your diabetes will not get out of control. Nevertheless, Round 2 of those mouth-watering pies, cakes, frosting-covered cookies and figgy pudding is not advisable. The second myth is that you absolutely have to give up desserts, again not true! Portion control and choosing healthier desserts such as fresh fruit and yogurt can help you give in to your sweet tooth without affecting your blood sugar levels.

Living with diabetes is all about monitoring your levels. ANY LAB TEST NOW® can be the monitoring partner you need. Our Diabetes Maintenance Panel will help you and your physician monitor your glucose levels and/or adjust your diabetic medications accordingly. This holiday season Take Control of Your Health® and visit an ANY LAB TEST NOW® near you.

Can We Stop the Obesity Epidemic and Halt Diabetes?

You probably know someone with diabetes or with prediabetes, also known as metabolic syndrome.  Maybe it’s your mother or father or, as we get older, your best friend or brother.  The rise in type 2 diabetes which is largely preventable is astronomical.  According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the number of new cases rose to nearly 26 million last year from 23.6 million in 2008!  Diabetes is a major cause of heart disease and stroke, a leading cause of kidney failure and blindness, and is the 7th leading cause of death in the United States.  The total cost of diabetes, both diagnosed and undiagnosed was $218 billion in 2007 and continues to grow.

The American Diabetes Association (ADA) states that being obese or overweight is a leading cause of the disease.  Studies have shown that people with prediabetes who lost weight and increased their physical activity can prevent or delay type 2 diabetes and in some cases return their blood glucose levels to normal.  During the ADA’s Diabetes Prevention Program study, losing weight and increasing physical activity reduced the development of type 2 diabetes by 58%.  The number was even greater among adults 60 and older at 71%.  Although there is a medication that can reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, research shows that lifestyle changes are more cost-effective than medications.

In an attempt to control the obesity and overweight epidemic, the Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have updated their Nutritional Guidelines for Americans.  For the first time, in addition to suggesting what we need to be eating, the guidelines also recommend what not to eat and to balance food intake with activity levels.  For many Americans, this balancing act doesn’t come easy!  34% of adult Americans are obese and 68% are overweight.  Our inability to control our voracious appetites is costing us, both with more disease and higher medical costs.

With millions of people heading towards a lifetime of medication, greater risks for stroke and heart disease, kidney problems, potential limb amputations or blindness, what can we do to halt this progression?  It’s time for us to be more proactive with our health, and specifically with our weight.  It’s easy to say, “Eat less”, but how do you get started?  Establishing a habit of eating better has been shown to be the best, most long-lasting course of action.  Choosing a lifestyle change in diet that transfers easily to long term habits is an excellent place to start.  Adding physical activity into your life is another critical piece of the prevention puzzle.  Start by walking a bit further each day.  Do you walk your dog for a quick 10 minutes?  Make it 15.

The only person who can take the first step is you .  ANY LAB TEST NOW® offers tests that look at diabetes indicators.  Are you already at risk for diabetes?  Changing your attitude toward your daily choices will save you money, prevent long term disabilities and serious health problems.  Is that extra piece of cake really worth it?  Do something different today, contact ANY LAB TEST NOW® to see how we can help.

Written by www.anylabtestblog.com

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