How a walk in the park can turn into a trip to the doctor

After a long winter, it’s hard to stay inside when you begin to see those first signs of spring. Temperatures are warmer, flowers are blooming, even animals are frolicking. The experts at Any Lab Test Now understand the desire to shake off winter’s coat and let the warm breezes and sunshine bathe you in bliss, but you need to proceed with caution. There’s a spreading danger out there that you will likely never see coming. It’s as small as a pinhead and can pack a punch that can turn your world upside down. We’re talking about ticks and a nasty disease that some of them can carry — Lyme disease.

The Spread of Lyme Disease

Lyme disease is a bacterial infection spread by the bite of ticks. It causes more than 300,000 illnesses each year in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The risk of infection is greatest in late spring and summer. Of course, that’s the time we are all most likely to want to get outside and enjoy the great outdoors, but unfortunately, it also coincides with a very dangerous point in the life cycle of the tick.

Search for a Spring Snack

It turns out that most people are infected through the bites of immature ticks, called nymphs. Experts at the CDC believe that ticks become infected when they are still just considered larvae, but once they become infected, they stay infected for the rest of their two-year lifespan. When the larvae become nymphs, they begin furiously seeking blood meals to fuel their growth. That’s usually in the spring and summer months, just in time for you to enjoy a family hike or camping trip. Don’t think you are in the free and clear in the fall either. Adult ticks can also transmit Lyme disease, and they are most active during the fall. They are much larger than nymphs though, and more likely to be spotted and removed before attaching to your skin.

You don’t have to be a prisoner in your own home. The experts at Any Lab Test Now have some tips that you can follow to help you take control of your health AND help you enjoy the great outdoors.

Use insect repellant and perform daily tick checks. Look everywhere! Nymphs are tiny and can easily be mistaken for a speck of dirt. Have someone check your scalp, the back of your neck, and all the places you can’t see. If you spot a tick, remove it immediately with a pair of tweezers. The CDC says ticks are usually attached for a day before they release the bacteria that causes Lyme disease.

Recognize the early symptoms of Lyme disease. Early diagnosis and treatment can help you avoid complications that can appear later if the disease is not treated. Here’s what to look for:

  • Bull’s-eye rash
  • Fatigue
  • Chills and fever
  • Headache
  • Muscle and joint pain
  • Swollen lymph nodes

Does this sound familiar? Sounds a lot like the flu, and it can often be mistaken for that. If you’ve been bitten by a tick or develop the rash, it might not be the flu.

Recognize late symptoms of Lyme disease. If left untreated, the problems associated with the disease will worsen. Often patients experience bouts of arthritis, especially in the knees. There can sometimes be nerve paralysis and even meningitis. Many patients report suffering from “brain fog.” Others have reported heart arrhythmias and eye inflammations.

Take Control; Get Tested

Any Lab Test Now offers a simple blood test that will help detect and measure antibodies that the body produces in an attempt to fight the disease. The presence of antibodies cannot always determine if the Lyme disease infection is recent or due to a tick bite in the past, but it can put you and your doctor on the right path to helping you feel better. A special note: If your results are negative, but your symptoms are still present, it’s a good idea to perform a repeat test. It can take up to two months for antibodies to develop.

After getting your results at your local Any Lab Test Now, you should see your doctor. The good news is that Lyme disease can easily be treated with antibiotics.

Your Body’s Response to Stress

Shot of a young woman suffering from stress while using a computer at her work desk

Remember being a child? You’d stub your toe or bring home a bad grade on your report card, and it would feel like the end of the world – for about five minutes. Then, you’d race out the door to giggle with friends or fly on the swings or shoot hoops at the playground.

Back then, there were stressful moments, but more often than not, they were short-lived. Now that you are a grownup, however, you may find it more difficult to let go of stress. Stress may be staying with you, day after day and week after week. After all, many people struggle to simply balance day-to-day responsibilities. Then, if something more severe happens, such as becoming a long-term care giver or losing a job, it becomes nearly impossible to remove stress from your life.

Your Body and Stress

The feelings you have during short-term stress are healthy, natural physical responses. When your body encounters a stressful situation, it releases a steroid hormone called cortisol. This hormone triggers the “fight or flight” response that puts your body on high alert so that you can more effectively cope with the perceived threat. When this happens, you may feel your heart racing, tummy tighten, breath quicken or even a sudden burst of energy.

You feel these things because cortisol is telling your primary systems, like your breathing and circulatory systems, to accelerate. At the same time, it tells your secondary systems, like your reproductive and immune systems, to slow down, allowing all of your energy to shift towards coping with the threat.

Once the threat has passed, your cortisol levels should slowly subside and your systems should return to normal functioning.

Too Much Stress; Too Much Cortisol

But, what happens when the stressful situation(s) never ends? What happens when your body has so much cortisol coursing through it that it remains on high alert for long periods of time?

When that happens, your systems never reset themselves. Your body may over-tax your primary systems or not restore your secondary systems to normal functioning, leading to issues like:

  • High blood pressure
  • Digestive issues
  • Weight gain
  • Depression or anxiety
  • Decreased libido
  • Reduced energy
  • Reduced immunity
  • Muscle weakness

If you’re feeling any of these symptoms for unexplained reasons, it could be that you’ve been battling stress for too long and your cortisol levels aren’t dropping as they should. Cortisol saliva tests or cortisol blood tests can both be used to quickly evaluate your cortisol levels so that you can find out if they are at an unhealthy level.

Coping with Stress

If you find that your cortisol levels are too high, it’s important to take steps to reduce your stress and begin restoring your body to its natural functioning. Of course, talking with your doctor will provide options that fit your health status and lifestyle, but these may include:

  • Exercising
  • Learning to slow down (Think yoga, meditation, massage)
  • Keeping a gratitude journal
  • Evaluating your priorities and taking steps to remove non-necessary commitments
  • Employing self-care practices
  • Embracing your creative side

Having some stress in your life is natural, but if you start to question the impact that stress is having on your overall health and well-being, it’s time to take back control. Walk in to your local Any Lab Test Now location to get the answers you need about your cortisol level. Once you know, you’ll have one less thing to stress over!

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.

Remain at the Top of Your Game – Athletic Testing is Here for You!

With back-to-school announcements approaching quickly, so is the kickoff to the fall athletic season. Sports teams will begin tryouts, mandatory practices and, soon enough, be in full swing for the season. We know that, as a parent, you want your child to remain competitive and healthy while playing the sport they love. Yet there’s always a chance that a young athlete’s immune system and overall performance may fall vulnerable to numerous internal and external factors. Fortunately, Any Lab Test Now offers a timely and convenient method of obtaining the lab tests you need to help take control of your child’s health.

Benefits of Athletic Testing Services

All student athletes are required to have an updated physical on file prior to competing. In addition to a basic physical, you may want more in-depth knowledge on your child’s health so that they can continue to perform at their peak. Any Lab Test Now offers a wide range of lab tests with results typically available in 72 hours or less. No appointment or insurance is necessary for the tests. Not to mention, lab tests are still the most cost-effective approach to uncovering and preventing disease.

After testing, your athlete will receive the information they need, within a prompt time frame, to report back to their primary physician. Whether your soccer star has been struggling to catch his breath on the field and you’re worried about allergies or your cross-country runner is more tired that normal, Any Lab Test Now can help you uncover hidden issues that may be impacting your child’s health and physical performance.

Common lab tests to help monitor an athlete’s overall health, include:

Allergy Tests

Vitamins, Minerals And Nutrition Lab Tests

Anemia Panel

Sickle Cell Anemia Screen

Preventing Injury and Improving Performance

It’s crucial for young, competitive athletes to remain attentive to their body’s needs during such a pivotal time in their growth and development. Sometimes, this can be a challenge as ambitious athletes want to focus their full attention on improving their performance on the field, court or track. Fortunately, the variety of tests offered at an Any Lab Test Now location can ensure athletes accomplish both.

Lab tests supply detailed information on specific processes happening within the body. By locating the origin of a problem, an athlete can learn more about their body and educate themselves on how to stay healthy when playing at a competitive level. Preventing long-term injury and/or internal imbalances are pivotal for an athlete’s achievement.

Lab tests also provide scientific data that can set a baseline of where an athlete stands in comparison to the status quo. This allows them the opportunity to set personal health goals and improve their fitness. The smallest change in an athlete’s diet or training could make all the difference in shredding a few seconds off a mile-time or scoring an extra goal.

Competing at the high school level, on travel teams or in front of college recruiters requires dedication to overall fitness and wellness. Ensure your child’s health is on the right track by addressing any sign of potential injury and helping them stay educated about their bodies. If you want immediate answers regarding your young athlete’s health, visit your convenient Any Lab Test Now location to get them tested today.

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.

Effects of Alcohol

We toast our successes. We drown our sorrows. It’s 5 o’clock somewhere! Our world is filled with reasons to pour a drink, yet even a single drink can affect your body. And too much can have a long-lasting impact that isn’t always reversible. Fortunately, it is possible to find out if alcohol is harming your body before it’s too late by taking a simple test from Any Lab Test Now.

What alcohol does

Even one drink starts to affect your body. It changes your brain – making it harder to think clearly and making coordination challenging. Long-term, heavy drinking can cause damage to learning and memory. Abstaining over several months may allow your brain to repair itself at least partially.

Your heart can also be damaged, even in just one evening of binge drinking. Long-term drinking weakens the heart muscle, so it can’t pump enough blood to the organs. The short-term result is shortness of breath, fatigue and swollen legs and feet. The long-term result can be heart failure. Binge drinking can cause the heart to beat too rapidly or irregularly – running a risk of stroke. And women are more likely to have their blood pressure go up as a result of drinking too much than men. The Alcohol Effect Panel from Any Lab Test Now tests for damage to your heart.

In addition, heavy drinking takes a serious toll on the liver, and eventually can lead to cirrhosis of the liver. Quitting won’t reverse the damage, but it will stop it in its tracks. You can get a basic screening of your liver function with the Alcohol Effect Panel from Any Lab Test Now.

The same test will point to potential problems in the pancreas, which is also severely impacted by heavy drinking. The pancreas reacts to alcohol by producing toxic substances and that eventually leads to pancreatitis – a dangerous swelling of the blood vessels in the pancreas. The effects can be managed by not drinking.

And there’s more — alcohol can increase your risk of a list of cancers: mouth, esophagus, throat, liver and breast cancers. It also weakens your immune system. For as long as 24 hours after getting drunk, you may have trouble fighting off infections as serious as pneumonia.

How do you know how much is too much?

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer, but there are guidelines. For men, you shouldn’t have more than four drinks a day or 14 drinks a week. For women, you shouldn’t have more than three drinks a day and no more than seven drinks in a week. Those amounts are considered to be low risk. But low risk is not no risk. If you drink too quickly, have health problems or are over 65, alcohol can cause problems. For some people, any amount at all is too much.

If you are worried that you – or someone you love – does drink too much, there is a way to find out. The FAEE Hair Alcohol Abuse Test available at Any Lab Test Now can determine if someone is alcohol dependent. It uses a small sample of hair and measures the amount of a metabolite of alcohol in that hair. You can use the results of the test to talk with your doctor about what steps to take next to get help.

Having the answers about alcohol – and it’s effect on your body – can be an important step in getting and staying healthy. The medical assistants at your local Any Lab Test Now are there to help you find the right test to get you on the track to taking the best care of yourself.

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.

 

The State of Your Prostate

What every man should know about a little gland that can cause big trouble

When it comes to prostate screening, it’s important for men to make an informed decision that will help keep them healthy and happy. The American Cancer Society says that prostate cancer is the second most common type of cancer in American men, with skin cancer taking the top spot. Any Lab Test Now makes it easy and convenient for men to find out where they stand with the Prostate Specific Antigen Test, otherwise known as the PSA Test.

What is the PSA Test?

PSA is a protein that’s produced by cells of the prostate gland. Though it’s a small gland, the prostate provides several key functions in men’s health, mainly involving reproduction and hormone metabolism.

The PSA Test offered by Any Lab Test Now measures the level of PSA in a man’s blood. Elevated levels could indicate potential prostate cancer, but it’s important to point out that there are several other conditions that could also cause an elevated result, such as:

  • Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia –enlargement of the prostate.
  • Prostatitis – inflammation of the prostate.

In any case, in elevated PSA result should be followed with a visit to your physician.

Who’s at risk

According to the American Cancer Society, researchers have found several risk factors that you should take into consideration when deciding whether to undergo PSA testing. Age is a big one! Prostate cancer is rarely found in men under the age of 40, but cases rise rapidly after the age of 50. Family history is another indicator. Researchers have found an inherited or genetic factor associated with the disease. Having a brother or father with prostate cancer more than doubles a man’s risk for developing this disease. It also appears that prostate cancer occurs more often in African-American men than in men of other races.

Taking the next step

If you have a husband, a father, or a brother, educating the men in your life about prostate screening is an important first step. Talk with them about the importance of establishing a baseline result in their early years and continuing to be tested as they age to identify any changes. Then, walk in to your local Any Lab Test Now. We’ll perform a quick blood test and give you the answers you need to continue taking care of your prostate health.

Understanding Lyme Disease

Now that spring has arrived, so has tick season! They reemerge once the weather starts warming up and are more than a simple nuisance. They harbor Lyme disease. Lyme disease is a bacterial infection primarily transmitted by deer ticks (in the Northeast and Midwest) and black-legged ticks (on the Pacific Coast). Lyme disease can be difficult to diagnose, so it is important to know the signs, symptoms and risks of the infection in order to keep you and your loved ones safe this tick season.

Symptoms of Lyme Disease

One of the telltale signs of Lyme disease is a red, expanding skin rash. Typically, this rash will begin at the bite site and grow outward in a circle. Sometimes, the rash will fade as it grows, leaving irritation which resembles a bullseye. While common, a rash is not always present in a person with Lyme disease. Other symptoms include flu-like symptoms, facial muscle weakness, fainting, chest pain, severe headache and shooting joint pain.

 

When to Seek Care

Thoroughly checking your skin after spending time outdoors during tick season is vital because the longer that the tick is on your skin, the higher your chance of contracting Lyme disease.  However, if you develop any Lyme disease symptoms and have been bitten by or exposed to ticks, it is important to take a Lyme disease test as soon as possible. Remember, many people who develop Lyme disease do not realize that they have been bitten by a tick. If you have been outside in an area where ticks are prevalent and develop these symptoms, assume that you’ve been bitten and walk in to Any Lab Test Now to be tested.

Untreated Lyme Disease

Most cases of Lyme disease can be successfully treated with a dose of antibiotics. If Lyme disease remains untreated, however, it can spread to other parts of the body from several months to a year after the initial infection. This spreading can cause a variety of long-term health problems such as arthritis and nervous system problems. In severe untreated cases, Lyme disease can be fatal.
Don’t be ticked off by Lyme disease! Stay safe this year and be sure to check your skin for ticks after being outside. If you think you may have been bitten, visit your local Any Lab Test Now to be tested.