Are You Ignoring Diabetes?

altn-diabetes_novIf you’re reading this article, you’ve probably already wondered if you are at risk for diabetes. The fact is, with around 1.4 million Americans being diagnosed with diabetes every year, odds are you could be one of them. And when you take into account that more than 8 million Americans are living with undiagnosed diabetes, and another 86 million are living with prediabetes, the numbers start to become especially alarming.

Diabetes and prediabetes can be manageable — so long as you are aware of your condition. But with so many people unknowingly living with diabetes every day, there are many whose health will only worsen over time. That’s because, if left unchecked, diabetes can greatly increase your risk of:

Heart disease
– Stroke
– Kidney damage
– Nerve Damage
– Poor blood flow, leading to amputation of the toes and feet
– Blindness
– Alzheimer’s disease

… And the list goes on. The truth is, you are much better off knowing your risk for diabetes than remaining blissfully unaware — the knowledge could save your life! While no one can know for sure without getting tested, there are certain factors that could indicate a higher risk of having diabetes. Those especially at risk are:

– People who are overweight or obese.
– Adults 45 years of age or older.
– People who have an immediate family member with diabetes.
– People who are physically active less than three times per week.

If you identify with one or more of the risk factors listed above, it’s time to consider getting tested for diabetes. If you are concerned about your risk of diabetes, there are many tests at Any Lab Test Now that can help you find the answers you need. Many of the diabetes tests at Any Lab Test Now are perfect both for diabetics looking to maintain their health or those interested in finding out if they have diabetes.

Any Lab Test Now’s Diabetes Maintenance Panel includes:

– A Complete Blood Count Test to detect blood disorders such as infection or anemia
– A Fasting Glucose Test to detect hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia
– A Hemoglobin A1c Test to detect prediabetes or diabetes, or see if your diabetes is under control
– A Diabetic Urinalysis to determine if your kidneys aren’t working properly

These four tests can give you and your doctor the information you need to assess your risk for and manage your diabetes.

Another helpful test for those wondering if they are diabetic, or those who have diabetes and want to keep an eye on their health, is Any Lab Test Now’s Insulin Lab Test. This test measures insulin production in your body — low levels of which can indicate that you have diabetes. This test is often used with the Glucose Tolerance Test to evaluate insulin resistance, another indicator of diabetes.

Make it your goal to take charge of your health and monitor your risk for diabetes. Talk to the experts at Any Lab Test Now to find the right diabetes testing options for your needs.

Alcohol and How It Affects You

April newsletter alcohol small(1)According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, “approximately 1 in 5 children killed in traffic crashes were passengers in drunk-driving crashes. Fifty-six percent of the time, it was the child’s own driver who was drunk.” This, among other horrifying statistics about the physical, emotional and financial impacts of drunk driving, has spurred the “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign. The campaign will run in partnership with law enforcement agencies nationwide from August 19 through September 5, 2016 to raise awareness about the crime and its dangers.

Of course, the question is at what point does someone cross the line from enjoying a beer at an afternoon cookout to being too drunk to get behind the wheel? Legally, the answer to this is when their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is more than .08 percent. For the average person, however, knowing the legal limit is not enough information.

The best and safest advice is to always travel with a driver who hasn’t been drinking alcohol at all. Whether you invite a designated driver along to the party or call a cab as the event winds down, riding with someone who has not been drinking at all is the best way to stay safe.
If, however, you have consumed alcoholic beverages and are considering driving yourself, know that the body can typically only process one alcoholic drink per hour. An alcoholic drink is measured as a 12-ounce beer or its equivalent. If you’ve enjoyed more than one drink, you should not drive.

Even with that guideline, however, each person’s body responds to alcohol differently. Factors that contribute to how a person metabolizes alcohol include:

Gender. Men tend to have lower body fat than women, which makes them able to process alcohol more efficiently than women.
Weight. When people are heavier, the alcohol becomes diluted more easily in the blood, making it harder to get drunk.
Age. As you become older, your body becomes less able to process alcohol. This means that as you age, it will take fewer drinks for you to become drunk.
Frequency of alcohol consumption. Those who routinely consume large quantities of alcohol tend to become drunk more slowly than those who don’t.
Amount of food consumed. Having a full stomach can slow down the absorption of alcohol. Of course, eventually, the alcohol will make its way into the bloodstream, so it does not follow that eating will ultimately prevent you from becoming drunk.

Each year, over 10,000 people die from drunk-driving accidents. As summer parties rage on, it is important that we all do our part to spread the word about the dangers of driving drunk. If you suspect that you will be in a situation where alcohol is being served, consider talking with your local Any Lab Test Now facility about their easy breath or saliva tests that measure blood alcohol levels.

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.

National Blood Donor Month: Do You Know Your Blood Type and Why Is It Important?

Every day, about 39,000 units of blood are needed in hospitals and other emergency treatment facilities all across the U.S to help people with life-threatening illnesses and injuries. But all that blood doesn’t just appear out of thin air. It is donated by people generous enough to give their own blood to help save the lives of others. January is National Blood Donor Month, and it’s a great time to consider giving blood. If you can, becoming a blood donor is one of the best things you can do to make a difference in people’s lives this January, especially since blood is often in short supply during the winter months due to a lack of donations caused by busy holiday schedules. By taking just an hour out of your day this month to donate blood, you could be giving someone else a lifetime.

Clearly, giving blood is so important if you can do it. But did you know that some people may be more in demand as donors than others? When your body needs blood, unfortunately it won’t take just any blood. It has to match your blood type for your body to accept it, and some blood types are harder to match than others. For example, if you know that your blood type is O-, you might especially want to consider giving blood. This is because people with any blood type can receive O- blood, so it is great for emergency facilities to have on hand. And meanwhile, people with O- blood can only receive O- blood, so these people rely on O- blood donors to continue donating or many lives may be lost. You can learn more about all eight blood types and the types they are compatible with here.

Learn Your Blood Type at Any Lab Test Now®

If you don’t know your blood type, it’s important to find out. It could save your life someday, not to mention save the lives of others if you know your blood type is one that is especially needed from donors.

There are many benefits to knowing your blood type and Rh factor, from identification and nutrition to having a healthy pregnancy. When a pregnant mom and her baby’s Rh factors are different, there is a possibility her body will treat the baby as a foreign substance and start attacking the baby’s blood. Knowing your blood type is a proactive way to Take Control Of Your Health® before anything serious occurs.

At Any Lab Test Now, we offer Blood Typing and RH Factor Testing that will tell you everything you need to know about your blood type. The test determines your blood type (A, B, AB or O) and your Rh factor (positive or negative).

This January, we at Any Lab Test Now encourage you to learn your blood type and become a blood donor. There are many reasons to know your blood type, but the biggest reason of all is that you could help save a life. Talk to our experts at Any Lab Test Now to find out how you can learn your blood type and Rh factor today.

Are You Pre-Diabetic? You Need To Read This: November Is Diabetes Awareness Month

With nearly 30 million people in the U.S. suffering from diabetes, it’s a problem that affects about 10 percent of the population. The American Diabetes Association estimates that 86 million people are at risk of developing the disease, and 3 million are already suffering from pre-diabetes.

Diabetes is a metabolic disease that affects the body’s ability to produce insulin. Without the proper amount of insulin, the body’s blood sugar levels remain abnormally high, and you don’t get the energy you need. Pre-diabetes is the precursor to Type 2 diabetes. At this stage, blood sugar levels are high but not high enough to be classified as Type 2 diabetes.

While diabetes often presents with symptoms like excessive thirst and hunger, extreme fatigue, frequent urination, blurry vision, cuts and bruises that heal slowly, and tingling in the feet and hands, pre-diabetes often doesn’t come with any outward symptoms. The only way to truly diagnose pre-diabetes is to get tested. Tests like Hemoglobin A1c detect pre-diabetes and can also diagnose diabetes or monitor diabetes to make sure it’s managed properly.

Any Lab Test Now can help you take charge of your health by determining whether you are in a pre-diabetic state. A Diabetes Maintenance Panel can be done to monitor any existing diabetic conditions over time, as well as keep an eye on possible complications.

Without proper management, pre-diabetes may turn into Type 2 diabetes within 10 years. Diabetes increases your risk for many other health problems, including nerve damage, blindness, stroke, skin infections, kidney disease, high blood pressure and heart disease.

But it’s not all bad news. With the correct treatment and proper management of diabetes, these complications can be prevented or delayed. While diabetes is often a lifelong disease, it can be managed with medication, diet and exercise for a full, healthy life. So if you or a loved one is showing some of the signs of diabetes, these tests can help you and your doctor determine if the disease has developed or if you are at risk of developing full-blown diabetes.

This November, don’t let Diabetes Awareness Month pass without a fight.  Get tested.  Know your numbers.  Take Control of Your Health®.

Stressed And The Holidays Aren’t Even Here Yet? Check Your Cortisol Level.

Woman having migraine headache. Stress and depression.From a baby’s cry to fast-paced work projects, people are faced with stresses on a regular basis. In response to these daily demands, the body releases a naturally occurring steroid hormone, called cortisol. Cortisol helps regulate muscles, cardiovascular function, digestion and other systems. This gives you the extra energy and mobility you need to fight through a stressful situation. As your cortisol levels increase, you may experience increased appetite, cravings for sugar and weight gain. Then, as the stressful situation comes to an end and you no longer need the extra energy, cortisol levels should return to normal.

Prolonged stress, however, means that cortisol is being produced regularly. When this happens, it can build up in the body without an outlet for release. This keeps your internal systems heightened and on high alert which can cause damage or fatigue. Risks resulting from chronic increased levels of cortisol are serious and include:

  • Lower immune function
  • Lower bone density
  • Learning and memory issues
  • Weight gain, particularly in the abdomen
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart disease
  • Depression

Is your cortisol level high?
Hormone testing, including the Saliva Cortisol Test or the Total Cortisol Test, can determine if your cortisol levels are too high or too low. Because cortisol levels naturally adjust throughout the day, the test may be required both early in the morning and again in the afternoon for the most accurate results.

What should I do about high cortisol levels?
Normal cortisol levels typically range from 6 to 23 micrograms per deciliter. Higher cortisol levels may be an indicator of Cushing disease or long-term, unmanaged stress. Low cortisol levels may be an indicator of Addison’s disease or hypopituitarism. In either case, your doctor will help you understand your test results and recommend any additional treatment options.

Stress management techniques may also prove effective in reducing higher than normal cortisol levels. From healthier eating and increased physical activity to meditation and deep breathing, stress management techniques provide your body with an outlet for releasing built-up cortisol and help bring your levels back into a healthier range.

If you regularly find yourself under stress, even if it is stress that stems from a positive experience, consider a  Saliva Cortisol Test or the Total Cortisol Test to live a healthier life and avoid long-term health issues.

Safety in the Ring! Why do Combative Sports Fighters Have to Be Tested Every Year?

When mixed martial arts fighters discuss what they do to prepare for a match, the focus tends to be on the intense training they undergo to make sure they are totally ready to take a pounding and keep on swinging, ultimately to defeat an equally strong and prepared opponent. With such an exciting and dangerous sport, the last thing a fan would think about is whether each fighter is complying with the *shudder* regulations. But it’s because this sport is so exciting and dangerous that regulations need to be a big part of the conversation.

Most state athletic commissions require testing for combative sports fighters to compete. They require drug testing, as well as additional blood tests for diseases such as HIV and Hepatitis B and C. This is to protect the fighters, as well as to keep competition fair. There have been cases in unregulated fighting environments of horrible injuries and unfair competition due to the lack of rule enforcement. These are potentially life-ruining situations. If a fighter competes while infected with a bloodborne illness, the results can truly be tragic. As cumbersome as they may be, regulations are in place to prevent serious injury and death.

For fighter testing, the bloodborne infection aspect may not make sense at first blush. But with sports like MMA, which tend to get bloody, there is a real risk of passing on an infection. However, it’s not just a hazard to an opponent. The body of someone affected by a disease that attacks the immune system is generally weaker and easier to exhaust than that of a healthy person, so having a disease like HIV is a serious handicap in a fight.

Fighters have to be tested every year in order to comply with most state requirements. This is to monitor fighters’ health and keep them from passing on diseases they might not know they have. But if a fighter’s manager or agent has concerns, officials recommend getting the tests as often as necessary. The Fighter Panel at Any Lab Test Now is an easy tool to get all of your state-mandated testing done, with a fast turnaround. So protect yourself and your opponents, and be sure to get tested!

Why Becoming A Bone Marrow Donor Is So Important

September is National Blood Cancer Awareness Month, and this means it’s time to start thinking about what you can do to help the thousands of people every year who suffer from this disease. Every three minutes in the United States, someone is diagnosed with blood cancer — more than 175,000 new cases each year. More than 55,000 people will die from blood cancer in this year alone. A bone marrow transplant is many of these patients’ best hope for survival, but only about 30 percent of patients are able to find a matching donor within their families. The other 70 percent have to rely on donations from strangers, and sometimes there just aren’t enough to go around. Around 3,000 people die each year while waiting for a match. By donating bone marrow this month or becoming a part of the bone marrow registry, you could save someone’s life.

Blood cancer encompases all malignancies of the blood, bone marrow or lymph nodes that affect normal blood cell production or function. As the diseased blood cells multiply, they cause life-threatening damage to the immune and circulatory systems. There are many different types of blood cancers, including leukemia, lymphoma and multiple myeloma. Patients with any of these types of blood cancer require bone marrow transplants for the best chance of beating the disease.

Any Lab Test Now is proud to support Delete Blood Cancer in its mission to provide help to those suffering from blood cancer. We have partnered with Delete Blood Cancer to encourage our local communities to become a part of the bone marrow registry, and we encourage you to do the same. We also collect specimens on behalf of Delete Blood Cancer and hold Swab Parties periodically throughout the year to build awareness of the need for bone marrow donors.Did you know that it only takes a simple swab from the inside cheeks of your mouth to be entered into the registry?  Yes, it is that simple.  And, did you know that about 75% of bone marrow donations are through a process similar to collecting platelets? With just one donation and a few hours of you time, you could give someone suffering from blood cancer an entire lifetime.

Are you concerned about your own health? At Any Lab Test Now, we have several cancer screens that may help you get the answers you need. Talk to your doctor or our experts at Any Lab Test Now to find out which test is right for you.

Did You Know Lyme Disease And Other Tick-Borne Illnesses Are On The Rise?

Late summer and fall seems the perfect time for camping, hiking and enjoying the outdoors. Heading out to revel in the cooler evening temperatures and fall color, though can be hazardous to your health. Ticks have become more numerous especially in areas known for outdoor activities. Twenty years ago ticks were confined to certain regions in the Midwest and Northeast and if you weren’t going there, you knew that you didn’t need to worry. A couple years ago the CDC raised the expected number of cases of Lyme disease from 30,000 per year to 300,000 and they have redrawn their map of Lyme disease hot spots, including an increase from 69 to 260 counties in the northeast.

 

You may scoff at climate changes as not real, but some theorize that these changes are real and can be seen in the increase in ticks in areas they hadn’t been and in the exponential increase in tick-borne diseases.  Lyme disease is not the only disease that these pests carry, but it is the most well-known. And although it is well-known, many people do not realize that the disease can be deadly. The focus is usually on the fever and headache that is typical of the disease, but Lyme disease can also cause long term symptoms including vision problems, inflammation of the joints similar to rheumatoid arthritis and inflammation of the heart leading to “heart block”, an interruption of the heartbeat, which could cause sudden cardiac death.

 

In addition, some cases of Lyme disease are not caught early and may not respond well to antibiotics causing symptoms known as post treatment Lyme disease syndrome, often referred to as “chronic Lyme”. 10-20% of those infected have a cluster of lingering symptoms such as fatigue, trouble concentrating and muscle or joint aches after treatment. It is unclear whether the symptoms are due to an infection that was not eradicated with antibiotics or to damage that remains from the original infection.

 

The tick’s mechanism of biting ensures that they are often not felt. In a study conducted by Georgia Southern University, out of 258 students who had been bitten, only 4% of them were aware of the bites. Since only half of those who contract Lyme disease from a tick bite develop symptoms, many people carry Lyme disease around untreated for months or even years before realizing that this is causing their long term symptoms. Stories abound of people who contract Lyme disease but spend years trying to get a diagnosis, often because they don’t recall being bitten.

 

As if Lyme disease isn’t bad enough, ticks also carry other severe illnesses including babesiosis, a parasitic infection, sometimes called “America’s Malaria”, anaplasmosis, ehrlichiosis, rickettsiosis (also known as Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever) and a newly discovered infection that hasn’t even been named yet. Prevention is the best plan and as a whole, we need to get better at it:

 

  1. Check to see if ticks are prevalent, or becoming prevalent where you will be.
  2. Wear light colored clothing so that you can see ticks crawling on you.
  3. Tuck your pants into your socks.
  4. Use bug spray containing DEET or permethrin to deter them from attaching.
  5. Check your body and clothes for ticks when you come back inside.

If you suspect that you have been bitten, or have been in a tick heavy area, watch for symptoms including fever, headache and a rash around the site that resembles a bullseye. If you develop symptoms, get tested to determine if you have the antibodies to Lyme disease. The sooner you know that you have been infected the sooner you can start on a course of antibiotics to prevent long term side effects and illness. If you are dealing with post treatment Lyme disease syndrome or rheumatoid arthritis triggered by Lyme disease, treat it like chronic fatigue with good sleep and exercise habits as well as treatment for depression if needed.

World Hepatitis Day is July 28

More than 400 million people worldwide are living with hepatitis, and of those 400 million people, 1.4 million die from the disease every year. Sadly, all of those deaths could be prevented with the right medical treatment and better awareness of how to avoid contracting the virus in the first place. Hepatitis is a completely preventable and treatable disease, and every year on July 28 we celebrate World Hepatitis Day to help bring awareness to people around the world about what they can do to save lives and eliminate hepatitis for good.

Hepatitis is a viral disease that causes infection of the liver. There are five types of hepatitis, the most common of which are hepatitis B and C. Hepatitis B, C and D are spread mainly through contact with an infected person’s bodily fluids while hepatitis A and E are typically contracted by consuming food or water contaminated with the feces of an infected person. It is possible to spread hepatitis B through sexual contact, sharing needles and other drug paraphernalia, improperly sterilized tattoo needles, blood transfusions, working in a health care profession, or even from sharing certain hygiene items, like razors and toothbrushes.

Hepatitis C is blood-borne and is most common among those who have injected drugs through shared equipment, though it is possible to contract it in any situation in which you are exposed to infected blood. It is even possible for mothers who have certain strains of the disease to pass it to their children during childbirth. Hepatitis is not just a disease for drug addicts and third world countries, though; if you have used intravenous drugs or shared needles, you should definitely get tested. Anyone can get the virus, and it’s important to know how to prevent it as well as what to do if you are exposed.

Hepatitis does not typically exhibit any symptoms and can even lie dormant in your system for years before making an appearance. When they are present, symptoms of certain hepatitis strains can include fatigue, pain around the area of the liver, fever, nausea and loss of appetite. If left untreated, certain strains of hepatitis can lead to organ failure, liver cancer and even death. This is why getting vaccinated and tested is so important. With the proper knowledge, preventing hepatitis is easy. There are vaccinations for both hepatitis A and B, as well as effective treatments for the most common types of hepatitis, should you contract the disease.

If you think you might have hepatitis or might have been exposed to it, talk to your doctor about getting tested. If you have not had the vaccination, talk to your doctor about getting that as well. Make sure to know the risks and use safe practices when engaging in any activity that may expose you to the disease. With just these simple precautions, you can help bring the world one step closer to being hepatitis-free.