Can a simple test lead to better rest?

When you consider what it takes to get a good night’s sleep, a lot of things probably come to mind. The bed usually comes to mind first. Is it comfortable? Is it familiar? Do you have the right pillows? Next, it’s probably your surroundings. Is it dark enough? Is it quiet? Your local Any Lab Test Now can’t do much about the state of your mattress and pillows, but we can try to help you get a better night’s sleep.

For some people, having just one thing slightly off can make all the difference when it comes to getting a good night’s sleep. So many things can affect our slumber that many of us don’t really consider one of the most important factors: our hormones. They play a huge role in not only our ability to get sufficient sleep, but also in the quality of our rest. And while many different hormones play a part, there are two that are center stage in the sleep arena: melatonin and cortisol.

Melatonin: The Rhythm of the Night

Melatonin is a hormone produced by the pituitary gland and it is vital to your body’s ability to regulate your sleep/wake cycle. Scientists say that the level of melatonin in your body should begin to rise as the sun goes down, preparing your body for sleep. The level should peak in the early morning hours just before dawn, then begin dropping after you wake. In a study published by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), high levels of melatonin at 8 a.m. were more than a wake-up call. They were associated with:

  • Better quality sleep
  • Lower depression scores
  • Better attention spans
  • Better visual memory
  • Better at arithmetic

If these levels are off, or if the rhythms are disrupted, you could find yourself wide awake in the middle of the night.

Cortisol; Co-Star of the Sleep Show

Cortisol is often called the “stress” hormone because levels in the blood rise during times of extreme stress. It’s responsible for your body’s “fight or flight” response, but it’s also critical for everyday bodily functions. Cortisol should take over where melatonin leaves off. Scientists say cortisol levels should rise 30 minutes to one hour after you wake up. It’s what gets you going in the morning. They will gradually drop to their lowest levels in the evening so you can calm down and go to sleep. But the problem comes in to play when excess stress keeps your cortisol levels high. This keeps you awake, which usually leads you to turn on lights, which lowers your melatonin levels, creating a vicious cycle.

Are Your Hormones Working Together?

If these two hormones aren’t playing nice on a regular basis, you could be in for bigger trouble than just a few sleepless nights. Disturbed sleep has been associated with:

  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Obesity

Testing for a Better Night’s Sleep

So how can Any Lab Test Now help you find your way to a better night’s sleep? It’s easier than you might think! It’s a simple test, that you take at home, that will provide you and your doctor with information about your levels of cortisol and melatonin throughout the day and night. The Sleep Balance Take Home Hormone Kit is a simple urine test requiring urine collection on test strips at four different times.

First, urine is collected when you wake up, so your nighttime melatonin levels can be checked. About two hours later, a second collection will measure your cortisol awakening response. The third collection is in the evening when both your melatonin and cortisol levels should be low. Finally, the last test is performed just before bed, where your melatonin level should be rising for sleep and your cortisol should be at its lowest level of the day.

Your First Day to a Better Night’s Sleep

The Sleep Balance Take Home Hormone Kit can help you and your doctor get to the bottom of your sleep problems. Find out more at your local Any Lab Test Now.

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.

 

It’s Time To Take Care of Yourself

On an airplane, they tell you to be sure to put on your own oxygen mask before helping others, because you can’t take care of someone else if you are in need of help. But all too often, women focus on taking care of everyone else in the family before caring for themselves, and this is to their own detriment. They look after their children, their spouse, their aging parents. Who doesn’t get taken care of? The woman herself. While your family is picking up cards and gifts to show their love during the week leading up to Mother’s Day, you should use that time to take care of yourself.

May 8-14 is Women’s Health Week. It’s the perfect time to slow down and check in with yourself. Have you noticed any changes with your body in the last year? Pain? Dizziness? Fatigue? Changed menstrual cycle? Don’t let these changes nag at you. They could be signs of conditions for which medical care can help, such as heart disease, menopause or osteoporosis.

Heart Disease

Heart disease is the number one killer of women in the United States. A whopping 80 percent of women between the ages of 40 and 60 have at least one risk factor for heart disease.

Menopause

It’s a fact of life for women: menopause. Knowing when you are starting to go through it allows you to have the conversation with your doctor about steps you can take to ease the symptoms. If you are having hot flashes, rapid mood swings and a drop in your sex drive, you may want to take the Menopause Screening Panel. This blood test can help you find out if the symptoms are, in fact, the start of menopause. Knowing helps you decide what to do next.

Osteoporosis

Especially after menopause, an issue women face is bone loss, meaning that bones become more brittle and susceptible to breaking. Vitamin D is an important nutrient that can help keep your bones strong, but it can be tricky to get enough just through your diet. Any Lab Test Now has a test available that allows you to find out if you need to boost your vitamin D intake. Or, you may choose to take a more comprehensive Osteoporosis Risk Panel. It includes ten different tests to evaluate your risk for the disease.

Instead of wondering about your body’s changes, get answers. Walk in to Any Lab Test Now to arm yourself with knowledge to make your next doctor appointment more productive. Taking good care of yourself, and having the information you need to help your doctor keep you healthy, is the best gift you can give yourself and your loved ones.

Stay Heart Healthy This February!

Walk into any retail location and you’ll see red, pink and purple hearts of all shapes and sizes. February is the month of love, and the heart represents this feeling for many people. Did you know, however, that February is also Heart Health Awareness Month?

This year, celebrate your heart by making healthy lifestyle changes and taking action to prevent chronic conditions like heart disease. Heart disease kills more American adults than any other cause of death, including cancer, accidents and diabetes. For this year’s Heart Health Awareness Month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention want Americans to focus on one healthy behavior they can make into a habit to take control of their heart health.

After all, your heart health influences your daily life and everything you want to do. From how often you get sick to how much activity your body can handle, a healthy heart makes your whole body run right. Symptoms of heart disease can be unique for everyone, but will often include fatigue, shortness of breath, angina or pain in the chest, nausea and swelling of feet or ankles (also known as edema). Your heart never rests — and your heart health influences your quality of life even when you’re asleep, so it’s critical that it remains healthy.

Heart disease can be difficult to detect on its own, which is why it’s so important to use laboratory testing and regular visits to your primary care physician to keep yourself on track. To find out what your risk is and begin your journey to a healthier heart, you should schedule a Cardiac Risk Panel at Any Lab Test Now this month. Getting a laboratory test entails a simple, one-time visit that will allow you to see your levels of blood cholesterol, C-reactive protein and homocysteine. These levels are an indication of how hard your heart is working and how much inflammation is in your body. Any Lab Test Now also offers a variety of other heart health related tests to consider, like cholesterol testing.

Once you have your results, you can take them to your doctor to discuss your lifestyle and how you can improve your habits, one step at a time. Suggestions may include dietary changes, increasing the consistency with which you take prescription drugs, increased exercise or quitting smoking.

Your cardiovascular system is important for your quality of life, so make February the month you take charge of your habits and make an improvement in your health. For more information on how to use Any Lab Test Now’s laboratory testing to determine your risk, visit our website!

Five Recommended Tests for the New Year

Each January, people across the country resolve to get fit and improve their health. From increasing exercise and reducing stress to taking vitamins and eating right, people understand the importance of taking care of their bodies and minds. Taking care of oneself is a goal that has positive impacts on every area of life.

Of course, any time you set a goal, it is important to figure out how you will track your progress and measure the impact of the actions you take to reach the goal. When it comes to goals related to good health, there are tests that can help you evaluate where you are today and what your personal areas of focus should be.

In 2017, the top five suggested tests for men and women are:

Basic Check-Up Panel – This grouping of tests helps you evaluate your overall health. From liver function to blood pressure, this panel gives you a high-level view of your health today so that you can better pinpoint what is working well, what isn’t, and identify areas for improvement.

Comprehensive Female Panel – This is the most comprehensive panel for women. Not only does it evaluate your overall health, as in the Basic Check-Up Panel, but it also measures hormone levels, nutrition status and thyroid function.

Male Panel – Like the Basic Check-Up Panel, this gives you a good overview of your health. In addition, however, it evaluates adrenal functions that are specific to men and testicular health.

Nutritional Panel – Often, health and wellness issues can stem from having too much or too little of a nutrient in one’s body. Evaluating and monitoring the level of various nutrients in your body is a good first step to making sure your body has what it needs to perform at its best.

Cortisol Total Test – Cortisol is the hormone your body releases in response to stress. When cortisol levels are too high for an extended period, they can contribute to health issues. Monitoring your cortisol level is a good starting point if your goal is to reduce stress.

When it comes to good health, making the decision to take control is step one! Step two is learning about how healthy your body is today so that you can find specific areas for improvement. From there, you can establish a plan that meets your personal health needs. Then, when 2018 rolls around, you are sure to find yourself fitter and healthier!

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!

Using Athletic Testing to Monitor Your Progress

Athletic TestingWhether you’re a seasoned athlete or just starting your journey to fitness, you know that the more information you have about your performance, the easier it will be to build your diet and activity to yield maximum results. The superficial information is easy enough to get — it’s obvious when there are changes in your energy levels and appearance. But to know how your lifestyle is impacting your body’s internal systems, you need more thorough testing. At Any Lab Test Now, we have a series of tests that will help you determine where your body is starting from before you begin your fitness regimen, and ongoing testing to help you see what changes are going on under the surface as you train. Here are some ways Any Lab Test Now can help you in your athletic endeavors.

There are myriad tests you should undergo if you are starting a new fitness program, especially if you haven’t exercising regularly and are looking to make a dramatic change. In addition to giving you a full picture of the impact your current lifestyle is having on your body, comprehensive athletic testing can reveal underlying health issues that might make exercising or changing your diet challenging or risky. For example, if you have heart trouble that hasn’t been addressed, strenuous exercise can cause a heart attack. You should also get detailed information on your dietary intake by testing for nutrient deficiencies. This will help you build a targeted and detailed diet plan to meet your body’s needs.

You should continue testing to monitor your progress over time. Exercise and proper diet are known to lead to a reduction in risk factors for cardiovascular problems and metabolic disorders like diabetes, so continued testing should show a decrease in those panels. The micronutrient panel should show improvements, as should the hormone test, indicating that your body’s systems are functioning better. Another reason to continue testing is to help you make course corrections during your training. By helping you catch problems while they’re still relatively minor, these tests can save you time and discomfort, and help you keep your training on track.

This might sound complicated, but at Any Lab Test Now, we make it easy to keep track of what’s going on inside your body. So don’t stay in the dark about your health! If it’s worth going to the trouble of starting a fitness program, it’s worth knowing what would serve you best in your efforts. So find your local Any Lab Test Now to take a peek at your body’s inner workings with athletic testing!

The Importance of Cholesterol Testing

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Is your heart healthy? You may think the answer is “yes”, but do you really know? If you are an American male with an average American diet and lifestyle, the odds are not in your favor. In fact, the CDC says that 73.5 million adults (31.7%) in the United States have high LDL, or “bad,” cholesterol. And of those people, fewer than 1 out of every 3 adults (29.5%) has the condition under control.

You might be thinking, “So what? Who cares if my cholesterol is a little high?” YOU should care, and here’s why:

1. It can kill you. People with high total cholesterol have approximately twice the risk for heart disease as people with ideal cholesterol levels. Additionally, lowering your cholesterol can reduce your risk of having a heart attack, needing heart bypass surgery or angioplasty, and dying of heart disease.

2. Even if it doesn’t kill you, it can lessen your quality of life. You’ll suffer countless possible health problems, including chest pain, circulatory problems, digestive problems and gallstones.

So what is cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a fatty substance that travels through your blood on lipoproteins and is necessary for important bodily functions such as making hormones and digesting fats. Everyone needs cholesterol, but certain factors like poor diet can cause a person to have too much of it, and this can be a very bad thing. When you have too much cholesterol in your body, or high cholesterol, it will start to build up in plaque deposits along the walls of your blood vessels. Over time, this build-up causes the blood vessels to become narrower and narrower, allowing less blood flow to reach your heart and other organs. This can cause angina or even a heart attack if an artery becomes fully blocked by plaque.

Even if you think you’re healthy, it’s a good idea to get your cholesterol checked so that you can establish a baseline for monitoring your cholesterol in the future. And if you have high cholesterol, the sooner you learn about it, the better, so that steps can be taken to lessen your risk of death from heart disease.

At Any Lab Test Now, there are several options to choose from when it comes to cholesterol testing.

Our Lipid Panel provides a comprehensive look at your cholesterol levels, including testing for your total cholesterol, HDL, LDL, HDL/LDL ratio and triglycerides. The Lipid Panel is a great option for establishing a baseline from which to continuously monitor your cholesterol levels.
href=”https://www.anylabtestnow.com/tests/cholesterol-maintenance-panel/”>The Cholesterol Medication Maintenance Panel
and Basic Check-Up Panel are also excellent testing options for measuring your cholesterol levels. Talk to our experts at Any Lab Test Now to learn which cholesterol testing is right for you.

Top Five Diseases That Affect Women’s Health

ALTN May corp(1)As women race through their days, many don’t stop to focus on their own health and well-being. For this reason, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office on Women’s Health has designated May 8-14 as Women’s Health Week. This marks the 17th time the week has been recognized in an effort to encourage women to take ownership of their health.

While women’s health concerns may change as they age, five of the top health concerns faced by women include:

Heart disease. Heart disease accounts for more than 22 percent of female deaths according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. There are multiple contributing factors to heart disease: high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes. Exercise and other healthy lifestyle choices can help reduce your risk of heart disease.

Cancer. The Susan G. Komen foundation shares that one in eight women who lives to the age of 85 is at risk for breast cancer. Fortunately, with early detection, survival rates can be quite high. To protect themselves, women regularly should be completing self-breast exams, scheduling routine mammograms and seeking testing to see if they have any markers that could signify malignant tumors in any area of the body.

Chronic Lower Respiratory Diseases. This is often more recognizable as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and includes both emphysema and chronic bronchitis. While pollutants and chemical toxins may contribute to the development of these diseases, smokers get COPD nearly 12 times as frequently as non-smokers.

Stroke. Strokes are caused by blood clots that prevent blood from reaching the brain. According to Harvard Medical School, high blood pressure is the No. 1 risk factor for developing blood clots. Be sure to have your blood pressure checked regularly, especially if you are a smoker or using oral contraception. In addition, having a healthy lifestyle, which includes not smoking, can help reduce the chance of developing a blood clot.

Alzheimer’s disease.  According to the Alzheimer’s Association, women are twice as likely to be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Age, family history and heredity are the most common risk factors. While there is still much to learn about the disease, scientists are looking at the impact of exercise, diet and brain-engaging activities as potential ways to help keep the disease at bay.

So, ladies, celebrate Women’s Health Week by becoming more informed about the state of your own health, working with a doctor to address any issues and making lifestyle changes that will help you live your healthiest life yet!

February is American Heart Month. Take Care of Yours.

Did you know that approximately 600,000 Americans die from heart disease every year? Reported to be the leading killer in both men and women, heart disease currently accounts for 1 in every 4 deaths. While it is a major threat to the health of many, there are actions you can take to prevent it from becoming a threat to yours.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention outlines the following steps to take in planning for prevention of cardiovascular disease:

  • Receive an annual checkup to get tested for high blood pressure and diabetes; two common conditions linked to the disease.

  • Take part in daily physical activity to help you manage your weight and keep your blood pressure and cholesterol levels in check.

  • Maintain a healthy diet by avoiding foods high in sodium, saturated fat, trans fat, and cholesterol. By having a well-balanced meal plan consisting of protein, fruits and vegetables, you can lower your risk of developing high blood pressure and becoming overweight; an additional risk factor associated with heart disease.

  • Limit your alcohol use to avoid an increase in your blood pressure. The CDC recommends that men should have no more than two drinks per day and women have no more than one.

  • If you have diabetes, monitor your blood sugar levels closely and talk with your healthcare team about treatment options.

Visit your local Any Lab Test Now® to see if you may be at risk of heart disease. Receive a Heart Health Panel to understand your overall heart health or choose a test specific to your personal risk factors such as one of our Cholesterol Tests or Diabetes Lab Tests. Call us today to learn more about how we can help you Take Control of Your Health®.