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Mid-Year Resolution: Stick to Your Goals 

We’re at the halfway point to 2022 – can you believe it? It feels like each year gets faster, as life gets busier. As we prepare to take on the second half of the year, now is a good time to reflect on the first half. Did you meet your goals? What are you most proud of? What can you do better? Many people’s New Year’s resolutions have fizzled by now, and if that’s you, you aren’t alone! According to one survey, of the 41% of Americans who make resolutions, only 9% are successful in keeping them. 

Now, while that can be quite a discouraging number, there are a few reasons why, despite this, it’s considered a good thing to set New Year’s resolutions. Having resolutions sets intention with how you want to grow and develop in the coming year, it sets a tone of hopefulness and optimism, and you can start the year with a fresh sense of responsibility that hopefully flows in the months to come. It’s inherently a positive thing to strive for and has encouraging effects for yourself and those around you. 

Statistically, taking strides in your health, whether that means exercise or mental health, is one of the most popular resolutions. Each month, our blog highlights different health topics that may impact your life and provide a recommended blood test to bring awareness to the topic.

 

Cholesterol (Lipids) Panel 

This month, we want to emphasize the importance of cholesterol testing with our Cholesterol (Lipid) Panel®. The Lipids Panel can determine your cholesterol levels, which is important because this will tell you if you’re at risk for heart disease or any other heart issues. 

According to the CDC, nearly 94 million United States adults, 20 or older, have high cholesterol. There are two types of cholesterol, the good and the bad. The good absorbs the cholesterol and carries it back to the liver, and the liver then flushes it from the body. High levels of this type can lower your risk for heart disease and stroke. 

The bad makes up most of your body’s cholesterol, and high levels of this type can raise your risk for heart disease and stroke. The Cholesterol (Lipid) Panel® tests for both to determine whether you’re at risk or not. 

Your body needs cholesterol to build healthy cells, but high levels can increase your risk of heart disease. With high cholesterol, you can develop fatty deposits in your blood vessels. This makes it difficult for blood to flow through your arteries and can cause a heart attack or stroke. 

There are no symptoms. A blood test is the only way to know if you have it. 

With the Cholesterol (Lipid) Panel®, you’ll have your test results between 24 to 72 business hours. It’s recommended you fast before the test to ensure it’s accurate. Once you have your results, we encourage you to talk with your primary physician about the next steps.

Take Back Your Health

The overproduction of bad cholesterol can come from a variety of reasons. A lot of times, an unhealthy lifestyle is a huge contributor to producing more of the bad cholesterol. Some things to keep in mind are:

  • Unhealthy diet
  • Lack of physical activity
  • Smoking or exposure to tobacco smoke 
  • Hereditary 

To be 100% sure of your cholesterol status, start with one simple blood test at any of our neighborhood Any Lab Test Now® locations.


Renal Function Panel® 

Now is a great time to double down on your kidney health. Our Renal Function Panel® is a group of tests used to evaluate kidney function. According to the Mayo Clinic, some signs to look for if you think you’re experiencing kidney issues are:

  • Nausea 
  • Vomiting 
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Trouble sleeping 
  • Urinating more or less
  • Decreased mental sharpness
  • Muscle cramps
  • Swelling 
  • Dry, itchy skin

The signs and symptoms of kidney issues are often nonspecific and could also be the source of a different issue altogether. However, it’s worth getting tested; simply because the damage from leaving your affected kidneys untreated can be irreversible. 

For this test, fasting for about eight hours prior to the blood draw is preferred. Your results will be ready between 24 to 72 business hours after the test.

Hepatic Function Panel® 

For this comprehensive panel, the Liver Function Panel®, or Hepatic Function®, measures the blood levels of seven tests that see how well your liver is working.

This test is also encouraged if you’ve been exposed to the hepatitis A, B, or C virus. High or low levels in one of the seven tests may indicate you have liver damage or liver disease is present. Some general symptoms, according to Healthline, include:

  • Yellow skin (Jaundice)
  • Dark urine
  • Pale, bloody, or tarlike stool
  • Swollen ankles, legs, or abdomen 
  • Nausea 
  • Vomiting
  • Decrease in appetite
  • Bruise easily
  • Persistent fatigue
  • Itchy skin

Something to keep in mind about this test and the one above is that anyone who is regularly taking medications can potentially benefit from these tests, as they’re typically required as a regular workup for anyone taking medication long-term.

Comprehensive Metabolic Panel

The perfect test to have performed as a mid-year checkup is the Comprehensive Metabolic Panel®. This includes 14 essential tests that are part of a routine checkup or annual physical. It gives your doctor an overall picture of your health. 

Let’s talk about what’s looked at in this panel.

Your sodium, potassium, chloride, and carbon dioxide are all measured. Irregular values in these “electrolytes” can indicate trouble with your body’s salt/water or acid/base balance. Some common causes are dehydration, vomiting, medication, and kidney problems. 

Next are albumin, alkaline phosphatase, aspartate transaminase, and alanine transaminase. These are proteins and enzymes found in your blood; and can indicate liver damage or liver disease.

Lastly, your blood urea nitrogen, calcium, creatinine, and glucose are tested. This checks for a range of problems that affect your kidneys.

As one of the most common tests, it provides a plethora of information on your health.

Resolution Fatigue? Change Them!

If you’re feeling down because you aren’t meeting the goals you set at the beginning of the year, there is no shame in changing them for something more attainable. It can be something as simple as getting a blood test to check your cholesterol, liver function, kidneys, or more before the kids head back to school because we know that’s right around the corner! 

With more than 200 locations across the country, you can make an appointment by phone or just walk in. we make it our priority to provide a convenient, safe, and confidential space for you to tackle your health. 

Click here to find the location closest to you.

Back to the Basics on Cholesterol

When it comes to your health, it can be easy to get caught up in the latest headlines about what’s “good” or “bad.” We can get so caught up in the headlines that sometimes the basics get pushed back and forgotten. But the basics are the bedrock of your health, so let’s talk about cholesterol.

You could be suffering from high cholesterol and not even know it. It doesn’t have any signs or symptoms. It puts you at risk for heart disease and stroke, two of the leading causes of death in the United States. Any Lab Test Now makes it easy to know your cholesterol levels. We can also help you manage the disease. It all starts with knowing your risks… and your numbers.

CHOLESTEROL BOTH GOOD AND BAD

Believe it or not, some cholesterol is not only good to have… but necessary. Blood cholesterol is made by your body’s liver and it helps your body perform important jobs, such as making hormones and digesting fatty foods. Your body makes all of the blood cholesterol it needs, which is why experts recommend that people eat as little dietary cholesterol as possible. Dietary cholesterol is found in stuff like meat, seafood, poultry, eggs and dairy products. Your diet can be a huge risk factor when it comes to your chances of developing high cholesterol.

KNOWING YOUR RISK

When it comes to risk factors associated with high cholesterol, there are some things you can control and some that you can’t. For example:

Certain health conditions increase your risk. Obesity is a well-known risk factor, but so is having Type 2 diabetes.

Your age and gender play a role. As we get older, our bodies can’t clear cholesterol from our blood as efficiently, so just getting older increases your risks. Men tend to be at a high risk, no matter what age.

Genetics can be your friend or your foe. If you have a family history of high cholesterol, you are more likely to have it. Couple that with an unhealthy diet and you’re in for a double whammy!

Your lifestyle plays a huge role. When it comes to lifestyle risk factors, consider the big three — diet, exercise, and smoking. If your diet is high in unhealthy fats, your risk goes up. If you aren’t exercising, you can gain weight, which puts you at an increased risk. Smoking makes an already bad situation even worse by damaging your blood vessels, making them more likely to collect cholesterol’s fatty deposits!

Understanding your risks could make regular cholesterol testing an important part of your life. Any Lab Test Now offers a wide range of cholesterol testing designed to help you know exactly where you stand and whether your efforts to get your cholesterol under control are working.

GETTING YOUR CHOLESTEROL UNDER CONTROL

Our most basic panel is the Cholesterol (Lipid) Panel. This simple test will help you determine if you have abnormal cholesterol or triglyceride levels. With one blood draw, we can provide you with some serious health information that can truly make a huge difference in your life. You don’t need an appointment, but you do have to fast for this test for 10–12 hours prior, so it does take a small amount of planning. It’s worth it!

MANAGING YOUR RISKS

Now that you know your numbers, you and your doctor can make an informed decision about moving forward. You might start with simple lifestyle changes involving your diet and exercise habits. If those efforts don’t work or if your numbers are too high, your doctor may consider putting you on cholesterol-lowering medication. Our Cholesterol Medication Maintenance Panel checks your current cholesterol levels, so you’ll know if your treatment is effective. And since some medications have possible side effects, the panel also checks liver functions.

Any Lab Test Now is constantly updating and reviewing the top-quality tests that we offer. We work hard to strike a balance between keeping up with the latest breakthroughs, but also remembering the basics of good health. If you’re at an increased risk of developing high cholesterol, come in and talk with one of our lab experts. We’re here to help you take control of your health.

Thinking About January, And We Haven’t Even Made It Through The Holidays!

I’ve already caught myself already thinking ahead to the new year, about my resolutions.  It might be because I stuffed myself at Thanksgiving and every party I go to has tons of amazing food and of course, cocktails.  I jump on the scale and just watch the digital numbers bump up ever so slightly each time (knowing even a little jump every day will eventually add up…).

So, now I reason with myself that if I at least plan for January, I’ll be ready to take off any weight gained early in the game and take better care of me.  Right… is that the guilt factor speaking to me?

So, here’s my plan to make it through the holidays:

  • I went and got my B-12 Shot to increase my energy.  I’m now ready to juggle everything I need to do to get ready for the holidays AND still have the energy to exercise (that is, as long as I make the time).
  • I need to get my cholesterol and glucose checked so I have a baseline after the new year.  With all the butter, sugar and other good ‘ole down-home food my family slaps on the table, I can only imagine what my results might look like after the first of the year.  Knowing where I am now may help keep me in check…
  • I will jump on my elliptical trainer at least 5 times per week.  I will, I will, I will!
  • Salad will become my best friend when I am not attending a holiday function.

Then, after January 1, I am going to make a new year’s resolution that works, and knowing my health on the inside as well as seeing how I look on the outside is what’s going to drive me to continue past January 31, the normal “end” to those resolutions we set for ourselves.

What is your holiday plan to Take Control of Your Health™?