Cholesterol Testing: What’s Your Number?

 

Cholesterol plaque in artery

If you suffer from high cholesterol, or have a family history of high cholesterol, you know first-hand that numbers are important. Monitoring your cholesterol numbers can mean the difference between life and death — as high cholesterol increases your risk for heart disease, stroke and other dangerous health conditions. As you may already know, a total cholesterol level of 200 mg/dL or below is considered ideal, while a number above 200 mg/dL may be cause for concern.

 

Types of Cholesterol

To get the full picture of your cholesterol health, there are several numbers you need to know. Total cholesterol measures the total amount of cholesterol in your blood, including LDL and HDL. In general, the lower your total cholesterol number is, the better.

LDL, which stands for low-density lipoprotein, is “bad” cholesterol. Too much LDL can cause buildup and blockages in the arteries, which can slow or even stop blood flow throughout the body. An LDL level of less than 100 mg/dL is best for optimal health.

HDL, which stands for high-density lipoprotein, is “good” cholesterol. This type of cholesterol actually helps remove cholesterol from your arteries, preventing buildup and blockages. In general, the higher your HDL level, the better, and any number over 60 mg/dL is considered healthy.

Know Your Number

Getting tested regularly is an important part of maintaining your cholesterol levels, especially if you struggle with high cholesterol or suffer from conditions relating to high cholesterol, such as diabetes or heart disease. Cigarette smoking, a poor diet, obesity, diabetes, a lack of exercise and a family history are all factors that can raise your risk of having high cholesterol and the dangerous health conditions that can develop as a result. If you are unsure of your cholesterol levels, think you may be at risk of high cholesterol, or if you are already taking medication to treat high cholesterol, it is important to get tested. Knowing your cholesterol numbers could save your life because it helps identify worrisome changes and prompts you to make lifestyle adjustments to protect your health.

Cholesterol Testing

There are several options for getting your cholesterol tested at Any Lab Test Now.

The Cholesterol Medication Maintenance Panel is ideal for patients who are already taking medication for high cholesterol, or for those needing their cholesterol and liver function tested on a regular basis. It is also perfect for those interested in knowing their cholesterol level, providing patients and their doctors with the information they need to make certain health decisions.

The Lipid Panel is an excellent option for those concerned about their cholesterol levels as well as their heart health. And for those interested in a more comprehensive look at their health, the Basic Check-Up Panel, Comprehensive Male Panel and Comprehensive Female Panel are all options that include cholesterol testing.

Talk with your physician and the experts at Any Lab Test Now to learn which cholesterol testing options are right for you.

Have you checked your numbers lately? Knowing your numbers is important, especially when it comes to your health. Take control of your health by scheduling an appointment to get your cholesterol tested today, and start feeling healthier tomorrow.

Solutions for Those with High Deductibles or No Insurance

If you don’t have insurance or have a high deductible and have difficulty affording healthcare, there are still options for you to get tests done and make your health a priority. Any Lab Test Now offers a multitude of tests at low prices and convenient times, and you don’t even need insurance to use their services.

No Insurance Necessary

If you are currently uninsured, it can be difficult and pricey to get medical attention. Any Lab Test Now will provide you with the tests you need, no insurance required. Now, you don’t have to worry about skipping a blood test or ignoring possible allergies. All tests are available to you, regardless of your insurance status.

In addition, if you will be paying for your test out-of-pocket, you can use your health savings account (HSA) or flexible spending account (FSA) for payment.

Low Prices

A lot of people skip their medical exams because they are overpriced. Any Lab Test Now offers tests at the lowest prices possible, ensuring that anyone can get tested and focus on their health. Patients are not charged excessive fees or high deductibles for their tests; instead, they are offered the same quality tests as other testing centers for an affordable price that can fit most budgets.

Easily Accessible

When cost is an issue, it’s easy to make excuses for skipping medical tests. It’s easy to blame the distance to the office or the time spent in a waiting room for not getting tested. After all, time spent on medical test can mean time spent away from work.

Fortunately, Any Lab Test Now understands this. Our locations are spread across the country and located in places where people work and live. You can easily find your local Any Lab Test Now and get started with your tests. You can also get your tests done in a convenient amount of time, so you don’t have to worry about sitting in a waiting room and wasting a whole day. Patients can, generally, have tests completed in 15 minutes or less and there is no appointment required. The locations are typically open at convenient times that will fit your schedule, including Saturdays, so you don’t even need to take time off during the work week.
Any Lab Test Now offers a service that allows you to prioritize your health. You can get any of the tests offered without insurance and at a low price. Now, there are no excuses to not get tested. Anyone can take charge of their health and get tests completed, even if they are uninsured or on a tight budget.

Are You Getting a Good Night’s Rest?

Whether you like to be curled up under a pile of blankets, buried under a mountain of pillows, or free from constrictive bedding, a good night’s sleep is essential to your health. In fact, quality sleep is as critical as proper diet and exercise. It is a key factor in immune function, metabolism, memory, and learning; yet, more than a third of United States adults do not get enough sleep.

 

Insufficient Sleep

Insufficient sleep is on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) radar and has been labeled a public health concern. So, what constitutes a successful night of slumber? The CDC recommends at least seven hours per night for adults and even more for teens and children. In a 2014 survey, only 65 percent of Americans reported a healthy sleep duration. Incredibly, 12 percent reported sleeping less than five hours and 23 percent reported only six hours per night.

Sleep Quality

While the number of hours of sleep is important to restoring and revitalizing your body, the National Sleep Foundation’s new report presents sleep quality differently. It recommends that you strive for these four bedtime accomplishments:

  • Sleeping 85 percent of the time you spend in bed
  • Falling asleep in 30 minutes or less
  • Waking up no more than once a night
  • Falling back asleep within 20 minutes

Impacts of Too Little Sleep

Too little sleep negatively impacts both your physical and mental health. Lack of sleep can contribute to a variety of serious medical issues, including obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes. In the immediate future, it can also contribute to motor vehicle and other accidents because you are not as alert as you would be if you were well rested and may have impaired judgement. Additionally, long-term sleeplessness can contribute to forgetfulness, depression, and anxiety.

At Any Lab Test Now, there is an option to help you determine if you are suffering from insomnia. The Sleep Balance Take Home Hormone Kit can help find the possible causes of disturbed sleep. The kit is a simple urine test that measures melatonin and cortisol. Melatonin is the hormone that helps to regulate when the body should be asleep vs. awake. Cortisol is produced in response to stress to keep your body on-guard, but should naturally decline at night: if it does not, your body can have trouble calming itself. As the test helps you better understand what is preventing a restful slumber, you can work with your doctor to mitigate these issues.

Talk to our experts at Any Lab Test Now to learn more about the test and how to improve your sleep cycle for optimal health and wellness.

Get Tested During Colon Cancer Awareness Month

Have You Been Tested for Colon Cancer? If Not, Should You Consider It?

March is Colon Cancer Awareness Month, and despite this yearly designation, many people still don’t know about the dangers of colon cancer. A cancer diagnosis is always scary, but if found early, colon cancer is one of the most treatable cancers out there. With screening and early detection, colon cancer patients can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that they have a 90 percent chance of survival, and that number is increasing every year. But if all this is true, why is colon cancer the second-leading cause of cancer death in those aged 50 and older?

Early Detection Saves Lives!

Colon cancer is one of the most treatable cancers in the U.S. today, yet it remains the second-leading cause of cancer death in U.S. adults aged 50 and older. This is because nearly a third of adults are skipping their recommended screenings. These screenings are vital to your health, as finding colon cancer early will significantly increase your chance of survival and recovery. Even adults under 50 years of age should consider this screening if they have a family history of colon cancer.

It’s important to pay attention to your risk factors to assess if it’s a good idea to get tested. Risk factors for colon cancer include:

  • Being over 50 years of age
  • Having a family history of polyps or colon cancer
  • Having a personal history of cancer
  • Having a condition that causes inflammation of the colon, such as Crohn’s Disease
  • Smoking cigarettes
  • High fat and low fiber diet

If you identify with any of the risk factors above, even just being over 50 years of age, it’s time to consider your options for colon cancer testing.

Getting Tested at Any Lab Test Now

Any Lab Test Now is partnering with Colon Cancer Alliance to help stop colon cancer deaths for good. During Colon Cancer Awareness Month, we urge those over 50 years of age and those with a family history of colon cancer to get tested. That’s because the best way to beat colon cancer is to find it early through testing. Testing could save your life.

To make testing easier and more discreet, Any Lab Test Now offers the Colorectal Cancer At-Home Screening Test. The test evaluates stool samples that are collected at home and sent in to the lab. The lab then determines if there is any blood in the stool that may signal colon cancer.

Help us beat colon cancer by taking charge of your health! Knowing your risk factors, knowing your family history and talking with your physician about the right time to be screened is your best, and easiest, tool for preventing colon cancer.

Contact the experts at Any Lab Test Now today to learn what testing options are right for you.

How Can You Help?

Help us raise money for colon cancer research by hearing our personal story and donating to the MICHELLE FIELDS TRIBUTE PAGE. All proceeds go to the Colon Cancer Alliance.

Donate today: www.anylabtestnow.com/donate

 

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 5 Best Tests to Use Your FSA On

altn-dec-newsletter-sized-fsaHSA and FSA accounts can help you budget for your healthcare, and ensure you always have the money you need to pay for any unexpected health events. But if you still have money in your FSA, it will expire at the end of the year. Instead of letting your money vanish, put it to use by getting some testing or immunizations you’ve been putting off. Wrap up lingering health concerns now so you can start fresh in the new year.

Allergy Test
The holidays coincide with peak cold and flu season, but if your sniffles won’t go away, you might look into allergy testing. Up to 50 million Americans suffer from allergies. If you experience emotional or physical reactions after you eat, or if you frequently have symptoms like a stuffy nose or trouble breathing, you might have an allergy to something you ate. The Allergy Test goes through as many as 45 different foods and 45 environmental triggers to identify the root of your symptoms.

Intolerance Test
If you’ve been noticing symptoms that aren’t associated with an allergic reaction, then you might have a food intolerance. If you experience fatigue, gas or diarrhea, depression or anxiety, weight gain or a general chronic discomfort, you may want to get a food intolerance test. This becomes especially important as you grow older, because you can develop new food sensitivities or intolerances later in life.

Blood Cortisol Test
If your stress levels are through the roof, the holiday season will likely only make it worse — it can seem like your to-do list never ends! To see if your stress is starting to cause problems for your body, get a blood cortisol test. High levels of cortisol are dangerous, because over time they can lead to high blood pressure, inflammation, compromised immune response and weight gain.

Thyroid Test
The holiday meals sure are delicious, but do you know what isn’t so great? The holiday pounds. If your weight gain tends to stick around a bit too long after the holidays, you should get your thyroid tested. Your thyroid controls metabolic activity, which is vital for maintaining a healthy weight. Poor thyroid health is associated with symptoms like fatigue, short attention span, weight gain and numbness or cold intolerance. Thyroid disorders can also cause conditions like osteoporosis and heart disease.

Proof of Immunizations
Are you traveling for the holidays or early next year? The first thing on your list should be to make sure your immunizations are up-to-date, which you can do by getting a proof of immunization test. These tests ensure that you have gotten the immunizations you need and provide valid paperwork to prove that you are immunized, which can be helpful if you’ve lost any documentation.

Don’t wait for the new year to address your lingering health concerns. If you have an FSA that is going to expire soon, get the important lab tests you need before 2017! For more information, visit your local Any Lab Test Now.

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!

Have heartburn? You might want to check for Helicobacter Pylori (H. Pylori)

Helicobacter pylori. You’ve probably never heard of this crazy-sounding word, but it may be closer to you than you think! Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) is a potentially dangerous bacteria that thrives in the acidic environment of the stomach. It can cause painful symptoms, including stomach pain, nausea and even heartburn. Yes, that’s right. These common symptoms could actually be caused by an H. pylori infection in your stomach! So if you have frequent heartburn, it’s time to put down the antacids and find out what’s really going on!

What Is Heartburn?
Heartburn is a burning pain in your chest, right behind the breastbone. Typically, the pain is worse when lying down or bending over. Occasional heartburn is incredibly common and can usually be reduced through lifestyle changes and over-the-counter medications. However, if you are experiencing frequent heartburn, especially if it interferes with your daily routine, this may be a symptom of something more serious. If you have any of these symptoms, you may want to talk to your doctor about other possible causes of your heartburn, including the H. pylori bacteria:

  • Your heartburn occurs more than twice a week
  • Your symptoms continue despite use of over-the-counter heartburn medications
  • You have difficulty swallowing
  • You have frequent nausea or vomiting
  • You have lost weight because of poor appetite or difficulty eating

Could You Have A Helicobacter Pylori Infection?
Helicobacter pylori is a type of bacteria that can infect your stomach and is a common cause of peptic ulcers. In fact, while many try to blame their ulcers on stress or spicy food, 80 percent of stomach ulcers and 90 percent of duodenal ulcers (in the upper end of the small intestines) are caused by H. pylori. The H. pylori bacteria may also cause gastritis and even gastric (stomach) cancer.

Most people with an H. pylori infection never have any signs or symptoms, so they don’t realize they have it. However, if you develop signs of a peptic ulcer, you may have the infection. When symptoms do occur they can include:

  • Pain (an ache or burning) in your abdomen, just under the ribs
  • Abdominal pain that becomes worse when your stomach is empty
  • Loss of appetite and unintentional weight loss
  • Nausea
  • Frequent burping, heartburn and indigestion
  • Bloating

Should I Get Tested For H. Pylori?
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms listed above, you should consider getting tested for H. pylori. Any Lab Test Now offers several testing options if you suspect you may have an H. pylori infection or are suffering from chronic heartburn and want to know why:

  • The H. Pylori Stool Test can be used to detect the presence of the H. pylori antigen in stool specimens.
  • There is also a Urea Breath Test (UBT), which can be used to indirectly detect the presence of H. pylori urease by measuring carbon dioxide in the patient’s breath.

Both the Stool Test and Urea Breath Test are recommended by both the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) and the American College of Gastroenterology (ACG) as non-invasive tests for diagnosis and confirmation of eradication.

If you are suffering from chronic heartburn, you need to talk to your doctor or gastroenterologist before it’s too late. H. pylori is a highly destructive bacterium that can lead to ulcers, gastritis and even stomach cancer. Talk to the experts at Any Lab Test Now to find out how you can get tested for H. pylori and end your heartburn suffering, once and for all!

*Some locations are unable to offer the H. pylori blood test, so please check with your local Any Lab Test Now to learn about your testing options.

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.