Signs of Menopause and Tests to Tell if You’re There

As women get older, they are faced with the inevitable — menopause. The average age for a woman to go through menopause is 50, but it can begin as early as her 30s or as late as her 60s. This can be an alarming time for some women, full of changes and new things to get used to, but it doesn’t have to be scary. There are many ways to help cope with the challenges of menopause, as well things to be excited about as you enter a new phase of your life. If you think you may be approaching menopause, here are some signs to look out for:

Probably the most obvious sign of menopause is beginning to have irregular periods once you reach a certain age. Once a woman hits menopause, her periods will stop altogether; so during the time before menopause (perimenopause), periods will become lighter and less frequent — only occurring once every few months. However, it is still possible for a woman to become pregnant during perimenopause. If you are approaching menopausal age and haven’t had your period in several months, you may want to take a pregnancy test, just to be sure.

Hot Flashes
Hot flashes are the most common symptom of a woman entering menopause. Hot flashes are sudden feelings of warmth, typically centered around the face, neck and chest. They may also cause redness of the skin and profuse sweating, leaving you chilled afterward. In some women, hot flashes can occur only a few times a day, and for others, they can happen several times an hour.

Night Sweats and Trouble Sleeping
Women entering menopause may also experience night sweats, which are essentially hot flashes that occur during sleep, causing excessive perspiration. Additionally, some women experience insomnia around the time of menopause due to changing hormone levels as well as other age-related sleep disturbances, such as an increased likelihood of sleep apnea.

Mood Changes
Many women approaching menopause experience mood changes. This can include feelings of moodiness, depressed moods, anxiety, stress or a decreased sense of well-being. This may be the result of changing hormones, significant feelings of stress due to other perimenopausal symptoms or any number of reasons in an aging woman’s life.

Weight Gain, Thinning Hair and Dry Skin
A few other signs that you are entering the menopausal stage of your life are weight gain due to a slowed metabolism, thinning hair and dry skin. However, these things can sometimes be seen in aging people regardless of gender or menopause. If you are experiencing these signs in addition to any of the ones listed above, you may want to get your hormone levels tested to find out for sure if you are approaching menopause.

At Any Lab Test Now, we have several tests that might help you to determine if you are entering menopause. Our Menopause Screening Panel is your best resource for discovering if you are going through menopause. You may also consider getting a Saliva Hormone Test, which can help determine if you have any hormone imbalances that could be affecting your daily life. Taking steps to manage a hormone imbalance can be a huge relief to a woman during menopause, especially if she is experiencing any severe symptoms. Once you have the answers you need, you can finally have some peace of mind about what is happening to your body and start to enjoy this new phase of your life!

PSA Testing – Why You Need To Get Checked

You feel young and healthy; you’re in your 30s or 40s and still in the prime of your life. You get regular medical checkups, but anything more comprehensive than that hasn’t really crossed your mind. You’re too young to be thinking about special screenings and tests. After all, 40 is the new 30, right? Well, you might want to think again. Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death among American men. But the good news is it’s 100 percent treatable if caught early. Most men don’t think about getting tested before the age of 50, and while Medicare and other insurance plans cover screenings for men 50 and up, the younger guys are left out in the cold. And for some, getting tested earlier could have saved their lives.

The prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test is the best way to catch prostate cancer in its earlier stages. In a nutshell, PSA is a substance made by the gland cells in the prostate (both normal cells and cancer cells). The PSA blood test will measure your PSA levels, and if they are elevated, it may indicate prostate cancer or prostatitis (an enlarged prostate). Most men have a PSA level under 4 nanograms per milliliter when they are healthy. However, the risk of prostate cancer increases as your PSA level increases. If your PSA level is about 4 but below 10, you have about a one in four chance of having prostate cancer. But if your PSA level is above 10, your chances increase to around 50 percent, according to the American Cancer Society.

Here are a few reasons why men should consider being screened earlier for prostate cancer:
You Have a Family History. Like many other forms of cancer, prostate cancer tends to run in families. If you have a father or a brother with the disease, your chances of developing it are almost double. Actually, if you have a brother who developed prostate cancer, your chances are even higher than if your father had it. Your risks go up the more family members you have that had or have prostate cancer. If you have a family history of prostate cancer, you should definitely be getting tested early and regularly.

To Establish a Baseline. No matter what age you are, all men should get a PSA test. It’s important to establish a PSA “baseline,” so that you can, over time, monitor any changes in your PSA levels. Get tested even if you are below the age of 40 so you know what your normal PSA level is. Then doctors can use that for comparison in the future. Proactive blood testing like this can help you monitor your levels and possibly detect and treat disease before it’s too late.

For Continual Monitoring. Since the exact cause of prostate cancer is unknown, there are no current guidelines for preventing prostate cancer. You may be thinking, “If I can’t be proactive in preventing prostate cancer, what can I do?” The answer is simple; you need to keep an eye on the situation with regular testing. The probability of finding prostate cancer early is high because the disease usually progresses very slowly. If you are at a higher risk, start getting regular tests at the age of 40. If you are at a lower risk, start getting regular tests at the age of 50. Get tested every year after the age of 40 if you have more than one risk factor for prostate cancer or your PSA levels naturally sit a higher level.

Not only can prostate cancer be caught early, but it has amazing survival rates when you do catch it early. For those who catch the disease while it is still in the prostate, the five-year survival rate is 100 percent. Even if you catch the cancer after it has spread to the surrounding areas of the prostate — but before it spreads elsewhere — the five-year survival rate is still 100 percent. However, if the cancer isn’t caught until it travels to distant parts of the body beyond the prostate, the five-year survival rate drops to just 28 percent. So, if you’re above the age of 40 and have one or more risk factors, it’s important to get tested regularly to keep an eye out for the beginnings of prostate cancer.

Talk to our medical assistants at Any Lab Test Now about getting a PSA Test today! Now is the time to take control of your prostate health. If you wait, it could be too late.

Okay, Gentlemen. It is Time To Get Tested

This upcoming week, June 13th-19th, is nationally recognized as Men’s Health Week. Designated as a week-long opportunity to raise awareness on the responsibility men have to monitor their health, Any Lab Test Now® is challenging all of our male readers to begin to Take Control of Your Health® by learning exactly what kind of shape your current health is in and how you can start to improve it.

So, where do we fit in the picture? Our lab testing services include a wide range of men’s health specific tests. Whether you’re looking for a basic check-up or a more particular health issue test, we have what will meet your needs. Take a look at some of our men’s health-focused tests and see if there is one you could benefit from having.

Comprehensive Male Panel

This panel provides men with valuable knowledge that speaks to their overall health. After receiving this set of tests, a man will understand his current risk for:

  • coronary heart disease

  • stroke

  • liver and kidney failure

  • blood disorders

  • prostate cancer

  • thyroid conditions

Men’s Heart Health Panel

This panel will give a man a clear picture of his overall heart health. This panel will help identify a man’s risk for:

  • cardiovascular heart disease

  • low blood count and electrolyte levels

  • kidneyand liver conditions

  • cholesterol abnormalities

  • diabetes

Continued Testosterone Replacement Therapy Panel

This panel is very helpful for men who are taking androgen/testosterone replacements. The results from this panel will give a man a clear understanding of how effective his treatments are and how they are affecting his entire body. If a man taking testosterone replacements has too much of the hormone in his body, he can be at risk of developing serious health issues including:

  • prostate cancer

  • blood clots

  • stroke

  • sleep apnea

The above three tests are just a few of the many men’s health related tests that we offer. Take a look at our full list of male-specific lab testing services and give your local Any Lab Test Now® a call today to learn more about how we can help you begin to Take Control of Your Health® during National Men’s Health Week.

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.

What Your Feet Reveal About Your Health

Our feet have a full-time job. They hold us up all day long, day in and day out. They constantly support us no matter what we are doing — except when we’re sitting, of course. But what you may not know is that our feet can actually do so much more for us. They can be a signal for you when something is wrong somewhere else in your body. Are you ready to start feeling like your best self? Take a look at your feet. All you have to do is know the signs and pay attention.

Hairless Feet or Toes

Have your friends always marveled at your completely hairless feet and toes? This may seem like a dream come true for some, but you may want to pay a little more attention to those smooth steppers. Completely hair-free feet could be an indicator of poor circulation, which in turn can be a sign of vascular disease. But how can you know for sure? If the pulse in your ankles feels weak or you can’t feel it at all, it may be time to talk to your doctor.

Spoon-Shaped Toenails

If your toenails turn upward at the ends, forming a concave spoon shape, this may be a sign that you have iron-deficiency anemia. This occurs when there is not enough hemoglobin in the blood, which helps transport oxygen throughout the body. Other symptoms may include fatigue, dizziness, shortness of breath and headaches. If your toenails appear spoon-shaped, and you exhibit any of these other symptoms, it is recommended that you get tested for anemia.

Numbness

If your feet feel numb a lot — and not just from sitting for too long — there could be some more serious issues at play. Tingling or the inability to feel your feet at all could mean there is damage to your nervous system. This could be a warning sign of diabetes, so be sure to consult your doctor if you experience this symptom.

Cold Feet

Cold feet? It might not just be the temperature. This could be a sign of many things, including poor blood circulation and anemia. The most serious indication, however, is hypothyroidism. Other symptoms of an improperly functioning thyroid include dry skin, fatigue and weight gain. While the most immediate relief will come from bundling up those toes, hypothyroidism is best handled by a medical professional. If any or all of these symptoms sound familiar, it might be time to get tested.

A Swollen Big Toe

Has your big toe suddenly become red, sore and twice its usual size? This is a pretty sure warning sign that you have gout, a form of arthritis caused by too much uric acid in the body. At lower temperatures, uric acid crystallizes, and your outer extremities, especially your feet, tend to have the lowest temperatures of any spot in your body; hence, the swelling in your big toe.This can be a painful condition, so if you are showing signs of gout, it is best to talk to your doctor as soon as possible.

So what are you waiting for? Check out those toes! What are yourfeet tellingyou? What they have to say just might help you improve your health in the long run.

Poisoning: A Leading Cause of Unintentional Injuries.

Did you know that unintentional injuries are the fifth leading cause of death in the United States today? Car crashes, drownings, and house fires are just a few examples of unforeseen accidents that could have been avoided had those involved been aware of the safety hazards around them and cautionary with their own actions. What seems to be the most surprising is that one of the top places for an unintentional injury to occur is inside the home. Do you know what it could be from?

Every year, poison control centers receive about 2.2 million calls seeking help for poisoning that occurred while the person was in their home. In many cases, the individual was unintentionally poisoned after ingesting drugs or chemicals found in their own house. Cleaning products, personal care products, prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications are all familiar substances found in most homes, yet can be a major risk for unintentional poisoning if they are not stored in safe places and handled with care while in use.

The National Safety Council suggests taking these precautionary steps to ensure that medicines are put away safely in the home:

  • Make sure the safety cap is locked, listen for the click.

  • Ask visitors to lock and put away suitcases or purses containing medications.

  • Program the poison control number, (800) 222-1222, in your home and cell phones.

  • Safely dispose of leftover and unwanted medications.

For information on poisons and toxins, contact your local Any Lab Test Now®. We offer a wide range of lab testing services including our Unknown Poisons and Toxins Analysis that can test for over 600 different chemicals, poisons and toxic substances like pesticides, painting and cleaning products as well as hygiene-type products. Call us today and let us help you take action towards a safe and healthy you.

Parents, Do You And Your Teen Know The Dangers and Relationship Between Prescription Painkillers and Heroin Abuse?

As a parent, it is incredible to sit back and think how far the world of medicine has come since you were a child. Thanks to the speed of technology and growing medical research, it seems like there is a medicine for everything nowadays. While we can be thankful for the advancements that have been made, it is important as parents that we make sure our children are aware of the pros and cons associated with medicine… in particular, prescription drugs.

Did you know that heroin abuse is closely linked to prior use of prescribed painkillers? Also referred to asopioiddrugs, painkillers have an agent in theirmake-upthat has a tendency to induce tolerance in the person taking the drug. Because of this, a person taking a prescribed painkiller will over time begin to feel like the drug is not responding as strongly as it once did. They then become dependent and begin to experience severe withdrawal symptoms. This series of events causes the person to start desiring a stronger, more addictive drug leading them to heroin use. Why heroin, you ask? Heroin is much like a painkiller in that it provides the same satisfying effects, yet it is cheaper than prescribed painkillers and mainly sold on public streets making it easier to obtain. However, what makes heroin different from painkillers is that it is extremely addictive and has a high likelihood of overdose; making it one of the most dangerous drugs out there today.

Take a look at this interactive tool the Medicine Abuse Project designed to help illustrate how a young person after surgery is prescribed a painkiller by her doctor and how a harmless situation like that can translate into an addiction to heroin. Now you can understand that it is no wonder reports are showing that nearly half of all young people who are using heroin today started off by using prescription painkillers.

So the question is, what can you do as a parent? The most important thing to do first is to have an open conversation with your teens about proper use of medicine and the risk of abusing prescription drugs. Take a minute to look through the medicine cabinet or drawer in your house and dispose properly of any unused medicines. Safeguard the prescriptions you do use by keeping them in a secure place. If you think your child may have dependenceon a medicine, call the Parents Toll Free Helpline and contact your doctor immediately. For more information regarding prescription drug abuse and how to keep your family safe, visit the Medicine Abuse Project’s website, a campaign catered to providing resourcesto parents and young adults focused on preventing millions of teens from becoming subject to drug abuse.

As a supportive partner withthe Medicine Abuse Project, Any Lab Test Now® is committed to providing you with preventative resources and quality testing toyou and your family. Contact your local Any Lab Test Now® today to learn more about our involvement with the Medicine Abuse Project and the services we can provide to help you and your teens when it comes to safe drug use.

Celiac Disease: Do You Know the Facts?

What is Celiac Disease?

Estimated to affect 1 in 100 people worldwide, celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder in which the immune system directs antibodies to attack the body against gluten, a protein found in grains. When a person with celiac disease eats a food containing gluten, their body mounts an immune response to damage the small intestines causing improper absorption of the gluten nutrient.

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms of celiac disease include, but are not limited to:

  • Digestive problems (diarrhea, gas pain, abdominal bloating)
  • Dermatitis herpetiformis, a severe skin rash
  • Muscle cramps
  • Joint and bone pain
  • Mouth sores or ulcers
  • Fatigue
  • Weight Loss
  • Missed menstrual periods

What are the long-term health effects?

If left untreated, celiac disease can lead to serious long-term health problems including anemia, osteoporosis, infertility, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, neurological conditions and intestinal cancers.

What are the treatments?

At this time, the only treatment for those living with celiac disease is a lifelong adherence to a strict gluten-free diet. This means avoiding any foods containing wheat, rye and barley; all of which contain the protein, gluten.

Do I have celiac disease?

The only way for a person to truly know if they have celiac disease is to get tested. The test will detect if antibodies (triggered by the presence of gluten) are present in the body. If so, that person is said to have tested positive for celiac disease. Because of this detection process, in order to receive proper testing, a person needs to have been ingesting gluten products for several weeks prior to the test.

If you think you may have celiac disease, contact your local Any Lab Test Now® today and schedule a Celiac Disease Panel. Our quality testing services and trained staff will help you begin to Take Control of Your Health® and equip you to live a healthy, gluten-free lifestyle if needed.

Hepatitis: Understanding the Risks and Prevention Steps

First established in 2001 by the Center of Disease Control and Prevention, Hepatitis Awareness Month continues to serve as a month-long campaign in May centered to raising awareness of Hepatitis. Defined as inflammation of the liver, Hepatitis can occur due to heavy alcohol use, intake of certain drugs or toxins, a bacterial infection and/or viral infection. There are three major forms of Hepatitis: Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, and Hepatitis C.  In the United States today, up to 5.3 million Americans have chronic Hepatitis B or Hepatitis C infection and about 75% of the infected population are unaware that they are infected.

What is Hepatitis A?

Hepatitis A is a liver disease caused by the Hepatitis A virus (HAV). In these cases, the liver swells and is unable to work properly. The HAV virus is most commonly spread in situations where a person has not washed their hands before preparing or eating food, has not washed their hands after using the restroom, or has eaten raw or undercooked shellfish that came from waters polluted by sewage.

Out of the three types of Hepatitis, Hepatitis A is the least serious and can be prevented through vaccination. Other ways to prevent spreading include washing of the hands before preparing and eating food, and after use of the restroom.

What is Hepatitis B?

Similar to Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B is a liver disease caused by the Hepatitis B virus which also causes the liver to swell and not work properly. Those at risk include anyone who has come in direct contact with HBV-infected bodily fluids (through blood, semen and/or vaginal secretions).

Hepatitis B is, in general, more serious than Hepatitis A and if left untreated, can lead to cirrhosis of the liver, liver cancer and liver failure. Again, vaccination is the best way to prevent this infection. Other ways to stop the spread of HBV include practicing safe sex, not sharing needles, razors, toothbrushes or other personal items, and talking with your doctor, dentist and other healthcare providers.

What is Hepatitis C?

Hepatitis C is caused by the Hepatitis C virus which infects the liver. This disease is spread primarily through contact with the blood of an infected person. Compared to Hepatitis A and B, Hepatitis C is the most life-threatening disease among the three forms and is the only form yet to have a vaccine available for prevention.

Those most at risk include people who have shared needles to inject drugs, had unsterile equipment used on them when receiving a tattoo, were born to a mother with HCV, or  have had unprotected sex with multiple partners.

If you think you may be at risk of Hepatitis, we at Any Lab Test Now® are here to help. Our Hepatitis Panel tests for the three common variations of Hepatitis discussed above: Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, and Hepatitis C.  Upon receiving your lab test results, you and your doctor will have the information you’ll need to have a clear understanding of your current health and how to move forward. Contact us today to schedule your appointment and let us help you begin to Take Control of Your Health®.

What Are Your Plans for National Women’s Health Week?

Attention, ladies! Have you been doing all that you can to make sure your health is a top priority in your life? We know life can get busy and trying to find time to exercise and fit in doctor appointments may not exactly be on the top of your to-do list. However, half of the work in maintaining good health is being proactive with it. That’s why Any Lab Test Now® is taking a stand on women’s health and encouraging all women to make a step towards the betterment of their health during National Women’s Health Week: May 10-16, 2015.

Not sure where to start? Take a look at the following helpful tips that women of all ages can benefit from. Choose one or two that would make the most positive impacts in your current health and begin to see a glimpse of how good it can feel when you start placing your health at the top of your to-do list, instead of at the bottom!

Be a smart patient. Attend your regular check-ups and don’t be afraid to ask your doctor questions. No one should know your body better than yourself. It’s your responsibility to gain all the knowledge you can on what you can do to ensure that the future of your health is a bright one.

Listen to your heart. Heart disease is the number one killer of both men and women in the United States. Monitor your cholesterol levels and take part in daily exercise to help keep your heart in good shape!

Watch your blood sugar. Continuous high blood pressure is one of the most common early detectors of diabetes. Keep your blood sugar levels in check by incorporating a diet high in fiber, full of fruits, vegetables and healthy carbs.

Sleep, sleep, sleep. Doctors advise that adults should get at least 7-8 hours of sleep each night. Those who do not get enough hours of sleep each night can be at risk of weight gain and higher stress levels.

Take control. One of the greatest ways a woman can be empowered to take control is by knowing and understanding the current state of her own personal health. Tests like the Comprehensive Female Panel and Women’s Basic Check-up Panel are just two of many lab testing services that have been customized to equip women with the knowledge they need in order to do just that.

Contact your local Any Lab Test Now® today to learn more about the wide range of lab testing services we offer to help empower women with knowledge of their health. Take advantage of National Women’s Health Week and use it as a starting point for your journey towards a healthier, happier you!