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.

National Nutrition Month: Are you getting the nutrients your body needs?

In our world of fast-paced living, we understand how difficult it can be to eat healthy. On days where it seems like 24 hours isn’t enough, the idea of grabbing a #1 from the nearest fast-food restaurant seems like a good choice. Although it may seem smart at the time, our bodies depend on essential nutrients and those will not be found in the average “happy meal”.

Medical Daily recently referenced a study that researched the eating habits of Americans. Researchers from this study found that U.S.adults eat far more saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium than needed. They also found that most Americans do not meet their recommended daily levels of 10 essentialnutrients including vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin D, calcium and iron.  Lacking these proper nutrients can lead to severe deficiencies causing serious health problems like anemia, osteoporosis, depression and other chronic diseases.

With March being recognized as National Nutrition Month by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Any Lab Test Now® is joining with them to promote the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and exercise habits. One of the first steps you can take to Take Control of Your Health® is to determine if you might have a vitamin or mineral deficiency. Our Micronutrient Test will measure your body’s ability to absorb vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and other essential nutrients. This blood test will be able to tell you if you have a vitamin deficiency and if so, will give you a plan for how to correct it. Schedule an appointment with your local Any Lab Test Now® this March and get a clear picture of your current nutritional profile to help jumpstart your plan towards a healthier future.

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®.

Ladies, Say ‘I Love You’ This Valentine’s Day in a New Kind of Way

With Valentine’s Day soon approaching, many women are planning out the perfect way to show that special person in their life just how much they appreciate them. Ladies, instead of choosing to treat your other half to the always popular, romantic, candlelight dinner, show your love to them this year in a way that can last a lifetime…by taking care of your heart.

Did you know that heart disease is the No.1 killer of women, causing 1 in 3 deaths each year? Yet, what’s even more startling is that it is 80% preventable. By receiving a regular heart health screening, learning your risks, and managing those risks accordingly, you can avoid this deadly disease that impacts the lives of so many every day.

Go Red for Women is a nation-wide campaign created by the American Heart Association, designed to bring attention to the risk of heart disease in women, encourage women to receive heart health screenings and “lead the charge to end this deadly foe once and for all.” As an effort to raise awareness in the fight against this disease, all supporters of the Go Red for Women movement are asked to wear red on National Wear Red Day.

To show our support, participating Any Lab Test Now® locations will be decked out in red decorations throughout their store on National Wear Red Day, this Friday, February 6th. On this day only, the participating stores will also be offering 50% off various heart health lab tests including a Lipid Panel, VAP® Test, and PLAC® Test.

For this year’s Valentine’s Day, show the person you love just how much you care for them by caring for your heart. Schedule your heart health lab testing at your local Any Lab Test Now® now and remember to wear red on Friday, February 6th. Share photos of you in your red via Twitter @ALTNCorp and check our Facebook page after the event to see how all of our Any Lab Test Now® locations showed their support in the stores.

Women, Don’t Let Your Holiday Season Turn into a Stressful Season

Whether it’s preparing a platter full of baked goodies for the end-of-the-year party at your child’s school or cleaning and decorating the living room in time for your Christmas family dinner, the never-ending list of holiday “to-dos” can easily become a hassle instead of a pleasure. It is important during the hustle and bustle that women especially, sit back and avoid the stress that is so often associated with this time of year. It could do more for your health than you may think.

In a study performed by Dr. Wei Jiang of Duke University’s School of Medicine, researchers noticed that stress, including mental stress, may be more taxing on women’s hearts than compared to men’s. Jiang’s team analyzed the data of more than 300 Americans that encountered a series of stressful tasks. Researchers found that when stress levels rose, women were far more likely to have an ischemic episode than men. Ischemia is known as a dramatic reduction in blood flow to the heart and a major contributor to mortality from heart disease. The study concluded that 57% of women experienced ischemia compared to 41% of men.

So now the question is how can one destress? According to this list published by Harvard Medical School, some ways to destress include focusing on self nurturing via eating healthy food, reading amusing books, or committing to slow down your schedule just once a week.

At Any Lab Test Now®, we encourage all of our readers to manage their stress in a healthy manner, especially during the busy season of the holidays. To evaluate your overall heart health, schedule to have a Heart Health Panel done at an Any Lab Test Now ® near you. This panel will provide you with a clear picture of how well you’re heart is working and if you may be at risk for heart disease.

Why You Should Wear Red on Friday

Friday is an important day every year, and no it’s not because it’s time to remind your significant other that Valentine’s Day is next week (even though that’s not a bad idea). It’s National Wear Red Day and this year is especially significant as it marks the 10th birthday of the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women movement.

Watch the video and to see why this is such an important day. Heart disease tends to go unnoticed, so being aware is essential. Take the necessary steps to get to know what’s going on in your body and get you familiar with your overall heart health with ANY LAB TEST NOW®’s Lipid Panel, Vertical Auto Profile or VAP Test and PLAC Tests.

In support of raising awareness for women’s heart health, we’re giving you 50% OFF a VAP or PLAC test, only on February 7th, National Wear Red Day! This makes it easier than ever for you to Take Control of Your Health®.

We are hosting a contest of our own throughout the nation’s ANY LAB TEST NOW® locations. We are decking out our offices in red to raise awareness of Go Red for Women. Join us in supporting women’s heart health by wearing red on Friday and spreading the word. Send us photos of you in your red via Twitter @ALTNCorp.

Women’s Health: How to Make the Most of Your Options for Care

Apart from general health issues, women have multiple unique health care concerns throughout their lifespan.  Some of these concerns include pregnancy, menopause, breast and reproductive health, and though men and woman share a lot of the same general health concerns, they can affect women very differently.  Some of these differences are:

  • Heart Health40% of women do not survive their first heart attack
  • Mental Health – women are more likely to suffer from depression and anxiety
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases – the effects of STDs are more serious in women than in men
  • Bone Density – women make up 80% of the estimated 10 million Americans with osteoporosis
  • Lupus – women make up 9 out of 10 adults with Lupus

With all of this to consider, it is important for women to remain aware of their state of health with regular visits to the doctor and healthy lifestyle choices, but keeping all of these issues in check can be costly.  Between co-pays for doctor’s visits, the cost of lab work and the cost of the follow-up visit, a single check-up could run hundreds, if not thousands of dollars depending on access to health insurance and the level of coverage.   To help keep health care costs under control and understanding that women’s health needs are particular, Health Care Reform under the Affordable Care Act has declared a list of eight preventative health services just for women that are available with no cost-sharing or co-payment due upon visit to the doctor*.  These services became accessible to women on August 1, 2012 and include:

  1. Breastfeeding: access to breastfeeding supplies as well as comprehensive support and counseling from trained providers for pregnant and nursing women
  2. Contraception: Food and Drug Administration-approved contraceptive methods, sterilization procedures, and patient education and counseling
  3. Domestic and interpersonal violence: screening and counseling for all women
  4. Gestational diabetes: screening for women 24 to 28 weeks pregnant and those at high risk of developing gestational diabetes
  5. Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV): screening and counseling for sexually active women
  6. Human Papillomavirus (HPV) DNA Test: high risk HPV DNA testing every three years for women with normal cytology results who are 30 or older
  7. Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI): screening and counseling for sexually active women
  8. Well-woman visits: to obtain recommended preventive services

*Coverage by doctors within network. Check insurance coverage policies to confirm   Along with this increased standard of care it is also important for women to know that they have choices  when managing costs and their level of care.  For women with low-income that are possibly unable to afford health insurance, options such as Medicaid have been expanded to offer free or low-cost care, the Bronze plan is available within the Health Insurance Marketplace and covers 60% of health care costs with 40% of costs paid for out-of-pocket and Catastrophic Plans are available for those under 30 years of age and are considered healthy but want to have minimum coverage, “just in case.”  Eligibility for these plans depend on income and family size.  In addition, there are always Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) and Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) linked to high-deductable plans and cover most services such as lab tests, telemedicine services and prescriptions.   Simple tips for women that want to keep their health and cost for care in check are:

  • Make healthy lifestyle choices such as healthy eating habits and dedicating to regular, moderate exercise
  • Create a calendar for the year for all necessary, preventative “Well-Woman” services and include a budget for each visit
  • Pay for affordable services out of pocket, such as lab testing whenever possible
  • There is no longer any need to go to your doctor for a baseline of your health – pay for cholesterol, heart health, hormone and wellness tests out-of-pocket or with an HSA or FSA at your local affordable, direct access lab testing facility ANY LAB TEST NOW®.

Take Control of Your Health® and stay up-to-date on the latest in women’s health issues by visiting our site regularly at www.anylabtestnow.com, by “liking” our Facebook Page, or following us on Twitter, and Pinterest.

Sports & Adderall Abuse

In the world of sports, an athlete deals with a number of pressures besides winning or losing the game. Not only does the athlete have to make sure that he or she is in optimal physical condition in order to perform, but they also feel the pressure from teammates and the expectations of those who follow them. In a day and age when there seems to be a medicine available for just about everything, it is not surprising that people, including athletes, start experimenting and discovering alternative uses for such prescriptions.

An example of this is the infamous prescription drug, Adderall. Known as the “study drug”, for those who actually need it the drug becomes a medicine that helps them focus on the task at hand. For those who don’t need it, the drug becomes a powerful stimulant that can be used as a performance enhancer or a pick-me-up.

Since studies have shown that the drug improves handeye coordination, strength and acceleration, there’s no surprise as to why this specific drug has gained popularity amongst athletes.  To an athlete, Adderall gives them an edge with an energy boost in order to “rock” the game and go for the big win. The drug itself has become so popular in the world of sports that even national leagues like the NFL and the MLB as well as the NCAA have been forced to take action against those who test positive for the drug and have not been prescribed by a physician, resulting in a number of suspensions.

On many occasions, whether it be the desire to hang onto one’s youth or the constant pressure of needing to stay on top of your game, these athletes forget about the long-term side effects that a drug like Adderall could have on their health especially in those who don’t really need this prescription. The long-term side effects include risk of cardiovascular problems and stroke, depression, hostility and paranoia. Since May is National Physical Fitness and Sports Month, why not take the opportunity to help your athlete Take Control of Their Health and take a peek at their current state of health. ANY LAB TEST NOW® understands that achieving peak performance and optimal results takes more than just physical fitness. It’s a matter of getting the inside facts about your body’s true state of health.  In addition ANY LAB TEST NOW® can be your partner in making sure your athlete stays in tip-top shape without any enhancers through one of our many drug testing options.

During National Physical Fitness and Sports Month Take Control of Your Health® and your athletic career; whether you are an athlete or you manage one, having the opportunity to know what’s going on inside your body, empowers you to Take Control of Your Health® with a well-rounded, drug free, comprehensive health and wellness approach.  For more information visit www.anylabtestnow.com or stop by an ANY LAB TEST NOW® near you. Also, take the time to learn more about The Partnership at Drugfree.org’s Medicine Abuse Project, and help stop the abuse of prescription medications.

Have a Heart to Heart with Yourself

Have you ever received that phone call letting you know that a loved one or a dear friend has suffered a heart attack or stroke? The reality is that 1 in 3 women lose their lives to heart disease every year, making it the number 1 killer of women.  Why not change those odds and fight the good fight against heart disease?

To fight against heart disease, first you must be able to distinguish between facts and myths. One of the major myths surrounding heart disease is that you are only at risk if you have family history of heart disease. Though family history plays an instrumental role into your risk factor, poor eating habits, inactivity, obesity, diabetes, smoking, high cholesterol and high blood pressure also put you at risk of developing heart disease.  Have a heart to heart with yourself and your loved ones. Create a buddy system to check in on your heart and hold each other accountable for doing the right things for your heart.

Check your cholesterol levels often. If you have diabetes make sure it is under control. Make the decision to lead a healthier lifestyle by developing healthy eating habits, adding activity to your day even if it means taking the stairs instead of the elevator and find a method that works for you in order to keep your stress level low to help maintain your blood pressure at a normal range.

Bless Your Heart Health, Ladies!

According to the American Heart Association, heart disease kills more women than all cancers combined.  That is pretty amazing, given our rightful attention to causes such as breast cancer awareness.  More interesting is how women support and take care of each other through these causes – women are natural caregivers, even with strangers.

However, we have an obligation to take care of our own health – for ourselves, our family and friends.  That’s not as natural for us!  So, let’s start with some heart health basics since February is Heart Health Awareness Month:

  • Get your cholesterol checked if you haven’t in the past year.  Consider a VAP Test or PLAC Test, which offer more comprehensive information.
  • Exercise!  Practice for and join your community health walks.  This is an excellent way to move and socialize at the same time!
  • Eat right  The holidays are over! It is time to get serious about what you are putting into your body.  Try your local farmer’s market, stores that carry organic and fresh produce, or if you are on the run, try Meals To Live frozen meals, which are diabetic-friendly.
  • Monitor your glucose and take action right away if you’ve been diagnosed as a pre-diabetic or diabetic.
  • Stop smoking.  Enough said.
  • Recognize symptoms of a possible heart attack  Women’s heart attack symptoms can be different than those of men.  Be on alert for:
    • Uncomfortable pressure, fullness, squeezing or pain in your chest
    • Pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
    • Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort.
    • Other signs such as breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.
    • Women are somewhat more likely than men to experience some of the other common symptoms, particularly shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting and back or jaw pain.

Ladies, Bless Your Hearts and learn more by visiting the American Heart Association and get tested at your local ANY LAB TEST NOW.