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Is Your Iron Low?

Why It Can Be a Heavy Load to Carry

Iron. Depending on the person, it may conjure up a variety of images. Maybe you think of a structural material. Others may think of the dreaded household task of getting wrinkles out of clothes. But for more than three million people in the United States, a lack of iron in the blood is a major issue.

Iron is a mineral that helps our bodies function properly. It is part of our hemoglobin, a protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen from our lungs to the rest of our bodies. Iron also helps our muscles store and use oxygen.

If your body doesn’t have enough iron, it can’t make enough of the oxygen-carrying red blood cells. When the body doesn’t get enough oxygen, fatigue results. This is one of the most common signs of iron deficiency, which is a leading cause of anemia. Anemia is a condition defined by a reduced amount of healthy oxygen carrying red blood cells.

Other Symptoms of Iron Deficiency

Shortness of Breath

Because it is hard for your body to get oxygen, it makes sense that low iron would cause shortness of breath, especially when exercising.

Pale Skin

Hemoglobin in the blood gives it that red color, which also puts a rosiness in some skin tones. When the hemoglobin is low, the red blood cells shrink and become smaller, taking away the healthy color or warmth in the skin. If you have a darker skin tone, pull down your lower eyelid. If it is a pale pink or yellow color, this may be a sign of anemia.

Chest Pain and/or Heart Palpitations

Because a loss of iron affects your red blood cell count, a shortage could cause your heart to work harder to deliver oxygen throughout the body — and cause you to develop heart palpitations, murmurs, or an enlarged heart. People could suffer a heart attack or stroke if they develop iron deficiency.

Dizziness

Again, because anemia prevents oxygen from getting to all the parts of your body as necessary, dizziness is your body telling you to relax and lie down to allow more oxygen to get to your brain.

Cold Extremities

Cold hands and feet are another sign of iron deficiency since your body is not sending as many red blood cells into those areas.

Swelling of the Tongue

Iron deficiency can also show up on your tongue and inside your mouth. Signs include painful swelling of the tongue, dry mouth, mouth ulcers, and painful cracks in the corners of your lips.

Brittle Nails

Anemia can also cause your nails to chip and crack easily. People with prolonged iron deficiency may develop koilonychia, which are spoon-shaped nails where the edges of the nail are raised and the middle of the nail dips down, forming the appearance of a spoon.

Who is at Risk?

Iron deficiency is very common, especially among women. In fact, almost 10 percent of women are iron deficient. Here are some groups at the highest risk for anemia:

  • New moms and women who are breastfeeding
  • Women who experience heavy menstrual periods
  • People who suffer from celiac disease, ulcerative colitis, or Crohn’s disease
  • People who have undergone weight loss surgery, such as bariatric or gastric bypass
  • Vegetarians and vegans whose diets do not include iron-rich foods
  • People who have undergone major surgery

Testing and Treatment

Any Lab Test Now® offers a comprehensive Anemia Panel to determine if you are iron deficient. You do not need to fast for this test, and you don’t need insurance or even an appointment to take advantage of Any Lab Test Now’s affordable lab testing. Test results generally take between 24 to 72 business hours, and customers can choose to have test results mailed, faxed, or pick them up at the testing location.

Once you get the results, you can work with your regular doctor to figure out the best course of treatment, which could include simple changes to your diet or supplements. In certain cases, an infusion of iron might be necessary.

Be at Ease

At Any Lab Test Now, we understand that people may have concerns about going to a healthcare facility during the coronavirus outbreak. You can be at ease knowing that we are providing you a safe and clean location for your lab work. Each of our 190+ stores are sanitized several times a day, in accordance with the CDC’s protocols. When you get your test results, you can easily make a telemedicine appointment with your physician and share the details. Any Lab Test Now is a committed partner in helping you to make educated healthcare decisions that can benefit your quality of life.

Find your closest Any Lab Test Now store at www.anylabtestnow.com.

Understanding Diabetes

Diabetes – The Chronic Condition That Can Strike at Any Age

About one out of every ten people have diabetes. However, one out of every five of those people do not realize they have this potentially deadly condition. In fact, diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States.

To educate people about the disease, November is designated Diabetes Awareness Month. Diabetes can strike anyone, at any age.

Let’s start with the basics. What exactly is diabetes?

Diabetes is a chronic health condition that causes higher than average blood sugar levels. Normally, your body produces insulin from the pancreas to help regulate the blood sugar. Insulin acts like a key to open your cells to allow the blood sugar to enter so you can use it for energy. If you have diabetes, your pancreas either doesn’t make enough insulin or cannot effectively use its own insulin.

There are two main forms of diabetes, with very different causes, symptoms and treatments.

Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes is an auto-immune disease, and while there are treatments to manage it, there is no cure. About 5 percent of people who have diabetes have type 1 diabetes — or insulin-dependent diabetes. In the past, type 1 diabetes was called juvenile diabetes, because patients often found out they had it during childhood, but people of all ages can develop type 1 diabetes.

In type 1 diabetes, the pancreas produces no insulin. The reason? The body’s immune system attacks the insulin-producing islet cells in the pancreas. The islet cells sense glucose in the blood and produce the right amount of insulin to normalize blood sugars. Once the insulin-producing cells are destroyed, a person can no longer produce their own insulin. Without insulin, sugar stays in the blood and builds up.

Complications of Type 1 Diabetes

If left untreated, high blood sugar levels can cause health complications and internal damage.

Blindness is a common diabetes complication. Diabetes is also a leading cause of kidney failure. Many people with diabetes have impaired sensation in the hands and feet, including neuropathy.

Diabetes can also cause digestive problems, erectile dysfunction, and fertility issues. The conditions also increase the risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke. Diabetes can also lead to amputation of toes and feet. In extreme cases, it can also lead to coma and death.

Signs of Type 1 Diabetes

Symptoms of type 1 diabetes often appear suddenly. The most common symptoms are:

  • Increased thirst
  • Increased urination
  • Bed-wetting may occur in children who have already been toilet trained
  • Rapid and unexplained weight loss
  • Extreme hunger
  • Extreme weakness or fatigue
  • Unusual irritability
  • Blurred vision
  • Nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain
  • Fruity breath odor

Treatment of Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes is treated by taking daily insulin injections or using an insulin pump or other device to replace the insulin no longer created naturally. A healthy diet and regular exercise can also help control blood sugar levels.

If you take too much insulin, then your blood sugar can drop to a dangerously low level. This is called hypoglycemia, and it can be life-threatening. If you take too little insulin, your blood sugar can rise to a dangerously high level. Your cells are not getting the sugar, or energy, they need. This is called hyperglycemia.

You will work with your doctor to determine the proper insulin dose and delivery method.

Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes.  About 90 percent of people with diabetes have type 2, or non-insulin-dependent diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is also called adult-onset diabetes, since it typically develops after age 35. Type 2 diabetes is typically tied to people who are overweight, with a sedentary lifestyle. People with type 2 diabetes are able to produce some of their own insulin, but often it’s not enough.

Signs of Type 2 Diabetes

Many of the symptoms of type 2 diabetes are similar to those of type 1 diabetes. The difference is the onset of the condition. Type 2 diabetes usually presents more slowly, and the symptoms are not as noticeable as those for type 1 diabetes. For these reasons, many people mistakenly overlook the warning signs. They also might think that the symptoms are the signs of other conditions, like aging, overworking or hot weather. The complications of type 2 diabetes mirror those of type 1.

A combination of risk factors can increase the likelihood of type 2 diabetes. They include:

  • Being overweight
  • Family history
  • Physically inactive
  • Age 45 or older

Treatment of Type 2 Diabetes

One of the biggest differences between type 1 and type 2 diabetes is the approach to treatment. The majority of treatment programs for type 2 diabetes focus on diet, exercise and weight loss as well as improving ways to better use the insulin the body already produces to normalize blood sugar levels. If blood sugar levels are still high, medications can help the body use its own insulin more efficiently. In some cases, insulin injections are necessary. Unlike type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes can be reversed.

Prediabetes

Prediabetes means that your body is showing signs that could lead to type 2 diabetes. In prediabetes, there is too much glucose in the blood, but not as much as in diabetes.

People with prediabetes often have no symptoms at all. Your health care provider may decide to test you for prediabetes because of your age, weight, family history of diabetes or other health factors.

Not everyone with prediabetes will get diabetes, but the risk increases, especially if they don’t make lifestyle changes.

There are four main ways people with prediabetes can manage their condition:

  • Eating well
  • Getting active
  • Weight loss
  • Medications

Diabetes Testing

Now, with COVID-19 concerns, it is even more important than ever to take control of your health. People with diabetes face a higher chance of experiencing serious complications from COVID-19. If you’ve been concerned that you might have diabetes but are afraid to go to the doctor for fear of contracting COVID-19, Any Lab Test Now provides a safer alternative and a wide variety of testing options.

Any Lab Test Now offers six specialized lab tests you can take and share the results with your doctor.

Diabetes Maintenance Panel – this provides a complete blood count, Glucose-Serum, Hemoglobin A1c, and a Diabetic Urinalysis. This is an effective panel for diabetics, and also for those who want to see if they have diabetes.

Diabetic Urinalysis (Microalbumin) – this tests for the protein albumin in the urine. It’s something that the kidneys usually filter out, so if it shows up in the results, it can point to potential diabetes complications like kidney disease.

Glucose Blood Test – this is the most common diabetes test. Additionally, diabetics self-conduct this test multiple times a day to monitor their blood glucose levels.

Glucose Tolerance Test – this is a way to check how your body metabolizes sugar. First, a blood sample is collected, then you’ll be given a cup of glucose to drink. After that, your blood will be collected again every 30 to 60 minutes. It usually takes up to three hours to complete the test and can confirm diabetes.

Hemoglobin A1c – this test is useful in helping diabetics determine if their disease is under control. It’s a valuable measure of the overall blood glucose levels over a period of several months. The test can also help detect prediabetes and diabetes.

Insulin Lab Test – this test can let you know if your body is producing too much or too little insulin. Too little insulin, also known as insulin resistance, is often associated with type 2 diabetes. If you have prediabetes, this test can be used to monitor whether diet and lifestyle changes are having a great enough impact to reverse or improve your condition.

 Be at Ease

Any Lab Test Now wants you to be at ease when it comes to seeking out any type of lab work, including testing for diabetes.

We provide you a safe and clean alternative location for lab work. Each of our 185+ stores is sanitized several times a day, in accordance with the CDC’s protocols. Any Lab Test Now is a committed partner in helping you manage your family’s healthcare so you can make educated decisions that will directly affect your quality of life. We want to put you at ease during the coronavirus outbreak. We are here to help.