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Mid-Year Resolution: Stick to Your Goals 

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

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

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

 

Cholesterol (Lipids) Panel 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Take Back Your Health

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

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

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


Renal Function Panel® 

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

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

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

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

Hepatic Function Panel® 

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

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

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

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

Comprehensive Metabolic Panel

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

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

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

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

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

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

Resolution Fatigue? Change Them!

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

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

Click here to find the location closest to you.

Acknowledging Alcohol Addiction in America

Every April, we recognize Alcohol Awareness Month. We toast our successes. We drown our sorrows. It’s 5 o’clock somewhere! The world is filled with reasons to pour a drink, yet even a single drink can affect your body. And too much can have a long-lasting impact that isn’t always reversible. It can be a touchy subject. In a positive light, alcohol can be fun, flirty, and a reliable resource to have a good time. It’s often a must-have for major social events like bachelorette parties, weddings, and birthdays. Of course, every coin has two sides, and alcohol is no different. For some, alcohol is addictive. It can be damaging, messy, and used as an excuse for abhorrent behavior.

Did You Know? Alcohol remains the number one drug of choice for teens in America today. It’s more likely to kill young people than all illegal drugs combined. Alcohol Awareness Month is sponsored by the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, this month encourages community organizations to host events to increase the public’s awareness and education that too much alcohol can do to you. 

SHORT-TERM HEALTH RISKS

Your liver is the largest organ in your body. It breaks down and filters out harmful substances in the blood and manufactures the proteins, enzymes, and hormones the body uses to ward off infections. 

When you indulge in excessive alcohol use, certain risks internally and externally are higher. 

  • Injuries: car crashes, falls, drownings, and burns
  • Violence: homicide, suicide, sexual assault, and partner/familial violence
  • Alcohol poisoning 
  • Miscarriage/stillbirth in pregnant women

All of the health risks stated above are devastating, life-altering consequences. At times, these ailments can be preventable. Alcohol fuels emotions, causing a person to perhaps do something more extreme than they would with a clear mind. In addition to short-term health risks, alcohol also comes with long-term health concerns. 

LONG-TERM HEALTH RISKS

  • High blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, liver disease, and digestive issues 
  • Cancer: breast, mouth, throat, esophagus, liver, colon, and rectum
  • Weak immune system
  • Dementia
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Social problems, family problems, and job-related problems
  • Alcohol dependence

Any of the conditions laid out above can be severely damaging. Furthermore, alcohol-related disorders can impact every facet of the human life experience.  At Any Lab Test Now®, we offer a comprehensive test called the Hepatic Function Panel. It measures the blood levels with seven tests that you may want to see how well your liver is working. It’s encouraged if you’re suffering from symptoms related to liver disease, on medication that affects the liver, or if you’ve been exposed to hepatitis A, B, or C. 

The Liver Function Panel includes the following tests:

  • Total protein
  • Albumin
  • Total bilirubin
  • Direct bilirubin
  • Alkaline phosphatase
  • AST
  • ALT

Labeled as the leading preventable cause of death in the United States by the CDC, excessive alcohol use is said to shorten the lives of those who die by a staggering 29 years. Alcohol abuse can also impact one’s mental health leading to symptoms of depression, bipolar disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Now is the best time to get ahead of your health. Liver function testing provides both you and your doctor the information needed to monitor the impact of alcohol on your body.

An Ounce of Prevention is a Worth a Pound of Cure

As we continue into 2022, it’s important to keep the momentum of self-care going. Any Lab Test Now® offers you extensive and inexpensive lab testing options, so you can keep living your best life. It’s our priority to make these tests as convenient as possible for working people. This is why we provide business-friendly hours, for those with busy schedules. Each of our 200+ locations nationwide provides a clean, safe facility for your lab testing needs. Book an appointment online or walk into your neighborhood Any Lab Test Now®  to test your liver health. 

Hepatitis Can’t Wait 

Every year on July 28, we observe World Hepatitis Day, to raise awareness about this viral disease that millions of people don’t even know they have — sometimes until it’s too late. This year’s theme is “Hepatitis Can’t Wait.”

People generally know very little about viral hepatitis, a liver disease caused by five different viruses. The infection can go unnoticed, and undiagnosed, until the virus has caused serious liver damage.

  • Viral hepatitis is the seventh leading cause of death worldwide.
  • Nine in 10 people living with viral hepatitis don’t know.
  • Every 30 seconds, someone dies from a hepatitis-related illness.

It is statistics such as these that show why you can’t wait to act on finding out whether you have been infected by this silent killer.

The three most common types of viral hepatitis are hepatitis A, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C.

  • Hepatitis A is an acute infection that does not become chronic or lifelong. Most people with hepatitis A can recover without treatment.
  • Hepatitis B and hepatitis C  can also begin as an acute infection, but both can last longer, with the virus remaining in your body and leading to long-term liver problems.

Let’s take a closer look at each one:

Hepatitis A

This form of the virus can be caused by consuming contaminated water or food.

Hepatitis A does not always cause symptoms. If symptoms do occur, they usually show up two to six weeks after infection. Adults are more likely than children to have symptoms.

Typical symptoms of hepatitis A can include:

  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Lack of appetite
  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Dark urine
  • Unusually colored stools
  • Jaundice

There are vaccines to prevent hepatitis A. However, there are no specific treatments for hepatitis A; most people will recover completely without long-term liver damage in about eight weeks.

Once you recover from hepatitis A, you develop antibodies that protect you from this virus for life. However, you can still be susceptible to hepatitis B or C.

Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B can be contracted through high-risk activities, including sharing contaminated needles, having unprotected sex, being exposed to infected blood from another person, or even sharing a razor or toothbrush with another person. The virus can also be spread from mother to baby at birth.

About 70 percent of adults will develop symptoms with the acute form of hepatitis B. Symptoms common with liver disease typically appear about three months after infection and can include:

  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Stomach pain
  • Dark urine
  • Unusually colored stools
  • Joint pain
  • Jaundice

Just like hepatitis A, once you recover from acute hepatitis B, you develop antibodies that protect you from the virus for life.

However, if you are diagnosed with chronic hepatitis B, which is a lifelong infection, you could develop serious liver conditions, such as cirrhosis (scarring of the liver), liver failure, or liver cancer.

Those with long-term hepatitis B can live with the infection for 30 years or more before symptoms appear, making routine testing for the condition necessary if you participate in any of the high-risk activities listed above.

Hepatitis C

Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is a blood-borne disease and a top cause of chronic liver disease and liver cancer.

HCV is transmitted through contact with infected blood, mainly by:

  • Sharing needles during drug abuse
  • Accidental needle stick
  • Renal (kidney) dialysis
  • Transferred by mother to child during childbirth
  • Contaminated tattoo or body piercing equipment
  • Unprotected sexual intercourse or blood transfusions

It is estimated 3 to 4 million people in the U.S. are infected with hepatitis C, and many have never been tested.

Death from HCV usually arises from cirrhosis and liver cancer. As many undiagnosed infections occurred decades ago, death rates are expected to rise, which is why the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that all people born from 1946 to 1964 be tested for HCV.

New HCV treatments are very effective and can cure many with HCV. But first, you need to be tested.

Early symptoms of HCV, in the first three months, may include:

  • Yellow-colored skin or eyes
  • Weakness
  • Fatigue
  • Poor appetite
  • Nausea and stomach pain.

Chronic, long-term symptoms can include weight loss, poor appetite, fatigue, and painful joints.

Testing for Hepatitis

A simple blood test is all that is needed to find out if you are affective by any form of hepatitis. The Hepatitis Panel from ANY LAB TEST NOW® tests for the three most common variations of hepatitis: hepatitis A, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C. You are not required to fast before getting tested. Test results usually take between 24 and 72 business hours. If you are positive for the hepatitis virus, you can take the results to your physician and begin the proper treatment.

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 the hepatitis virus.

We provide you a safe and clean alternative location for lab work. Each of our 190+ 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 pandemic. We are here to help.

For more information about ANY LAB TEST NOW, and the tests we offer, visit us at www.anylabtestnow.com.

Is Your Liver Health in Trouble?

How to Find Out if Your Liver is Healthy

More Americans have been turning to alcohol to get them through their coronavirus concerns. Studies show a massive spike in alcohol consumption. But all those cheers are cause for fears when it comes to our health. Doctors are fighting back with some sobering commentary of their own.

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, every year, around 88,000 people in the United States die from alcohol-related causes. This makes it the third leading preventable cause of death.

Excessive alcohol consumption can lead to or exacerbate mental health disorders, such as anxiety and depression.

It can also have a long-term impact on our physical health by weakening our immune system. This makes us more susceptible to infectious diseases such as COVID-19, increases our risk of several types of cancer, and damages vital organs such as our liver, heart, and pancreas.

The liver is especially susceptible to alcohol-related damage. The liver acts like a filter to break down and protect our bodies from harmful substances in the blood. It produces proteins, enzymes, and hormones, which the body uses to ward off infections. It converts vitamins, nutrients, and medicines into substances our bodies can use. It is responsible for cleaning our blood, producing bile for digestion, and storing glycogen for energy.

When alcohol is introduced into our system, the liver starts working overtime. The liver can only oxidize about one drink per hour. Even then, the liver only processes 90 percent of the consumed alcohol. The rest gets expelled through urine, sweat, and breathing. When someone has too much to drink, the liver can’t keep up. The unprocessed alcohol circulates into the bloodstream and starts impacting the brain, which is how people become intoxicated.

Continued and chronic alcohol abuse starts to destroy the liver and can lead to several conditions, including cirrhosis of the liver, alcoholic hepatitis, or even liver cancer.

Common Symptoms of Liver Trouble

  • Yellowish skin and eyes (jaundice)
  • Abdominal pain and swelling
  • Swelling in legs and ankles
  • Dark urine
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Itchy skin
  • Discolored stool
  • Bruising easily
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Fever
  • Disorientation
  • Weakness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Pale, bloody, or tar-colored stool

Determine Your Liver Health

One of the first steps in detecting liver damage is with a simple blood test to determine the level of certain enzymes in the blood. Any Lab Test Now offers the Hepatic Function Panel, which allows you an easy way to find out how well your liver is working.

The liver panel consists of seven tests in one that measure the following:

  • Total protein (TP) – Measures the total amount of two classes of proteins in the blood — albumin and globulin.
  • Albumin – Measures the main protein made by the liver; the level can be affected by liver and kidney function and by decreased production or increased loss.
  • Bilirubin – This brownish-yellow substance is found in bile. It is produced when the liver breaks down old red blood cells. When the liver is damaged by a high intake of alcohol, it swells — blocking the removal of the bilirubin.
  • Alkaline phosphatase (ALP) – This enzyme is found in many tissues, with the highest concentrations in the liver, biliary tract, and bones. The ALP test may be performed to assess liver functioning and to detect liver lesions that may cause biliary obstruction, such as tumors or abscesses.
  • Aspartate aminotransferase (AST) – This test measures the level of aspartate transaminase (an enzyme that is found in the liver, kidneys, pancreas, heart, skeletal muscle, and red blood cells) that is released into the bloodstream after liver or heart problems.
  • Alanine aminotransferase (ALT) – This test measures the level of alanine aminotransferase (an enzyme found predominantly in the liver) that is released into the bloodstream after acute liver cell damage. This test may be performed to assess liver function, and/or to evaluate treatment of acute liver disease, such as hepatitis.

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 the Hepatic Function panel to determine your liver health.

We provide you a safe and clean alternative location for lab work. Each of our 185+ stores are 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.

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