Succeed at Your Weight Loss Goals

More than a month ago, we cheered as the new year began. Along with the celebrations, people all over the world planned to tackle new goals. For many, that goal was losing weight. Was this you?

When January first rolled around, did you sign up for a gym membership or lace up your sneakers? Did you start watching what you eat and making sure to drink enough water each day? Have you cut back on sweets and alcohol and fatty foods? Congratulations! These are all great steps toward achieving your weight loss goal.

If, despite these efforts, you find that you’re still struggling with unwanted pounds, it could be that your hormones are to blame. Your hormones direct your body to function in certain ways. From emotions and sex drive to appetite and blood sugar levels, your hormones carry information through the body that tells your systems how to act.

When you have too much or too little of a certain hormone, it can mean that your body’s systems are not receiving instructions correctly. For instance, cortisol is a hormone that is released during periods of high stress. It is intended to make sure that your body has enough energy to deal with stressful situations. When you live under significant stress for long periods of time, however, the cortisol levels in your body don’t have a chance to subside. This causes you to continually crave foods that can quickly convert to energy, like sugary snacks. Clearly, this can make fighting cravings more difficult.

Cortisol isn’t the only culprit, however. There are a variety of hormones that contribute to various aspects of your weight. Estrogen and progesterone help to balance fat in the system. Insulin helps to regulate our blood sugar levels. Even low levels of vitamin D or an underactive thyroid can wreak havoc when you’re trying to drop a size.

If you’ve been working hard to lose weight, but the scale simply won’t budge, hormones could be at fault. Finding out if hormones are to blame can be done quickly at your own home. Any Lab Test Now offers a weight management take-home hormone kit that will evaluate your hormone levels and help you and your doctor pinpoint issues so that you can succeed at your weight loss goals. Won’t it be nice to see all your hard work pay off this year?

Avoid Hormone Chaos with Testosterone Testing

Having low testosterone as a man can throw your whole body into chaos. Your body’s systems rely on hormones to tell them what to do, so if your hormones are not giving your body the right signals, you might notice changes in everything from your digestion and energy level to your sex drive and physical performance. If you have been suffering from unexplained changes in your body, testosterone testing might be the right answer for you.

According to the Urology Care Foundation, about four in every 10 men over the age of 45 experience low testosterone. The condition rarely occurs in men younger than 45, but when it does, it can be both unexpected and frustrating. It is natural for a man’s testosterone level to decrease as he ages, but if it dips too far below the normal threshold, uncomfortable symptoms can begin to occur and affect that man’s quality of life.

Symptoms can include:
an increase in body fat,
decrease in muscle mass,
calcium loss,
loss of bone density,
poor erections,
low sex drive, or
anemia.

The symptoms of a hormone dysfunction are unpleasant, but can be eliminated or reduced through proper treatment. Knowing the source of a hormone imbalance can give your doctor the information he or she needs to resolve your issue. Typically, treatment is managed through testosterone replacement therapy. Using a gel, shots, long-acting pellets, pills or patches, doctors can prescribe testosterone supplementation that restores a man’s testosterone to normal levels and alleviates his symptoms.

A carefully-administered test in a certified and safe laboratory environment is the only way to assure valid results for a testosterone level test. This is important, because treating a man who does not have low testosterone with hormone supplementation can have an adverse effect, and will not address any symptoms he might be experiencing. Supplementing a man’s testosterone when it’s not needed can actually lower a man’s sperm count and fertility.  Some of our other panels that you also might want to consider are our Comprehensive Male Panel or Pre-Testosterone Therapy Panel.

Low testosterone can be more than unpleasant. This hormone is necessary for many of the functions in the male body, and lower levels of the hormone can throw the body’s systems out of whack. To resolve the discomfort and confusion, men who have found the aging process to be more frustrating than expected should consider testosterone testing to determine if a testosterone level disorder is the cause. Find your local Any Lab Test Now to schedule a test today!

It’s Thyroid Awareness Month!

thyoridMany people have heard of the thyroid, but few actually know how this gland impacts their body. For this reason, January is Thyroid Awareness Month. During this period, both individuals and practitioners are encouraged to become better educated about possible thyroid issues, causes and treatments.

The thyroid is part of the endocrine system. This gland transforms iodine that you consume into two hormones: thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine(T3). These hormones are then released into your body when needed to regulate the speed at which the body functions. When too much of the hormone is released, this speeds up the body’s functions and is known as hyperthyroidism. Conversely, when too little of the hormone is released, it slows down the body’s functions. This is known as hypothyroidism.

In both cases, the imbalance of hormones can lead to problems for patients. In those affected by hyperthyroidism, people may experience:
weight loss,
persistent vomiting,
increased blood pressure,
increased perspiration,
enlarged liver,
hair loss, or
a persistently fast heart rate.

When the body’s functions slow down due to hypothyroidism, patients often experience:
fatigue,
weight gain,
a short attention span,
dry skin,
thinning hair,
slow heartbeat,
numbness, or
cold intolerance.

Fortunately, many patients can work with an endocrinologist to re-balance their hormone levels and curtail these symptoms. The first step to healing is understanding your current hormone levels. An easy method for gathering data about your thyroid function is done through the take-home hormone kit. Samples are collected at home and then sent to Any Lab Test Now for evaluation. The test measures the amount of hormone in your bloodstream. It also evaluates the levels of various elements, like iodine, Cadmium, bromine, arsenic, mercury, and Selenium that impacts the production of the T3 andT4 hormones. Of course, other patients simply walk in to Any Lab Test Now for the thyroid panel and the Comprehensive Elements Thyroid Profile hormone kit which provide similar information.

Armed with data about thyroid and element levels, an endocrinologist will recommend the right course of action for bringing hormone levels back into balance. Options may include a variety of drug treatments, iodine treatment or (in extreme situations) surgical removal of the thyroid. Typically, it takes several weeks of treatment for the symptoms to subside. It is also important to note that dosage levels frequently need to be adjusted when a patient is first undergoing treatment because each body has very specific hormone needs to stay in balance.

As we enter January, and help to spread the word about Thyroid Awareness Month, we encourage anyone who may be experiencing hormone-related symptoms to stop in to their local Any Lab Test Now location for testing. A quick test may put you on the path to reduced symptoms and healthier living!

Last Minute Gift Ideas — Take Home Hormone Kits

ALTN Hormone Kits OnlyThe world is full of balance — Yin and Yang, day and night, good and evil. Without balance, we have chaos and unpredictability. And just as the world needs balance, so does your body in order to thrive. Many people have a hormone imbalance in their body and don’t even know it — all they know is that something just feels…off.

They may feel like they’ve been battling unexplainable skin ailments, and that nothing they do seems to work. Or maybe they suffer from insomnia and just can’t achieve a restful, relaxing night’s sleep no matter what they do. Perhaps they struggle with overwhelming levels of stress, anxiety, allergies or even illnesses. They may struggle with maintaining a healthy weight, or even experience sudden weight gain despite every effort to maintain a healthy lifestyle. All of these problems can seem vastly unrelated, yet they all have one thing in common: they may be caused by a hormone imbalance.

If someone in your life is experiencing these or other unexplainable health issues, they may be suffering from a hormone imbalance. This holiday season, consider helping your loved one finally take control of their health, once and for all, with a Take Home Hormone Kit from Any Lab Test Now. Show your loved one that you’ve been listening to their concerns, and that you care about their health and happiness.

Give the gift of good health with any of these hormone testing kits available at Any Lab Test Now:

The Skin Vitality Take Home Hormone Kit is perfect for the loved one who feels betrayed by their own skin. Imagine the happiness they will feel when they can finally understand why they have been suffering from excessive dryness, wrinkling, discoloration or acne.

The Sleep Balance Take Home Hormone Kit is ideal for the loved one who just can’t get a good night’s rest. Bring joy to their holiday season by helping them finally learn why they are suffering from insomnia, and giving them the help they need.

The Adrenal Stress Take Home Hormone Kit is the perfect gift for the loved one who feels overwhelmed by stress and unexplainable health problems, from anxiety to allergies and even infertility.

The Elements-Thyroid Take Home Hormone Kit is a great option for those who are wondering if they are experiencing undiagnosed thyroid disease or dysfunction, which can present itself in many different symptoms.

The Weight Management Take Home Hormone Kit is a wonderful choice for the loved one struggling to maintain their ideal weight, despite every effort to do so. Show your loved one you care about their concerns by helping them take the first step toward a real solution and a happier life.

This holiday season, help your loved ones start feeling better all year long. Contact the experts at Any Lab Test Now to learn which hormone testing kits are right for you.

Everyday Stress or Something More?

An attractive young woman leading a fitness class

Sometimes when you wake up in the morning, it can be hard to lift your head from the pillow. You hear that alarm going off and can barely reach over to hit the snooze button. When you finally make it out of bed, coffee is the first thing on your mind. It has been a busy week: you are worn out and having trouble concentrating on the day ahead!

This feeling of being worn out is your body’s way of healing during times of stress. Your body is clamoring for more rest, because in order to restore itself, the body needs to sleep. As your body begins to heal, mornings become easier and your focus improves.

But, what if it doesn’t? What does it mean if you continue to feel lethargic and drained week after week? What if your brain feels fuzzy all of the time and you find that you are constantly forgetting things because you’re so tired? At this point, there may be something more than day-to-day stress causing your fatigue. Exhaustion, either physical or mental, should not last for weeks at a time.

Fortunately, a Fatigue Panel or Adrenal Health/Stress Profile will test for a variety of potential causes. Causes of fatigue are varied. In some people, it can be caused by a disease, such as Lyme disease or mononucleosis. In other people, it can be triggered by hormone or blood sugar imbalances. And, others may discover that fatigue is a result of conditions like anemia or low iron levels.

With so many causes of fatigue, the first step to regaining your energy is knowing why you feel drained. From there, treatments that include medication, diet, exercise and lifestyle changes can be used to help you recover. Of course, resolving your fatigue won’t completely get rid of sleepy, coffee-filled mornings, but it will certainly help you restore the energy and focus that it takes to make the most of your time from morning until night.

If you have been fatigued for more than two weeks, stop in to your local Any Lab Test Now location and ask for the Fatigue Panel. Keep in mind that this test does require fasting for eight hours prior to the sample being collected. You can also inquire about our Adrenal Health/Stress Profile. Both tests are a quick, simple way to help you start the process of recovery.

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!

Women, Are You Due for a Preventive Screening Test? Early Detection is Key.

As scientific technology continues to advance, doctors are becoming more and more equipped with the ability to successfully treat many deadly diseases if detected early on; which is why routine preventive screening tests are so imperative to the well-being of one’s health. For women in particular, tests such as mammograms, pap smears and colonoscopies have the potential to save millions of lives. Yet, due to varying guidelines found in the healthcare industry, many women are confused as to what age they should begin receiving these tests and how often they should be getting them done.

CBS News recently published an article on this exactmatter outlining which routine screening tests have been proven to be most critical to women’s health when detecting diseases in the early stages. Highlighted below are the referenced routine screening tests along with screening guidelines provided by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and the American Heart Association.

Mammography: The USPSTF recommends screening every two years starting at age 50, but ACOG suggests women get a mammogram each year beginning at age 40.

Colonoscopy: The USPSTF says most patients should begin colorectal cancer screening with a colonoscopy at age 50 and undergo the test every 10 years, usually until the age of 75. A doctor may determine that sigmoidoscopy and fecal blood testing is sufficient. The American Cancer Society outlines similar recommendations.

Pap and HPV tests: The USPSTF recommends screening for cervical cancer in women age 21 to 65 years old with Pap smear once every three years. For women who wish to be screened less frequently, the panel recommends women age 30 to 65 have both a Pap smear and HPV test every five years. ACOG has similar recommendations.

Blood pressure test: The AHA recommends patients have their blood pressure taken at least once each year starting at age 20.

Lipid panel: The AHA recommend testing cholesterol and triglycerides levels every 4 to 6 years.

Blood glucose tests: Screening for diabetes should occur at least every three years starting at age 45, according to AHA.

The respected news source suggests that patients should first become familiar with the screening guidelines and then discuss a screening plan with their doctor. When you are ready to begin taking the preventative steps needed for your health, contact your local Any Lab Test Now® for quality testing, affordable pricing and fast results for you and your doctor to evaluate. We offer a variety of tests including Blood Glucose Tests,  Lipid Panel, and Basic Check-Up Panel.. Call us today and begin to Take Control of Your Health®.

January is National Thyroid Awareness Month!

Although relatively small in size, the thyroid gland plays a very large role in the human body. The thyroid gland is a small gland located at the base of the neck and is responsible for manufacturing thyroid hormones, necessary for the body to run smoothly and effectively.

There are an estimated 15 million Americans living with undiagnosed thyroid issues. Some people have either an overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism), sending the body into overdrive, or an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism), slowing down bodily functions.

There are other conditions as well, including: 

In this month of January, all of us at Any Lab Test Now® aim to raise thyroid awareness to the general public because it is estimated that up to 50% those with thyroid disease are unaware of their condition.

Before heading to a physician, you can perform a simple neck check in the comfort of your own home. Should you have any concerns, be proactive with your health in 2015 and let your local Any Lab Test Now® help! We offer an array of thyroid tests, including a comprehensive thyroid panel. Call us today to make an appointment!

The Unavoidable In A Woman’s Life

100 out of 100 women will experience this inevitable occurrence in their life. Some men are intimidated to bring up the subject.

Menopause.

No medical treatment is required when experiencing menopause. It’s simply a stage in every woman’s life due to permanent ovarian dysfunction. Many women start experiencing signs of menopause around the age of 50. There are many symptoms, but the most common include: hot flashes/night sweats, vaginal dryness, skeletal pain, dry/itchy skin, depression and libido issues.

Measuring hormone levels can help women manage their health. Becoming aware of these levels will help in taking proper measures to make the menopause process as smooth and quick as possible. Ensuring a solid, patient support system is extremely helpful as well. Clear communication of symptoms and feelings are important, so that support systems know how to help.

As September is Menopause Awareness Month, take time to learn more about what that means for women.

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.