The Dangers of Being Vitamin D Deficient

Sunny days can make us feel amazing. Studies have proven, time and again, that a little sunshine can have a serious positive impact on your mood and mental state. And the good news is the sun can also be your best source for vitamin D! But what you may not know is that if you’re using lots of sunscreen, you may actually be vitamin D deficient regardless of how much time you spend in the sun.

Applying sunscreen daily is highly recommended for preventing skin cancer, and it’s a great idea to protect your skin from damaging ultraviolet (UV) rays. But sunscreen can also block beneficial UV light that allows the skin to make vitamin D. So if you are being too careful in the sun, you may actually be causing more harm than good.

You’ve Heard of it, But What is it Really?

Vitamin D plays an important role in our body. It is a fat-soluble vitamin that our body needs for important processes such as the absorption of calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphate and zinc – all nutrients your body needs to survive.

The sun is your body’s best and most efficient source of vitamin D. The body makes vitamin D from exposure to sunlight or UV light on exposed skin, but it can also obtain the vitamin from plants, supplements or foods fortified with the vitamin. If your body does not get enough vitamin D, you will develop a vitamin D deficiency.

Some people may be more susceptible to developing a vitamin D deficiency due to little sun exposure, diet and other factors. Sunscreen blocks UV light from being absorbed by your skin, which is why people can sometimes over-protect themselves from the sun. People who are obese, have dark skin and those who are older than 65 are also at higher risk. Symptoms may include tiredness, weakness, bone pain, general aches or even frequent infections. However, some people show no symptoms at all.

A long-term vitamin D deficiency can put you at risk for any number of dangerous and even deadly health problems including coronary artery disease, peripheral arterial disease, stroke and diabetes mellitus. A vitamin D deficiency can also cause your bones to become thin, brittle or misshapen over time. This is why it is important to know your vitamin D levels so you can take the steps to correct or prevent a vitamin D deficiency.

What Can You Do About It?

A vitamin D deficiency can be treated with increased sun exposure as well as vitamin D supplements. To reach your necessary vitamin D levels, try getting at least ten minutes of unprotected sun exposure every day — but make sure to apply the sunscreen after that!

If you suspect you may have a vitamin D deficiency, it’s important to get tested to find out for sure. Any Lab Test Now’s Vitamin D Test is a great place to start if you’d like to find out more about your vitamin D levels. By equipping yourself with the knowledge you need, you can begin taking the first steps towards better health.

 

What’s Your Cellular Age?

JUL newsletter SMALL telomeresAs much as we’d all like to flee from aging, it is inevitable. Just as your car or a favorite clothing item will wear out over time, so too does the human body. Of course, the rate at which aging happens is different for each person and is based on a number of factors such as genetics, diet, exercise and stress.

On a cellular level, however, the rate of aging is measurable. Measurement is possible because of the telomeres that are connected to the end of your cells. Every time cells divide, the length of the telomere becomes shortened. The shorter the telomere is, the more times that particular cell has been copied. Over time, the telomere becomes so short that the cell no longer reproduces and is “retired”. This shortening of the telomere is known as cellular aging.

Through the use of a telomere test, labs are able to measure the length of the telomere in one’s body. This measurement is then compared to the expected length of telomeres in those of a similar age bracket, which helps determine overall cellular age.

While cell division and its subsequent retirement are natural processes, there are ways in which one can slow the process down. Among these are:

  • Minimizing consumption of processed, surgery or fatty foods.
  • Reducing body fat to 22 percent for women and 16 percent for men.
  • Exercising for at least an hour a day.
  • Reducing stress.
  • Quitting smoking and other tobacco consumption.
  • Sleeping eight hours a night.
  • Increasing consumption of raw fruits and vegetables, Omega-3 fatty acids, vegetable protein, cold-water fish and fiber.
  • Evaluating the need for nutritional supplements.

Next time you worry about getting older, consider monitoring the rate at which your cells age. With monitoring, you will be better able to make the lifestyle choices that are necessary to slow cellular aging, and potentially the onset of age-related diseases. Walk-in to Any Lab Test Now to ask for your Telomere Test today.

The Importance of Cholesterol Testing

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Is your heart healthy? You may think the answer is “yes”, but do you really know? If you are an American male with an average American diet and lifestyle, the odds are not in your favor. In fact, the CDC says that 73.5 million adults (31.7%) in the United States have high LDL, or “bad,” cholesterol. And of those people, fewer than 1 out of every 3 adults (29.5%) has the condition under control.

You might be thinking, “So what? Who cares if my cholesterol is a little high?” YOU should care, and here’s why:

1. It can kill you. People with high total cholesterol have approximately twice the risk for heart disease as people with ideal cholesterol levels. Additionally, lowering your cholesterol can reduce your risk of having a heart attack, needing heart bypass surgery or angioplasty, and dying of heart disease.

2. Even if it doesn’t kill you, it can lessen your quality of life. You’ll suffer countless possible health problems, including chest pain, circulatory problems, digestive problems and gallstones.

So what is cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a fatty substance that travels through your blood on lipoproteins and is necessary for important bodily functions such as making hormones and digesting fats. Everyone needs cholesterol, but certain factors like poor diet can cause a person to have too much of it, and this can be a very bad thing. When you have too much cholesterol in your body, or high cholesterol, it will start to build up in plaque deposits along the walls of your blood vessels. Over time, this build-up causes the blood vessels to become narrower and narrower, allowing less blood flow to reach your heart and other organs. This can cause angina or even a heart attack if an artery becomes fully blocked by plaque.

Even if you think you’re healthy, it’s a good idea to get your cholesterol checked so that you can establish a baseline for monitoring your cholesterol in the future. And if you have high cholesterol, the sooner you learn about it, the better, so that steps can be taken to lessen your risk of death from heart disease.

At Any Lab Test Now, there are several options to choose from when it comes to cholesterol testing.

Our Lipid Panel provides a comprehensive look at your cholesterol levels, including testing for your total cholesterol, HDL, LDL, HDL/LDL ratio and triglycerides. The Lipid Panel is a great option for establishing a baseline from which to continuously monitor your cholesterol levels.
href=”https://www.anylabtestnow.com/tests/cholesterol-maintenance-panel/”>The Cholesterol Medication Maintenance Panel
and Basic Check-Up Panel are also excellent testing options for measuring your cholesterol levels. Talk to our experts at Any Lab Test Now to learn which cholesterol testing is right for you.

Celebrating Men’s Health Month!

Screen Shot 2015-06-01 at 10.26.17 AMSocietal expectations promote the idea that men should be tough and self-reliant, causing many to avoid visiting their doctor for routine check-ups and screenings. This June, the Men’s Health Network is celebrating Men’s Health Month to raise awareness about preventable causes of death in men and to encourage men to seek screenings that can help them live longer healthier lives.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the top five preventable diseases that affect men are:

1. Heart disease. The number one killer of men is heart disease. Sadly, about 47% of the deaths from heart disease occur outside of the hospital. This means that men are not reacting to, or not experiencing, cardiac distress symptoms, like chest pain, nausea, cold sweats, upper body discomfort, lightheadedness or shortness of breath. So that men are better prepared to make a decision about seeking care, it is critical that they understand their heart health today and be aware of how it is changing over the years.  We recommend you consider the LPP Basic or LPP Plus Test!

2. Cancer. While men can be affected by many forms of cancer, skin and prostate cancer are the two most common. In fact, about one in seven men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer. Fortunately, prostate cancer is a relatively slow-growing cancer, and with early detection survival rates after five years are at 90 percent. We recommend you consider our PSA Test.

3. Chronic lower respiratory diseases. Smoking is the primary cause of chronic lower respiratory diseases. For this reason, men should quit smoking, or work with their doctor to get help in doing so. Chronic lower respiratory disease includes both chronic bronchitis and emphysema and is commonly referred to as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).

4. Stroke. Every four minutes someone in the United States dies from a stroke: strokes are also the leading cause of preventable disability in the country. Strokes are caused by blocked blood vessels or from blood leaking into the brain. A health lifestyle that limits alcohol and avoids smoking may help to prevent a stroke from occurring.

5. Diabetes. Routine monitoring of diabetes symptoms is critical for living well with diabetes. By staying on top of the body’s needs, the 1.4 million people living with diabetes can help to stave off serious complications, such as nerve and kidney damage, cardiovascular problems or death. We recommend our Glucose or Hemoglobin A1C Test!

Men may feel that society dissuades them from seeking routine medical care and screenings. In reality though, by taking advantage of walk-in tests, like those offered by Any Lab Test Now, and gathering information about their health men may actually live stronger and more self-reliant lives longer.

Summer Health Tips from ANY LAB TEST NOW!

Screen Shot 2014-09-04 at 10.55.32 AMIt won’t be too long before we’re fully immersed in summer. Not only does summer bring a lot of fun activities for you or your family, but it’s the perfect time to get or stay healthy!

This year, follow these tips to stay healthy all summer long:

1. Stay hydrated

It should come as no surprise, but it’s vital to stay hydrated during the summer months. Most people need two to three quarts of water a day. You may need even more than that if you’re sweating in the summer heat. So, keep a filtered water bottle with you to stay cool and hydrated all day.

2. Eat seasonally

There are so many delicious fruits and vegetables that come into season during the summer. Take advantage of that to clean up your diet and add some much needed nutrition to your plate each day.

3. Get outside to exercise

The warmer weather makes it easier to get in some exercise right outside your doorstep. Hop on your bike, go for a run or even try out some rollerblades again for a quick and fun way to get in some aerobic exercise without straying too far from home. Feeling a little more adventurous? Go for a hike, take up swimming at a local pool or find a nearby tennis court for some healthy fun in the sun.

4. Take a vacation

You probably don’t have to be told to take a vacation! But there are more health benefits to taking some time off than you probably realized. Taking some time to relax, wherever that might be, can help lower your heart rate, blood pressure and stress hormones; all of which contribute to an increased risk of heart disease. You’ve never had such a good reason to book that beach vacation before.

5. Monitor your health with ANY LAB TEST NOW!

The first four tips are all great ways to stay healthy during summer, but don’t forget to monitor your health! Whether you want to measure your hormones, test allergies or check your heart health, we want to remind you that we have more than 8,000 lab tests to help you take control of your health! Have the perfect summer, and have the perfect health!

Do You Know The Signs and Symptoms of Low T?

Screen Shot 2016-05-18 at 2.38.28 PMMore men than ever are realizing that getting older doesn’t have to mean losing your energy, vitality and fitness. Thanks to increased diagnosis of a condition known as low testosterone, or low T, men who have been struggling with low energy, depression or loss of muscle mass now have treatment options that can help them stave off what most people used to think were the natural signs of aging. Low T can be a tough condition to deal with on your own, but for many patients, it can be completely reversed. Read on to learn the symptoms and treatment methods for low T, and find out if you should get your testosterone levels tested!

Low T occurs when levels of testosterone produced in the body are too low to maintain its necessary functions. This can occur in males or females and in children or adults. However, the condition is most common in men who are older than 30. Testosterone levels are supposed to peak during development in the womb and during adolescence, with levels beginning to decrease about one percent per year after age 30. But sometimes they drop faster than that, or the drop begins to seriously impact a man’s daily life, and that’s when low T needs to be treated.

Low T can cause a wide range of symptoms, because it’s involved in so many processes in the body. Most people know it as the primary male sex hormone, responsible for the development of sexual organs and the response to sexual stimuli. While that is its primary function, testosterone also acts as an anabolic steroid, fueling muscle growth and maintaining bone density. It also regulates energy and mood, and can even influence how well you sleep. So even if you haven’t experienced erectile dysfunction or other directly sexual symptoms, you still could be suffering from low T.

To treat low T, doctors usually recommend some form of hormone replacement therapy. For most men, either gels or patches can provide a sustained increase in testosterone. For men struggling with fertility, a doctor might recommend testosterone injections, which quickly increase sperm motility. Doctors also recommend that men alter their diets to include more fresh produce and unprocessed foods, because the complex processes that influence hormone production are easier for your body when it has the proper fuel.

If you think you’re struggling with low T, help is just a quick hormone test away! Any Lab Test Now offers the Comprehensive Male Panel, which can tell you if your exhaustion, loss of muscle or low libido are the result of low T. Contact your local Any Lab Test Now to start taking control of your health, and be one of the men who doesn’t accept that aging means losing out on quality of life.

The Dangers of High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure is a medical condition that rarely has noticeable symptoms but can have an outsized impact on your body’s systems. High blood pressure damages your heart and arteries, since the condition is a problem within the circulatory system. But your blood supplies every part of your body with oxygen, so when flow is affected it takes a toll on the body. For example, did you know high blood pressure could lead to memory loss? Read on to discover some of the more hidden dangers of high blood pressure.

Kidney damage

Your kidneys filter and remove the waste from your bloodstream. When a person has high blood pressure, however, the arteries in the kidneys become damaged, keeping oxygen from reaching the finger-like projections that filter the blood. Damaged kidneys also produce less of the hormone renin, which helps the body regulate blood pressure. The damage from high blood pressure then continues to affect the body.

Fluid in the lungs

If your heart is not able to pump oxygenated blood effectively, it will push fluid back into the lungs, in a condition known as pulmonary edema. This fluid prevents the full absorption of oxygen from inhaled air. This can cause a buildup of fluid in other parts of the body, as the heart becomes weaker and less able to transport blood. In the worst cases, the fluid buildup in lower extremities can cause liver congestion and swelling, which damages the liver. Pulmonary edema can be fatal.

Erectile dysfunction

Erectile dysfunction has two main types of causes — psychological and medical. Proper blood flow is absolutely vital to the function of sexual organs. But with damaged arteries, the body is unable to provide adequate blood flow to achieve and sustain an erection. In fact, most medical causes for erectile dysfunction have roots in the circulatory system.

Memory loss

If you feel like you’re constantly in a fog or forgetting things, the cause could be your blood pressure. Pressure and damage to the arteries and blood vessels in and around the brain often begin to deprive the brain of oxygen, which can lead to fatigue, memory loss and an inability to focus. In the worst cases, it can even lead to a stroke, which can destroy a person’s ability to speak, dress and feed themselves. In the worst cases, a stroke can lead to a coma or death.

Vision loss

High blood pressure can subject the eyes to heavy force from the movement or buildup of blood, causing damage to blood vessels and optic nerve. Over time, this can cause swelling of the optic nerve or degradation of the parts of the eyes, like the rods and cones that help detect movement and color. This is a scary effect of high blood pressure, and its only treatment is to lower blood pressure. And because the eyes are so sensitive, any damage to them is likely to be permanent.

So here are five really good reasons to get your blood pressure checked frequently! The lack of direct symptoms of high blood pressure can make it hard to detect, until it starts damaging other organ systems. So if you’ve noticed any of these changes in your body, it’s a good idea to get your blood pressure tested!

How do I find out if my liver is healthy?

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When was the last time you thought about your liver? Chances are you don’t think about your liver on a daily or even a weekly basis. But it plays a vital role in your health. The football sized organ sits just below your rib cage and helps you digest food and rids your body of toxic substances, like alcohol.

You liver can become damaged, too. In fact, liver damage can be genetic, but it can also be caused by a variety of factors such as viruses, alcohol abuse and obesity. When the liver becomes damaged, your overall health could be seriously impacted.

What are the complications of liver damage?

  • Pain and swelling in the abdomen
  • Decreased appetite and weight loss
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Fatigue
  • Dry mouth and increased thirst
  • Yellow color in the skin, mucus membranes or eyes (jaundice)
  • Small, red spider-like veins on the skin
  • Problems with thinking, memory and mood
  • Fainting and lightheadedness
  • Numbness in legs and feet

Eventually, liver damage can lead to liver failure, which is a life-threatening condition. The important thing to remember is that liver damage often happens over a long period of time, so it’s important to keep a close watch on the health of your liver.

How do I find out if my liver is healthy?

The only way to know if your liver is functioning properly is to get tested. At Any Lab Test Now, we offer a liver function panel (hepatic function) that will help you determine if your liver is damaged. This panel measures the blood levels of seven tests that check to see how well your liver is working. High or low levels in one of the seven tests may indicate that liver damage or disease is present. Then you can talk to your doctor to determine any steps you need to take.
Note: it’s also important to establish a baseline for these tests. So if you’re not concerned about liver damage at the moment, you should get the panel to determine how your liver functions under healthy conditions. After that, semi-regular tests can keep a watchful eye on your liver’s functionality so you can have the knowledge you need to stay on top of any possible damage.

Minority Health Awareness Month

shutterstock_444247602This April, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Minority Health seeks to raise awareness about health disparities that impact racial and ethnic minority groups. Minority Health Awareness Month is the kingpin of the effort and is a time when the organization works with government leaders to discuss issues and solutions related to the health inequities faced by minority groups.

By definition, a health inequality is a preventable health issue that is a result of social, economic, environmental or other inequalities among various demographics of people. For example, the World Health Organization shares that children in the poorest 20 percent of families are two times as likely to die before their fifth birthday as are children in the richest 20 percent of families. The death rate is due to the fact that the family’s lower income level does not allow the parents to afford enough nutritious food, clean water and access to proper medical treatment. These deaths would be prevented if the poorer children had the same resources as the more well-to-do children, so the inequality in their environments resulted in a health issue that could have otherwise been prevented.

In the United States, there are numerous such examples. A sampling of the issues highlighted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention include the facts that:

  • Children who are black and Hispanic are more frequently hospitalized for asthma-related issues than children who are white.
  • Adults who are American Indian or Alaska Natives are two times as likely to be diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes as are people who are non-Hispanic and white.
  • People who are non-Hispanic and black have the highest rate of obesity.
  • Two out of 5 adults who are African American have high blood pressure.

As individuals, the first step toward bridging health inequalities is to become aware of and respond to your own health status. Consider the demographic into which you fall and the health issues for which you may be at a higher risk. From diabetes and  heart issues to nutrition and sexually transmitted diseases, there are simple tests available to you on a walk-in basis that will help you better understand your health and take steps to protect and improve it. Join Any Lab Test Now in spreading the word about Minority Health Awareness Month and be sure to take control of your health.

March is National Kidney Month: Preserve Your Kidney Health!

March is National Kidney Month: Preserve Your Kidney Health!

Cleanses and fasts are all the rage now, for getting in shape and ridding your body of “toxins.” But we at Any Lab Test Now recommend that you take some time to look to your body’s built-in cleansers — your kidneys. Your blood passes through your kidneys several times a day to be filtered and taken back to your heart, lungs and other organs. In honor of National Kidney Month, here are a few ways to keep your kidneys at peak health.

Manage any other health conditions. Heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes can contribute to kidney problems. Since these conditions affect blood flow, it’s important to manage them so your blood can make it to your kidneys to be filtered. Diabetes can also cause your body to release chemicals in response to blood sugar imbalances, which can damage your kidneys.

Cut back on salt and alcohol. This doesn’t mean you need to completely give them up, but consuming these in moderation has proven to decrease the amount of damage kidneys sustain over time. Try incorporating more produce and spices into your diet, and limit your alcohol intake to one or two drinks per night.

Exercise, but don’t overdo it. Exercise is always a good idea for managing your health, but it’s important to strike a balance. Overtraining can be just as bad as remaining sedentary, because it can cause a breakdown of your muscles, which will release harmful chemicals back into your bloodstream. These chemicals reach your kidneys and can cause damage.

Try to quit smoking. Smoking can damage your blood vessels, which reduces the flow of blood to your kidneys. Nothing performs at its optimal level when blood isn’t flowing well, and your kidneys are no exception. So try to cut back or quit completely to heal your blood vessels.

Cool it on the over-the-counter medicines. Some NSAID pain relievers like ibuprofen and naproxen sodium can damage kidneys when taken over prolonged periods of time. If you don’t take them regularly, you probably don’t have anything to worry about. But if you use NSAIDs for chronic pain management, be sure to talk to your doctor about monitoring your kidney function.

The renal function panel at Any Lab Test Now works by testing your urine for substances like ketones and urea nitrogen, which typically don’t appear in high levels in the body due to the filtration provided by the kidneys. If the kidneys aren’t able to do their job, higher levels of proteins, sugars and even blood can appear in the urine.

Your renal system works hard to make sure your body doesn’t absorb harmful chemicals all day. Your kidneys never stop filtering blood, and they can keep working effectively even at 20 percent functionality. But the length of the kidney transplant list grows by the day; clearly once these important organs are impaired beyond their threshold, a person experiences a dramatic loss in their ability to live a full life. So take some time to evaluate these important organs by stopping in at Any Lab Test Now for a renal function panel!