National Folic Acid Awareness Week

Everything your body does relies on a B vitamin to help make it happen. From your metabolism to your brain function, to the growth and maintenance of your circulatory and nervous systems, none of it would happen if B vitamins weren’t there to help out. This group of vitamins was deemed so vital to Americans that in 1998, the U.S. government passed a law to require that flour products be fortified with them to help ensure that the population could get enough of the nutrients in a normal diet. Among infants, young children and women of childbearing age, folate, or folic acid, is among the most important B vitamin, Vitamin B9, because of its role in cell division and the formation of the nervous system. In honor of National Folic Acid Week, here are some facts you may not have known about folate’s role in the body.

Folate regulates cell division and aids in the construction and maintenance of the circulatory, nervous and digestive systems. It is most important during periods of time where cells are dividing rapidly, such as during growth spurts or development of organ systems. The best sources of folates are meat, beans and legumes, shellfish and whole grains. Fortification of refined grain foods have made things like breakfast cereals and refined flour into great sources of folic acid, and this has led to a dramatic decrease in the amount of folate deficiencies diagnosed in the U.S.

There are many reasons that one can be deficient in folic acid, although luckily, simply not consuming enough is no longer a prominent cause. Instead, illnesses like alcoholism, Crohn’s disease and certain genetic disorders are more likely causes. Many medications will also limit the amount of folate your body can absorb from food. If you have a condition that keeps your body from absorbing folate, it’s crucial that you discuss ways to supplement your intake with your doctor, because a folate deficiency can impact every area of your life.

The first symptoms of a deficiency are exhaustion, mental fogginess and depression. These start out relatively mild and are easy to reverse if they are caught quickly. A more chronic deficiency can cause folate deficiency anemia, which causes the red blood cells to grow abnormally large and unable to carry oxygen. This ends up leading to chronic fatigue, and your hair can even start turning gray. Folate deficiencies are especially dangerous for infants and pregnant women, since a lack of folate can cause the nervous system and spine to develop improperly in utero. It is estimated that between 11 and 19 percent of people in the United States do not consume enough folate in their diets. At Any Lab Test Now, there are a wide variety of lab tests available to help you determine your body’s folate levels, including the Vitamin B12/Folate Test, the Hematocrit lab test  which evaluates your red blood cell levels, our Anemia Panel, or the MTHFR Test, which can reveal a genetic disorder that hinders your folate absorption.

Folate is an integral part of the development and maintenance of bodily systems, and it’s absolutely crucial for growth and circulation. Fortification of refined foods have brought the U.S. into an era of unsurpassed health, but there are still a relatively large amount of people who struggle to get all of the nutrients they need. This National Folic Acid Week is the perfect time to look at your consumption and your folic acid levels, to see if you’re in optimal health. Stop in at an Any Lab Test Now location today to get your levels tested and find out your status!

Why Should I Get My Vitamin B Levels Tested?

B12 Vitamin Photo

Everyone knows the feeling. It’s 9 a.m. after a late night, you just sat down at your desk and you can’t imagine how you’re going to get through a whole work day without falling asleep where you’re sitting. It’s fatigue, and it hits all of us at one time or another. But for many, that fatigue won’t go away, and that could indicate a deficiency in vitamin B. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there is about a 10 percent chance that the average American is deficient in a given vitamin or nutrient. Conversely, the rates of vitamin toxicity have risen in recent years due to the increased use of multivitamins, and about 60,000 instances of vitamin toxicity are reported to U.S. poison control centers each year. Vitamin toxicity, which is an overabundance of a vitamin in the body, can take a tragic toll if it isn’t caught in time, causing damage to several organ systems, including your nerves, liver, kidneys and brain. If you’re concerned that you’re getting too much or not enough nutrients like vitamin B, a vitamin level test might be just what you need.

 

Vitamin B is an extremely important nutrient for the function of the immune system, metabolism and production of healthy skin, nails and red blood cells. The B vitamin family includes vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B12 and folic acid, and each of these serves a different, but important, purpose in the body. The most commonly deficient of these are vitamin B6 and folic acid, which are important for the metabolism, immune system and fetal development. Deficiencies in these vitamins can cause extreme fatigue, confusion, a weakened immune system and rashes. For most B vitamins, the recommended daily amount is in the range of 5-20 mg.

 

The best way to determine whether you’re getting the right amount of vitamin B is to have your vitamin levels tested. Any Lab Test Now offers vitamin level testing at all of its locations, and with the results of a vitamin test, you can approach your doctor about how to solve any toxicities or deficiencies. With a vitamin as important to basic bodily functions as vitamin B, this test can mean the difference between walking around like a zombie and having enough energy to live life to the fullest. You owe it to yourself to make sure your nutrition is working for you!

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.

Celiac Disease: Do You Know the Facts?

What is Celiac Disease?

Estimated to affect 1 in 100 people worldwide, celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder in which the immune system directs antibodies to attack the body against gluten, a protein found in grains. When a person with celiac disease eats a food containing gluten, their body mounts an immune response to damage the small intestines causing improper absorption of the gluten nutrient.

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms of celiac disease include, but are not limited to:

  • Digestive problems (diarrhea, gas pain, abdominal bloating)
  • Dermatitis herpetiformis, a severe skin rash
  • Muscle cramps
  • Joint and bone pain
  • Mouth sores or ulcers
  • Fatigue
  • Weight Loss
  • Missed menstrual periods

What are the long-term health effects?

If left untreated, celiac disease can lead to serious long-term health problems including anemia, osteoporosis, infertility, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, neurological conditions and intestinal cancers.

What are the treatments?

At this time, the only treatment for those living with celiac disease is a lifelong adherence to a strict gluten-free diet. This means avoiding any foods containing wheat, rye and barley; all of which contain the protein, gluten.

Do I have celiac disease?

The only way for a person to truly know if they have celiac disease is to get tested. The test will detect if antibodies (triggered by the presence of gluten) are present in the body. If so, that person is said to have tested positive for celiac disease. Because of this detection process, in order to receive proper testing, a person needs to have been ingesting gluten products for several weeks prior to the test.

If you think you may have celiac disease, contact your local Any Lab Test Now® today and schedule a Celiac Disease Panel. Our quality testing services and trained staff will help you begin to Take Control of Your Health® and equip you to live a healthy, gluten-free lifestyle if needed.

Get To Know The Facts About PSA Testing

What do you know about Prostate Specific Antigen, PSA testing? Many argue over the necessity of the test. However, one thing is non-debatable: your health is important.

First, it is important to understand and become aware of what exactly PSA testing is. PSA, prostate specific antigen, is produced by a man’s prostate gland. When the test is conducted, it measures the level of PSA in his blood. If the levels are elevated, it is potentially a sign of prostate cancer.

In addition to prostate cancer, a large number of noncancerous conditions such as an enlarged prostate can be found by an elevated PSA blood level. Who should have a PSA test completed?

“Men over the age of 50 should talk to their doctor about their personal risk of developing prostate cancer and the benefits and risks of having a PSA test.”

Proactive blood testing can help you monitor your levels and possible detect and treat disease before it’s too late.  You might also want to consider a PSA test before the age of 50 to establish a baseline for future testing.

How The Affordable Care Act Affects Workplace Wellness

As health care reform continues to be explored, it’s interesting to evaluate how it affects the workplace. Workplace wellness programs have become more of a trend due to the Affordable Care Act. The workplace wellness provisions have sparked research into the effectiveness of programs as well as added concern of shifts in health care costs due to the state of employee health.

“In a 2013 report, “Workplace Wellness Programs Study,” sponsored by HHS and conducted by Rand Corporation, researchers found that uptake remains limited, with fewer than half of employees undergoing clinical screenings or completing a health risk assessment. However, the report found “meaningful improvements” in exercise rates, smoking and weight control, though not in cholesterol levels.”

In addition, many employers expressed the reduction of medical costs due to wellness programs. The goal in creating and implementing these programs are to improve the health of employees and to control healthcare spending. By creating wellness programs and encouraging employees to participate in those programs, these facts can continue to improve.

Are you incorporating a new or improved wellness program in your workplace? There’s no better time than now to re-evaluate your wellness programs!

For more information visit www.anylabtestnow.com/aca.

Alert! Curious about Diabetes?

Nearly 6 million people are affected by diabetes and don’t even know it. If left undetected, it can be a silent killer. Your chances of heart attack, strokes, kidney problems or infections increase due to diabetes.

American Diabetes Association Alert Day® takes place on the fourth Tuesday of every March and is dedicated to bringing awareness and to encourage the public to take an online Diabetes Risk Test to determine their risk for developing type 2 diabetes. Tips and suggestions are provided after the test tailored to your results. Today, March 25th, is this years Alert Day so encourage your friends and family members to get involved!

This past Diabetes Awareness Month, we shared some alarming statistics on the disease. For a deeper look into your health, take our Diabetes Maintenance Panel specific for diabetics and for those who are curious if they might have diabetes. Remember, you can’t manage what you don’t measure. Take Control of Your Health® this Alert Day.

Eating Right & Exercising Doesn’t Matter If You Don’t Do This

Happy New Year! We are ringing 2014 in by sharing something you may not have thought about when it comes to exercise and eating healthy…

Eating right and maintaining an exercise plan on a daily basis is really important, but do you know what’s going on inside your body?

Your overall health should be a priority.

You should get to know the state of your personal health that way you know what you should be focusing on when it comes to exercise and eating healthy. Your optimum performance can be reached when you know exactly what’s going on in your body. You can learn that through baseline health lab testing. Scheduling an appointment or visiting an ANY LAB TEST NOW® location near you is an affordable, convenient way to do so.

A combination of eating right, exercising and staying on top of your health with lab tests will help you Take Control of Your Health® and will maintain the consistency of your daily routine.

Do you have any exercise or healthy eating tips that work for you? Tweet us @ALTNCorp or post on our Facebook page to let us know!

5 FAQ’s You Should Know The Answer To

So you’re researching different lab testing options, huh? You’ve come to the right place. We’ve put together 5 questions that our customers want to know the answers to about us on a regular basis so that we can share them with you and make your life a little easier.

1. How is the lab test performed?
An ANY LAB TEST NOW® medical assistant or phlebotomist will gently draw the necessary amount of blood or collect any other appropriate biological specimen needed for the specific test, label it appropriately, complete needed paperwork or chain-of-custody documentation, and send it to our accredited/certified laboratory partner for analysis. 

2. How long do results take to get back?
Most test results are available within 24 – 48 business hours after specimen collection.

3. Do I have to make an appointment?
No appointment is necessary. However, scheduling an appointment can save you time. The medical assistant will have all the proper supplies and documents ready and waiting for you. You can easily find a store location in your community, call or schedule an appointment online.

4. Can ANY LAB TEST NOW diagnose me?
ANY LAB TEST NOW® does not treat or diagnose.  Once you receive your test results, you can take them to your physician, or use our AmeriDoc telemedicine services*.  The doc is just a phone call away!

5. Will my insurance pay for the tests done at ANY LAB TEST NOW®?
We do not accept medical insurance. In some cases, your lab test and its payment may be accepted and reimbursed by your insurance company in accordance with the terms of your policy. Cash and all major credit cards are accepted. We also accepts most health savings account credit or debit cards associated with a major credit card.

For more FAQ’s from ANY LAB TEST NOW® check them out here.

*Not available in the State of Florida

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.