Gluten-free: a diet for some, deadly for others

You’ve probably seen it in the grocery store or on a page of the restaurant menu: “Gluten Free” in bold letters. It’s a claim that for some people means a choice to help them lose weight or to live a healthier lifestyle. But for others it is truly not a choice and it can make all the difference to their long-term health. Is going gluten free a “choice” or a “must” for you? Your local Any Lab Test Now can help you decide.

Not a Fad but a Fact

For some people, the ingestion of gluten leads to a cascade of health problems that end with serious damage to the small intestine. These are the people who have celiac disease, a very serious autoimmune disorder. According to the Celiac Disease Foundation, 2.5 million Americans are living with the disease undiagnosed…and are at serious risk for long-term health complications. Complications like malnutrition, osteoporosis, infertility, even certain types of cancer can occur if the disease is left untreated.

Little Protein; Big Problem

So, what happens when you have celiac disease? The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has some helpful information. Basically, when a person with celiac disease ingests gluten, their body can’t digest it and it hangs around in their system triggering an autoimmune response. That’s when the body goes on the attack! Over time, that leads to the damage of the small intestine and other potential health problems. The only way to stop the damage at this point is to avoid ingesting gluten, which is easier said than done. Gluten is found in wheat, barley and rye, so it shows up most often in bread, pasta, and baked treats. But this little protein is tricky! It can show up in lip balms, toothpastes, and even envelope adhesive.

Signs and Symptoms

Celiac disease is serious and you might wonder just how 2.5 million Americans can continue to live with this disease, undiagnosed? That’s because the symptoms can be so different for each person. We could fill a page with some of the different symptoms to look for in adults and children, but here are a few:

  • Anemia
  • Bone or joint pain
  • Depression or anxiety
  • Headaches
  • Chronic diarrhea
  • Numbness in hands and feet
  • Tiredness
  • Abdominal pain and bloating

You can take your health into your own hands if you suspect you have celiac disease. Any Lab Test Now offers tests to help you get answers:

CICA – Celiac, IBS, and Crohn’s ArrayWant to check for a wider range? Consider the CICA test, which measures gut health on the genetic, antibody, and cellular levels. This is a much deeper investigation that can point you and your doctor in the right direction.

Celiac Disease vs. Gluten Sensitivity

Be aware that celiac disease is different from gluten sensitivity. If you have gluten sensitivity, you may have symptoms similar to those of celiac disease, but gluten sensitivity does not damage the small intestine. Any Lab Test Now offers the ALCAT 50 Food Panel to test for food sensitivity and intolerance. Check here to find an Any Lab Test Now location near you.

Use Your FSA On These 5 Tests

A Flexible Spending Account (FSA) is a tax-advantaged account, to be used for medical expenses only. An FSA is different from a Health Savings Accounts (HSA) in that the money must be used within the calendar year. Unused funds left at the end of the year are returned to your employer, who can use it to offset the inevitable costs of administering benefits or may simply split it amongst the employees in the FSA plan.

This means that, if you have money left in your account, now is the time to put it to good use. Any Lab Test Now offers a variety of tests that can provide insightful information about your health and family history.

Allergy Tests

If you find yourself suffering from itchy eyes, blotchy skin or a stuffy nose, you may have allergies.  Some common allergens are pollen, grass, house dust and pet dander. At Any Lab Test Now, you can get tested and determine what is causing your allergies to act up. With test results in hand, you can get the proper medications and start making lifestyle changes to ease your symptoms.

Food Sensitivity and Intolerance Tests

If you experience a scratchy throat, hives or body swelling after eating, you may have a food sensitivity or intolerance and should be tested. Even if you did not have any food allergies as a child, it is possible to develop them later in life. Intolerance to things like lactose or gluten can have a negative impact on your digestion. By getting tested, you’ll learn how you need to adjust your diet to live more comfortably.

Vitamins, Minerals & Nutrition Lab Tests

Constantly tired, worn down or lethargic? You may suffer from a vitamin or mineral deficiency. Put your FSA to good use and learn more about your body. At Any Lab Test Now, you can talk with a qualified professional to determine which test is most appropriate for your diet and lifestyle. From a B-12 deficiency test to a potassium test to weight management take-home hormone kits, there are a variety from which to choose.

Cholesterol Tests

High cholesterol often runs in families. If you have a family history of less-than-stellar cholesterol counts, it is a good idea to get checked! Oftentimes, high cholesterol doesn’t come with any symptoms. In many cases, it goes completely undetected until an emergency event such as a heart attack or stroke. High cholesterol can lead to plaque building up in your arteries, which will eventually cause damage to your body. Lifestyle changes and proper medication can help reduce the risks, so get tested today!

DNA Tests

Love history? Curious where your family came from or which relatives share a common maternal or paternal ancestor? Ancestry and lineage testing can tell you which family member is on your mother or father’s side, where your family line originated, and how you came to be. It’s a fascinating process that analyzes your mitochondria or, in men, the Y-chromosome, depending on the specific test you choose.

Those are just a few of the tests offered at Any Lab Test Now. There are many more tests, such as blood tests, drug and alcohol tests and thyroid lab tests, that may be beneficial for you. Any Lab Test Now is committed to providing patients with a top-of-the-line experience, so stop in today to talk more about what test is right for you. Available tests may vary between locations, so find your nearest Any Lab Test Now location at AnyLabTestNow.com.

 

Remain at the Top of Your Game – Athletic Testing is Here for You!

With back-to-school announcements approaching quickly, so is the kickoff to the fall athletic season. Sports teams will begin tryouts, mandatory practices and, soon enough, be in full swing for the season. We know that, as a parent, you want your child to remain competitive and healthy while playing the sport they love. Yet there’s always a chance that a young athlete’s immune system and overall performance may fall vulnerable to numerous internal and external factors. Fortunately, Any Lab Test Now offers a timely and convenient method of obtaining the lab tests you need to help take control of your child’s health.

Benefits of Athletic Testing Services

All student athletes are required to have an updated physical on file prior to competing. In addition to a basic physical, you may want more in-depth knowledge on your child’s health so that they can continue to perform at their peak. Any Lab Test Now offers a wide range of lab tests with results typically available in 72 hours or less. No appointment or insurance is necessary for the tests. Not to mention, lab tests are still the most cost-effective approach to uncovering and preventing disease.

After testing, your athlete will receive the information they need, within a prompt time frame, to report back to their primary physician. Whether your soccer star has been struggling to catch his breath on the field and you’re worried about allergies or your cross-country runner is more tired that normal, Any Lab Test Now can help you uncover hidden issues that may be impacting your child’s health and physical performance.

Common lab tests to help monitor an athlete’s overall health, include:

Allergy Tests

Vitamins, Minerals And Nutrition Lab Tests

Anemia Panel

Sickle Cell Anemia Screen

Preventing Injury and Improving Performance

It’s crucial for young, competitive athletes to remain attentive to their body’s needs during such a pivotal time in their growth and development. Sometimes, this can be a challenge as ambitious athletes want to focus their full attention on improving their performance on the field, court or track. Fortunately, the variety of tests offered at an Any Lab Test Now location can ensure athletes accomplish both.

Lab tests supply detailed information on specific processes happening within the body. By locating the origin of a problem, an athlete can learn more about their body and educate themselves on how to stay healthy when playing at a competitive level. Preventing long-term injury and/or internal imbalances are pivotal for an athlete’s achievement.

Lab tests also provide scientific data that can set a baseline of where an athlete stands in comparison to the status quo. This allows them the opportunity to set personal health goals and improve their fitness. The smallest change in an athlete’s diet or training could make all the difference in shredding a few seconds off a mile-time or scoring an extra goal.

Competing at the high school level, on travel teams or in front of college recruiters requires dedication to overall fitness and wellness. Ensure your child’s health is on the right track by addressing any sign of potential injury and helping them stay educated about their bodies. If you want immediate answers regarding your young athlete’s health, visit your convenient Any Lab Test Now location to get them tested today.

Shortage of the Sunshine Vitamin

It’s hard to imagine it, but even in the middle of summer, there are people who aren’t getting enough sunshine in their life. There could be all kinds of reasons why, but the most likely one is because they are being wise and listening to the well-placed warnings from their dermatologist about skin cancer. So, they slather on sunscreen, suit up in long sleeved shirts and pants and basically avoid the sun when possible. But some doctors are seeing an unintended consequence to this advice: vitamin D deficiency.

What is Vitamin D

According to the Vitamin D Council, D is unlike any other vitamin. Your body can make its own vitamin D when you expose your skin to sunlight. But, your body can’t make other vitamins; you have to get them from the foods you eat.

Basically, when your skin is exposed to the sun, it produces vitamin D and sends it to your liver. Your liver then changes it to a substance called 25 OH D. When your doctor talks about your vitamin D levels you’ll basically be talking about the amount of 25 OH D you have in your blood. You can also get vitamin D from supplements or even small amounts from the foods you eat.

Vitamin D at Work

Vitamin D plays a crucial role in keeping your bones strong. Your body needs it in order to absorb calcium. If you don’t have enough, your bones can become soft, thin and brittle. In children, this is called rickets. In adults, it’s known as osteomalacia. Researchers are also looking into the role that a vitamin D deficiency plays in:

  • Cancer
  • Asthma
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Depression
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Type 1 diabetes

Are You at Risk?

A lack of sun exposure due to sunscreen use isn’t the only risk factor for a deficiency. Some people are just more inclined to it. According to the Vitamin D Council, people at risk for D deficiency include:

  • People with darker skin. The darker your skin the more sun exposure you need to get the same amount of vitamin D as a fair-skinned person.
  • People who spend a lot of time indoors during the day. For example, if you’re housebound or work nights and spend the day sleeping.
  • Older people, because they have thinner skin and may not be able to produce as much vitamin D as younger people.
  • Pregnant women and breastfed-only infants.
  • People who are overweight.

The symptoms of a vitamin D deficiency are so vague you might not have a clue. They can range anywhere from tiredness and general aches and pains to a pain in your bones and weakness. Some people don’t even have symptoms at all.

Testing to Know Your Levels

Testing to find out your levels of this important vitamin is as simple as going to your local Any Lab Test Now location. The test you’ll want to ask for is the Vitamin D 25-Hydroxy Test (25 OH D). It’s a simple test that requires no fasting and results generally take between 24 to 72 hours. Our experts have found that people who take the Vitamin D 25-Hydroxy Test (25 OH D) will also request one of the following relevant tests as well:

If your levels are abnormal a trip to your doctor is in order. They can talk to you about safe and sensible sun exposure and supplements. Having plenty of the “sunshine vitamin” can really be the key to feeling sunny every day!

Understand the Impact of Nutrients on Your Body

Understand the Impact of Nutrients on Your Body

Do you know what’s happening in your body when you eat? What you eat and how well your body digests it can have a far-reaching impact on your health and everyday wellbeing, so it’s important to know what’s happening internally. There’s a lot of information that can be revealed when you take time to be tested for nutrient absorption, which is why nutritional testing at Any Lab Test Now is important.

What is Nutritional Testing?

By analyzing blood chemistry, these tests reveal more than simple digestive trouble. The cellular composition of your blood, including levels of hemoglobin, red and white blood cells and platelet counts, can give you helpful hints about health conditions you might be experiencing. Nutritional testing can also examine levels of vitamins, minerals and enzymes in your blood and compare these to normal levels to find any deficiencies. Finally, the density of many of the components of your blood can tell you if your organs are functioning properly and if you’re getting enough fluids.

Nutrition-Related Health Concerns

Nutrition plays an important role in keeping your body balanced and full of energy. When not properly balanced, your body can experience a variety of discomforts and long-term health issues. A few examples include:

  • Fatigue
  • Achy, weak or crampy muscles
  • Low hormone levels
  • Chronic inflammation
  • Organ malfunction
  • Abnormal heart rhythms
  • Anemia
  • Memory loss

Micronutrients

Micronutrients are vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Unlike nutrients like calcium and potassium, these are only needed in small amounts, yet being deficient in one or more of these nutrients can also be harmful to your body. To gather even more information about your digestive health, try tests like the micronutrient test and the comprehensive male or female panel. These tests will give you a better picture of how well-balanced your diet is. Too little of a certain micronutrient may lead to long-term health issues, such as poor organ function, poor immune function or any number of chronic diseases.

Nutrition is the backbone of your physical health, so it makes sense that you would need to check up on it every once in a while. By getting a nutritional panel at Any Lab Test Now, you can answer any questions you might have about your nutrition, as well as potentially find solutions to nagging health issues. So walk-in to your local Any Lab Test Now to see how a Nutritional Panel can help you stay healthy!

Tests to Consider for the New Year

This time of year, many people are making resolutions to change their lives for the better. Resolutions give people a sense of new beginnings for themselves, and a chance to look forward to the progress they will make toward becoming a healthier, happier individual. Most people who make a New Year’s resolution are thinking of their health – they want to make positive changes in their appearance and overall livelihood.

But what many people don’t realize when they’re staring in the mirror is that good health starts on the inside. To appear healthier on the outside, you must first make healthy, internal changes. If you’re looking to make a change, but don’t know where to start, Any Lab Test Now has several tests that can help you accomplish your resolutions for 2017:

Sensitivity and Intolerance Tests

One great way to make a healthy change is to finally find out what’s been causing your unexplained ailments or discomfort. Often, people with a food sensitivity or intolerance don’t realize what is causing their health issues. That’s because it’s hard to isolate just one food as the cause of your pain. This is where Sensitivity and Intolerance Tests can help! These tests can help you determine any food sensitivities or intolerances you may have, letting you get to the bottom of what is causing your health problems.

Sexual Health Lab Tests

If you are sexually active, it is important to make sure you are healthy and disease-free. Most people know they should get tested for STDs, but continually put it off. The thing is, by putting off getting tested, you’ll continue to feel that nagging worry in the back of your mind – “Do I have a disease?” Give yourself peace of mind by finding out for sure in 2017, and taking care of your health from head to toe. Any Lab Test Now’s Sexual Health Lab Tests will help you check off that big “to-do” item lingering in your thoughts.

Diabetes Lab Tests and Cholesterol Lab Tests

Before you can look healthy on the outside, you must address the issues going on inside your body. If you are concerned you might have high cholesterol, diabetes or pre-diabetes, it’s time to get tested and find out for sure. Dangerous complications can arise from having these conditions, including a higher risk of heart disease, heart attack and stroke. Make 2017 the year you take control of your heart health, starting with a Diabetes Lab Test and Cholesterol Lab Test.

Get started on your 2017 New Year’s resolution to be healthier by getting some much needed answers to your nagging health questions. Once you better understand your health today, you can start taking steps towards achieving better health this year. Talk to the experts at Any Lab Test Now to learn what testing options are right for you, and take the first step towards a healthier, happier you.

Five Recommended Tests for the New Year

Each January, people across the country resolve to get fit and improve their health. From increasing exercise and reducing stress to taking vitamins and eating right, people understand the importance of taking care of their bodies and minds. Taking care of oneself is a goal that has positive impacts on every area of life.

Of course, any time you set a goal, it is important to figure out how you will track your progress and measure the impact of the actions you take to reach the goal. When it comes to goals related to good health, there are tests that can help you evaluate where you are today and what your personal areas of focus should be.

In 2017, the top five suggested tests for men and women are:

Basic Check-Up Panel – This grouping of tests helps you evaluate your overall health. From liver function to blood pressure, this panel gives you a high-level view of your health today so that you can better pinpoint what is working well, what isn’t, and identify areas for improvement.

Comprehensive Female Panel – This is the most comprehensive panel for women. Not only does it evaluate your overall health, as in the Basic Check-Up Panel, but it also measures hormone levels, nutrition status and thyroid function.

Male Panel – Like the Basic Check-Up Panel, this gives you a good overview of your health. In addition, however, it evaluates adrenal functions that are specific to men and testicular health.

Nutritional Panel – Often, health and wellness issues can stem from having too much or too little of a nutrient in one’s body. Evaluating and monitoring the level of various nutrients in your body is a good first step to making sure your body has what it needs to perform at its best.

Cortisol Total Test – Cortisol is the hormone your body releases in response to stress. When cortisol levels are too high for an extended period, they can contribute to health issues. Monitoring your cortisol level is a good starting point if your goal is to reduce stress.

When it comes to good health, making the decision to take control is step one! Step two is learning about how healthy your body is today so that you can find specific areas for improvement. From there, you can establish a plan that meets your personal health needs. Then, when 2018 rolls around, you are sure to find yourself fitter and healthier!

The 5 Best Tests to Use Your FSA On

altn-dec-newsletter-sized-fsaHSA and FSA accounts can help you budget for your healthcare, and ensure you always have the money you need to pay for any unexpected health events. But if you still have money in your FSA, it will expire at the end of the year. Instead of letting your money vanish, put it to use by getting some testing or immunizations you’ve been putting off. Wrap up lingering health concerns now so you can start fresh in the new year.

Allergy Test
The holidays coincide with peak cold and flu season, but if your sniffles won’t go away, you might look into allergy testing. Up to 50 million Americans suffer from allergies. If you experience emotional or physical reactions after you eat, or if you frequently have symptoms like a stuffy nose or trouble breathing, you might have an allergy to something you ate. The Allergy Test goes through as many as 45 different foods and 45 environmental triggers to identify the root of your symptoms.

Intolerance Test
If you’ve been noticing symptoms that aren’t associated with an allergic reaction, then you might have a food intolerance. If you experience fatigue, gas or diarrhea, depression or anxiety, weight gain or a general chronic discomfort, you may want to get a food intolerance test. This becomes especially important as you grow older, because you can develop new food sensitivities or intolerances later in life.

Blood Cortisol Test
If your stress levels are through the roof, the holiday season will likely only make it worse — it can seem like your to-do list never ends! To see if your stress is starting to cause problems for your body, get a blood cortisol test. High levels of cortisol are dangerous, because over time they can lead to high blood pressure, inflammation, compromised immune response and weight gain.

Thyroid Test
The holiday meals sure are delicious, but do you know what isn’t so great? The holiday pounds. If your weight gain tends to stick around a bit too long after the holidays, you should get your thyroid tested. Your thyroid controls metabolic activity, which is vital for maintaining a healthy weight. Poor thyroid health is associated with symptoms like fatigue, short attention span, weight gain and numbness or cold intolerance. Thyroid disorders can also cause conditions like osteoporosis and heart disease.

Proof of Immunizations
Are you traveling for the holidays or early next year? The first thing on your list should be to make sure your immunizations are up-to-date, which you can do by getting a proof of immunization test. These tests ensure that you have gotten the immunizations you need and provide valid paperwork to prove that you are immunized, which can be helpful if you’ve lost any documentation.

Don’t wait for the new year to address your lingering health concerns. If you have an FSA that is going to expire soon, get the important lab tests you need before 2017! For more information, visit your local Any Lab Test Now.

What’s the Difference Between a Gluten Intolerance and Celiac Disease?

March newsletter gluten celiac small

Gluten Intolerance Vs. Celiac Disease

Digestive issues. Unexplained fatigue. Headaches. Pain. Mood issues. If this sounds like an average day in your life, you’re not alone. About 15 percent of people in the U.S. have some form of gluten intolerance, and you could be one of them. While there could be other causes, these symptoms can point to a gluten intolerance, which goes undiagnosed in patients 99 percent of the time.

Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye and barley, and it is a HUGE part of the American diet. Odds are, you’ve been eating gluten all your life, and this could be the cause of these daily, unexplained discomforts.

So, what is gluten intolerance?

Gluten intolerance is a broad category of food intolerance that covers a range of conditions, including celiac disease — the most severe of the gluten intolerances — non-celiac gluten sensitivity and wheat allergies.

Celiac Disease Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity Wheat Allergy
What is it? A hereditary autoimmune disorder A sensitivity to gluten An allergy to the gluten protein when wheat is ingested
What happens when gluten is ingested? An autoimmune response that causes severe damage to the small intestine and long-term health problems A stress response is triggered by the body, often resulting in uncomfortable GI symptoms An immune response is triggered causing a temporary reaction by the body

As you can see in the chart above, a gluten intolerance can be anything from a mild irritation to a life-altering disease. Regardless of where you fall in this range, it is important to recognize your symptoms so you can protect your health.

Depending on the severity of your intolerance, symptoms may include:

  • Digestive issues including gas, bloating, diarrhea and constipation
  • Unexplained skin rashes
  • Unexplained fatigue, especially after eating a meal containing gluten
  • Mood issues like anxiety, mood swings, depression or ADD
  • Migraine headaches
  • Hormone imbalances
  • And many other possible symptoms

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms listed above, it may be a sign you should get tested for a gluten intolerance. At Any Lab Test Now, there are many options to choose from.

Want to test for celiac disease?

  • Try our Celiac Disease Panel. As celiac disease can often be difficult to diagnose, this test can help to differentiate between celiac disease and other inflammatory bowel diseases.
  • Or try our ALCAT Gut Health Profile, which can also help you diagnose celiac disease or discover the possibility of a non-celiac gluten sensitivity.

Or if you feel that you may have a wheat allergy, you can find out with these tests:

The sooner you know the cause of your symptoms, the sooner you can start doing something about them. Talk to the experts at Any Lab Test Now to find out which test is right for you and start your journey toward a happier, healthier life.

The Types of Food Sensitivity You Need To Know

It’s estimated that 15 million Americans have a food allergy, according to Food Allergy Research and Education. Furthermore, it’s estimated that food intolerance is prevalent in approximately 5 to 12 percent of the population. With so many people undiagnosed currently, you would be right to worry about whether you have a food sensitivity. Here’s what you need to know.

What is a food allergy?

This is an immune system response in your body that reacts to the introduction of a specific food as if it were a threat. This response can take place within minutes or hours, but it happens relatively quickly after you consume the food. Symptoms can be mild or severe, and they can even be life-threatening if the reaction leads to anaphylaxis. Watch out for these symptoms:

  • Itching in your mouth or swelling
  • Gastrointestinal symptoms, such as vomiting, diarrhea, or abdominal cramps and pain
  • Hives or eczema
  • Tightening of the throat and trouble breathing
  • Drop in blood pressure

What is a food intolerance?

This occurs when you have difficulty digesting a certain food. You might be able to eat a little bit of the food without symptoms, or you might not be able to eat it at all. Unlike a food allergy, symptoms take longer to develop. They start a few hours after consumption of the food and can last hours. Since food intolerance deals with digestion, symptoms tend to be relegated to the digestive tract. Watch out for these symptoms:

  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Vomiting
  • Bloating
  • Irritable bowel
  • Fatigue and general sick feeling

How can you know for sure if you have a food sensitivity?

A lab test can tell you if you have a food allergy or a food intolerance. But the tests for these two conditions are different. Therefore, it’s crucial to get the right lab test.

If you think you have a food allergy …

IgE and IgG tests can accurately inform you whether you have a true allergy to a substance. However, you must have been exposed to the irritant recently in order to detect the antibodies. These tests are commonly performed with exposure to the suspected allergen on the skin, but blood tests can be performed as well.

If you think you have a food intolerance …

An ALCAT test can detect intolerances and sensitivities accurately and regardless of recent exposure to the irritant. Essentially, the blood sample(s) taken are exposed to suspected or common irritants, and the cells’ reactions are studied to determine the body’s reaction. Any Lab Test Now is equipped to handle a wide range of ALCAT tests to help you determine if you have a food sensitivity.

The first step is testing. Then you can talk to your doctor about possible treatment options. Knowledge is key to know the proper treatment, and Any Lab Test Now can help you gain that knowledge!