Are You Getting a Good Night’s Rest?

Whether you like to be curled up under a pile of blankets, buried under a mountain of pillows, or free from constrictive bedding, a good night’s sleep is essential to your health. In fact, quality sleep is as critical as proper diet and exercise. It is a key factor in immune function, metabolism, memory, and learning; yet, more than a third of United States adults do not get enough sleep.

 

Insufficient Sleep

Insufficient sleep is on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) radar and has been labeled a public health concern. So, what constitutes a successful night of slumber? The CDC recommends at least seven hours per night for adults and even more for teens and children. In a 2014 survey, only 65 percent of Americans reported a healthy sleep duration. Incredibly, 12 percent reported sleeping less than five hours and 23 percent reported only six hours per night.

Sleep Quality

While the number of hours of sleep is important to restoring and revitalizing your body, the National Sleep Foundation’s new report presents sleep quality differently. It recommends that you strive for these four bedtime accomplishments:

  • Sleeping 85 percent of the time you spend in bed
  • Falling asleep in 30 minutes or less
  • Waking up no more than once a night
  • Falling back asleep within 20 minutes

Impacts of Too Little Sleep

Too little sleep negatively impacts both your physical and mental health. Lack of sleep can contribute to a variety of serious medical issues, including obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes. In the immediate future, it can also contribute to motor vehicle and other accidents because you are not as alert as you would be if you were well rested and may have impaired judgement. Additionally, long-term sleeplessness can contribute to forgetfulness, depression, and anxiety.

At Any Lab Test Now, there is an option to help you determine if you are suffering from insomnia. The Sleep Balance Take Home Hormone Kit can help find the possible causes of disturbed sleep. The kit is a simple urine test that measures melatonin and cortisol. Melatonin is the hormone that helps to regulate when the body should be asleep vs. awake. Cortisol is produced in response to stress to keep your body on-guard, but should naturally decline at night: if it does not, your body can have trouble calming itself. As the test helps you better understand what is preventing a restful slumber, you can work with your doctor to mitigate these issues.

Talk to our experts at Any Lab Test Now to learn more about the test and how to improve your sleep cycle for optimal health and wellness.

What Is The Difference Between Hyperthyroidism and Hypothyroidism?

Did you know that January is Thyroid Awareness Month? According to the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists, 50 percent of those with a thyroid disease are unaware that they have it. That represents a large population of people at risk.

What are the possible complications with my thyroid?

The two most common thyroid diseases are hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism. Let’s take a closer look at these two diseases so you can get the information you need.

Hypothyroidism, the most common form of thyroid disease, is when the levels of thyroid hormone in your body drop. That means your body is “slowing down” in production. The signs and symptoms associated with this disease are:

  • Fatigue
  • Drowsiness
  • Forgetfulness
  • Difficulty with learning
  • Dry, brittle hair, nails and skin
  • Weight gain and fluid retention
  • Increased sensitivity to many medications

Hyperthyroidism is when you have increased levels of thyroid hormone in your body. That means your thyroid gland is producing too much hormone. This form of the disease occurs in approximately one percent of Americans and tends to affect women five to 10 times more often than men. Hyperthyroidism leads to a goiter, which is an enlargement of the thyroid. The signs and symptoms associated with this form are:

  • Increased heart rate
  • Becoming anxious, irritable, argumentative
  • Weight loss, despite eating the same amount or even more than usual
  • Intolerance of warm temperatures and increased likelihood to perspire
  • Loss of hair
  • Muscle weakness, especially of the upper arms and thighs
  • Accelerated loss of calcium from bones, which increases the risk of osteoporosis and fractures

Thyroid disease, if left untreated, can lead to many complications, such as heart disease, infertility and osteoporosis. It has also been linked with autoimmune disorders such as diabetes and anemia. That’s why you need to know if you’re in the 50 percent of those affected but aren’t yet aware that they have a disease.
At Any Lab Test Now, we offer a Thyroid Panel which tests for TSH levels, T4 Total and T3 Uptake. We also offer a variety of Saliva Hormone Tests, as well as a Comprehensive Thyroid Panel..  High or low results of any of these hormone levels will help you and your doctor determine if any further action is needed.

Women, It’s Time To Focus On You!

Health & Fitness Day is coming up on Wednesday, September 24. Get involved and find out what organizations in your local community are participating in the nation’s largest women’s health promotional event! Events are noncompetitive and include walking activities, demonstrations and health information workshops.

Be proactive and Take Control of Your Health by learning about the individual tests and screenings we offer tailored to women’s health needs. One way to proactively manage your health is by learning personal health baselines through general testing such as a basic check up panel.

It’s important for women in particular to make an effort to take time to focus on their own health, while working so hard to ensure the health of their families.

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.

Is It Hot in Here? Celebrating Menopause Awareness Month

 

Do you find yourself often asking “is it hot in here or is it me?” If you are a woman over 40 you could be experiencing “hot flashes” that combined with other symptoms could mean you have reached the “time of change” also known as Perimenopause. During perimenopause, or menopausal transition, estrogen and progesterone levels become unstable causing these “hot flashes” to invade your body and make you feel like you need a fireman to hose you down. “Hot flashes” combined with other symptoms could also mean that you are experiencing full on menopause.

Like everything related to a woman’s reproductive system, menopause symptoms vary per individual. Some experience little to no symptoms, while others have changes in several areas of their lives. So what are these symptoms? Menopause symptoms include:

  • changes in your menstrual cycle
  • hot flashes
  • night sweats
  • occasional sleeplessness
  • vaginal dryness
  • moodiness
  • sudden weight gain
  • loss of bone density

As estrogen levels become unstable your periods can come more often or less, last more days or fewer, and be lighter or heavier. Once your estrogen levels completely drop your periods cease and consequently ending your fertility.  After twelve months without a period, a woman has officially completed the transition of perimenopause and entered menopause.

Do these symptoms sound like you? Could the “time of change” be knocking at your door? Are you wondering if those night sweats and irregular periods are due to the onset of menopause, or if it’s something else?  Living with uncertainty is one of the most aggravating feelings in the world. Lucky for you, you don’t have to live with uncertainty as ANY LAB TEST NOW® offers affordable hormone lab testing that determines a variety of related factors such as how soon you may begin menopause, detect if you are going through menopause, and determine if you are healthy enough to begin hormone replacement therapy.

September is Menopause Awareness Month, why not take the opportunity to Take Control of Your Health® and check in on your hormones? For more information about ANY LAB TEST NOW®’s hormone lab testing options contact a location near you or visit www.anylabtestnow.com

Encouraging the GLBT Community to Take Control of Their Health®!

We all know everyone is amazing in his or her own way; we’re all one of a kind. But what happens when we get caught up in the day-to-day and forget to pay attention to our health? Surprises happen and not always the good kind especially when there are increased risk factors for various health concerns.

Health risks affect everyone. For example, it has been statistically proven that African-Americans are at higher risk of Heart Disease and Latinos are a higher risk of developing Diabetes. In the GLBT Community, the risks and concerns aren’t as easily determined. Each individual has their own experiences and factors that determine their particular health risks. These factors may include race, age, geographical location, socioeconomic status, and lifestyle amongst others.

Understanding what health concerns you are at risk for can help you take the right steps towards leading a healthier lifestyle to reduce those risks. So how do you start? Lab testing can help you identify your current health condition.  At that point the key is really in PREVENTION. You can develop a plan to get healthy and ensure that you are staying that way. This includes getting tested for STD’s. According to the CDC, the GLBT community accounted for nearly half of the 1.1 million people currently living with HIV in the country and 61% of those reporting new infections each year as well as 63% of the syphilis and gonorrhea cases in the country.

When you combine factors such as the statistics and society’s pressure, it can be scary. There are concerns based on your particular risk factors, the concerns of not becoming part of a statistic and last but not least, the fear of being judged.  You need to find out more about your health in an environment that supports you and cares about your well-being.

ANY LAB TEST NOW® helps you Take Control of Your Health® with discreet, confidential and anonymous STD screens as well as a variety of Wellness testing that will get you on your way to a healthier, worry-free lifestyle. What better time to start Taking Control of Your Health® than during STD Awareness Month? Come in this month and get tested! Remember that Symptom Free Doesn’t Mean Disease Free. For more information on our confidential, anonymous STD screens and available Wellness testing visit your local ANY LAB TEST NOW®.

Celebrating National Nutrition Month

Are you known in your social circle as the ‘foodie’ of the group? Who doesn’t enjoy celebrating food, right? Well all throughout the month of March you get a chance to celebrate your passion for food during National Nutrition Month and share your ‘foodie’ experience with your friends. However before you can share your love of food with your family and friends it is important that you know how to make nutritious food choices and that you incorporate them with good physical activity habits.

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has given this year’s celebration the theme of “Eat Right, Your Way, Every Day”, encouraging individuals to personalize their eating habits towards a healthier path and help them to identify the factors that ultimately influence their food choices. Our food choices are influenced by the events in our everyday life, busy lifestyles, cultural traditions and most importantly our health concerns. Health concerns, depending on the condition, should be a main factor in how we personalize our eating plans.

So perhaps your food choices aren’t always the most nutritious. That can be okay, as long as you balance your overall daily intake and combine it with an active lifestyle. Nutrition boils down to learning about how our bodies work and how to create an eating plan that is tailored to our lifestyle, health needs and of course our tastes. In addition knowing how our bodies will react to the meals we enjoy is key to creating a balanced healthy eating plan. Let’s say that during one of your ‘foodie’ adventures you came across a meal that your body just did not agree with. That disagreement could have been caused by a number of things. It could be that your body is intolerant or sensitive, or perhaps you are allergic to one or more of the ingredients in that meal.  Even if you are eating healthy, it is still possible that your body is deficient in specific vitamins and minerals.

There is no better time to Take Control of Your Health®. ANY LAB TEST NOW® offers a variety of tests that can help you learn more about your body’s current state and help you reach nutritional wellness. In order to do that, it is important to learn about the different food ingredients your body might be sensitive, intolerant or allergic to. Understanding how your body reacts to food through lab testing can help you truly create a tailored healthy meal plan that works just for you. It is also good to know what vitamins and minerals you might be missing.  Use National Nutrition Month to celebrate food in a healthy way and share with your friends and family all you have learned. Why not prepare a feast with the healthy foods you love for them and plan a fun, physical activity for everyone after the meal?

Remember you are what you eat, and ANY LAB TEST NOW® is here to help you Take Control of Your Health®.  To learn more about our nutrition-based lab tests including nutrient testing, food sensitivity, intolerance or allergies visit www.anylabtestnow.com.

Holiday Stress? 3 Tips to Keep You Sane During the Holidays

The holiday season is now in full gear and special family time is always appreciated. The presents you’ve carefully wrapped are ready to be torn open.  Then, you receive that phone call from distant relatives announcing… “Surprise, surprise we’re visiting for the holidays!” Anxiety kicks in, and panic-riddent thoughts immediately start running through our minds. We have all been there with surprise guests – you’re trying to tie the Super Cape back on for last minute holiday shopping combined with overcrowded stores that can make anyone’s head explode. As hard as it is to stay calm during these surprises, leave Stress Avenue and take a detour to The True Meaning of the Season Drive.

Holiday Stressor: Last Minute Shopping

De-stressor: Do you have a long last minute gift list that you can’t seem to trim down? Do you dread going to the crowded mall? Make gift-giving simpler by remembering that the season is about being with your loved ones and not material things. Perhaps purchasing gifts that are more focused on people, such as tickets to that game or concert they have been dying to go to but have not been able to get tickets themselves, gift certificates to their favorite restaurant or a certificate for a day at the spa. When all else fails make it even simpler for you – online shopping! If ordered before the store’s cut-off date, the gifts will make it on time.  Even better, they will wrap them for you!

Holiday Stressor: Entertaining

De-stressor: So the whole family has designated your house as the gathering place, and you will be the host for all holiday events. Great! Now you are worried about doing all the cooking and making sure the house is squeaky-clean and ‘flawless’ for each event.  You may become preoccupied with whether you have enough room for guests to mingle or sit, and playing hostess. Relax and give yourself a break!  Try a different approach to entertaining. Have everyone bring a holiday favorite while you supply the beverages, hot cocoa and holiday desserts. Entertain one another; take turns sharing family stories about way back when; and later on sing along concert of holiday songs.  Make it all about family time and not so much about the ‘perfect’ party.

Holiday Stressor: Following Traditions

De-stressor: We understand that every family has its own traditions. These often mean doing specific things in a certain way all in the name of tradition. Perhaps you want to please elders and carry on with the traditions they know, or maybe you want to follow the same traditions you did when you were younger in order for your children to learn them and carry them on as well. As adorable as it sounds to have these traditions happen, making sure they occur in the ‘perfect’ way often creates more stress. You can choose to make it a team effort and ask your loved ones which part of the traditions they really like. Keep the winners down to a few and go all out on just those. This way the traditions will not only be more relaxed, but they will also be easier to keep for future holidays. If you are a spontaneous person, another option is to make ‘winging it’, a tradition in itself. Why not do whatever feels festive in the moment? It will keep it mysterious and fun for holidays to come.

This holiday season don’t let holiday stress put a damper on your health. Remember that the season is about spending time with the ones you love and enjoying each other. Take Control of Your Health® and stay stress free this holiday season with ANY LAB TEST NOW®.

Cortisol and Stress: How the Body Reacts

Cortisol has been termed as the “stress hormone” and it is usually increased under stressful responses when the body is experiencing a “fight or flight” response. Cortisol is a hormone that is released by the adrenal gland. The following functions are involved with normal levels of cortisol release; proper glucose metabolism, blood pressure regulation, immune function, and inflammatory response.

Normally, cortisol is higher in the morning and at its lowest at night. In our new modern day culture of sitting in the car during rush hour, lack of exercise and economic distress, the cortisol levels in our bodies are elevated for an extended period of time without having the chance to return to normal. This is known as chronic stress, which can contribute to blood sugar imbalance (hyperglycemia), decreased bone density, high blood pressure, metabolism imbalance and decreased immune system.

Having an increased cortisol level can be either physiologic or pathologic. Having a cortisol test done can measure your stress hormone levels throughout the day to see if you are having an abnormal spike of your cortisol at a certain time of the day, or a continuous increase of cortisol levels. Stress can be a contributor to a multitude of disease states. Cortisol level testing would be a great add on to any of our tests or panels offered through Any Lab Test Now.

Get Me Off This Hormone Rollercoaster!

As I’ve gotten closer to that (cough, cough) “middle age,” I’ve noticed that there are days and weeks when I am all out of whack.  I wake up more irritable than I normally do, find myself crying at the smallest thing, then can be blissfully happy, acting like a school girl again.  There are nights when I wake up with my pajamas soaking wet and my body shivering cold, then I force my husband to wear his thermals in the middle of summer.  The air conditioner must be on 65 degrees!  Hubby tip-toes around me lightly, not knowing what kind of mood I might be in.

So, at my next regular check-up, I decide to face my reality – I might be entering menopause.  I discuss this with my doctor, Ms. Happy-and-Bright-Cheerleader-Who-Is-Not-Even-CloseTo-“That-Time”, and tell her I want her to check my hormones to see if what I suspect is correct.   A week later, I get the call I am expecting, with an unexpected answer, “You are just fine, and everything’s normal.”

No!  Everything is not normal!  At this point, I am beginning to feel like a hypochondriac, but there is no way wringing out my bed clothes is normal.    I tolerate the never-ending rollercoaster a few more months and decide to try again.  Surely the reality is showing up in my blood now.  But nope – still “normal.”

Then, I find out about saliva hormone testing.  The beauty of this test is:

  • I no longer have to bug my doctor, who already thinks I’m crazy
  • I can do it myself in the privacy of my own home
  • It measures my hormone levels throughout the day, even when I am craziest, instead of at the time of the blood draw
  • I am ready to take it when I feel it is most appropriate, because it is a kit I collect at home

Watch out world – I’m in control of my health now.  How about you?

Saliva hormone tests are now available at certain ANY LAB TEST NOW locations.  $10.00 off this month in celebration of Women’s Health Month.  Woo-hoo!