Effects of Alcohol

We toast our successes. We drown our sorrows. It’s 5 o’clock somewhere! Our world is filled with reasons to pour a drink, yet even a single drink can affect your body. And too much can have a long-lasting impact that isn’t always reversible. Fortunately, it is possible to find out if alcohol is harming your body before it’s too late by taking a simple test from Any Lab Test Now.

What alcohol does

Even one drink starts to affect your body. It changes your brain – making it harder to think clearly and making coordination challenging. Long-term, heavy drinking can cause damage to learning and memory. Abstaining over several months may allow your brain to repair itself at least partially.

Your heart can also be damaged, even in just one evening of binge drinking. Long-term drinking weakens the heart muscle, so it can’t pump enough blood to the organs. The short-term result is shortness of breath, fatigue and swollen legs and feet. The long-term result can be heart failure. Binge drinking can cause the heart to beat too rapidly or irregularly – running a risk of stroke. And women are more likely to have their blood pressure go up as a result of drinking too much than men. The Alcohol Effect Panel from Any Lab Test Now tests for damage to your heart.

In addition, heavy drinking takes a serious toll on the liver, and eventually can lead to cirrhosis of the liver. Quitting won’t reverse the damage, but it will stop it in its tracks. You can get a basic screening of your liver function with the Alcohol Effect Panel from Any Lab Test Now.

The same test will point to potential problems in the pancreas, which is also severely impacted by heavy drinking. The pancreas reacts to alcohol by producing toxic substances and that eventually leads to pancreatitis – a dangerous swelling of the blood vessels in the pancreas. The effects can be managed by not drinking.

And there’s more — alcohol can increase your risk of a list of cancers: mouth, esophagus, throat, liver and breast cancers. It also weakens your immune system. For as long as 24 hours after getting drunk, you may have trouble fighting off infections as serious as pneumonia.

How do you know how much is too much?

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer, but there are guidelines. For men, you shouldn’t have more than four drinks a day or 14 drinks a week. For women, you shouldn’t have more than three drinks a day and no more than seven drinks in a week. Those amounts are considered to be low risk. But low risk is not no risk. If you drink too quickly, have health problems or are over 65, alcohol can cause problems. For some people, any amount at all is too much.

If you are worried that you – or someone you love – does drink too much, there is a way to find out. The FAEE Hair Alcohol Abuse Test available at Any Lab Test Now can determine if someone is alcohol dependent. It uses a small sample of hair and measures the amount of a metabolite of alcohol in that hair. You can use the results of the test to talk with your doctor about what steps to take next to get help.

Having the answers about alcohol – and it’s effect on your body – can be an important step in getting and staying healthy. The medical assistants at your local Any Lab Test Now are there to help you find the right test to get you on the track to taking the best care of yourself.

Cholesterol Testing: What’s Your Number?

 

Cholesterol plaque in artery

If you suffer from high cholesterol, or have a family history of high cholesterol, you know first-hand that numbers are important. Monitoring your cholesterol numbers can mean the difference between life and death — as high cholesterol increases your risk for heart disease, stroke and other dangerous health conditions. As you may already know, a total cholesterol level of 200 mg/dL or below is considered ideal, while a number above 200 mg/dL may be cause for concern.

 

Types of Cholesterol

To get the full picture of your cholesterol health, there are several numbers you need to know. Total cholesterol measures the total amount of cholesterol in your blood, including LDL and HDL. In general, the lower your total cholesterol number is, the better.

LDL, which stands for low-density lipoprotein, is “bad” cholesterol. Too much LDL can cause buildup and blockages in the arteries, which can slow or even stop blood flow throughout the body. An LDL level of less than 100 mg/dL is best for optimal health.

HDL, which stands for high-density lipoprotein, is “good” cholesterol. This type of cholesterol actually helps remove cholesterol from your arteries, preventing buildup and blockages. In general, the higher your HDL level, the better, and any number over 60 mg/dL is considered healthy.

Know Your Number

Getting tested regularly is an important part of maintaining your cholesterol levels, especially if you struggle with high cholesterol or suffer from conditions relating to high cholesterol, such as diabetes or heart disease. Cigarette smoking, a poor diet, obesity, diabetes, a lack of exercise and a family history are all factors that can raise your risk of having high cholesterol and the dangerous health conditions that can develop as a result. If you are unsure of your cholesterol levels, think you may be at risk of high cholesterol, or if you are already taking medication to treat high cholesterol, it is important to get tested. Knowing your cholesterol numbers could save your life because it helps identify worrisome changes and prompts you to make lifestyle adjustments to protect your health.

Cholesterol Testing

There are several options for getting your cholesterol tested at Any Lab Test Now.

The Cholesterol Medication Maintenance Panel is ideal for patients who are already taking medication for high cholesterol, or for those needing their cholesterol and liver function tested on a regular basis. It is also perfect for those interested in knowing their cholesterol level, providing patients and their doctors with the information they need to make certain health decisions.

The Lipid Panel is an excellent option for those concerned about their cholesterol levels as well as their heart health. And for those interested in a more comprehensive look at their health, the Basic Check-Up Panel, Comprehensive Male Panel and Comprehensive Female Panel are all options that include cholesterol testing.

Talk with your physician and the experts at Any Lab Test Now to learn which cholesterol testing options are right for you.

Have you checked your numbers lately? Knowing your numbers is important, especially when it comes to your health. Take control of your health by scheduling an appointment to get your cholesterol tested today, and start feeling healthier tomorrow.

The State of Your Prostate

What every man should know about a little gland that can cause big trouble

When it comes to prostate screening, it’s important for men to make an informed decision that will help keep them healthy and happy. The American Cancer Society says that prostate cancer is the second most common type of cancer in American men, with skin cancer taking the top spot. Any Lab Test Now makes it easy and convenient for men to find out where they stand with the Prostate Specific Antigen Test, otherwise known as the PSA Test.

What is the PSA Test?

PSA is a protein that’s produced by cells of the prostate gland. Though it’s a small gland, the prostate provides several key functions in men’s health, mainly involving reproduction and hormone metabolism.

The PSA Test offered by Any Lab Test Now measures the level of PSA in a man’s blood. Elevated levels could indicate potential prostate cancer, but it’s important to point out that there are several other conditions that could also cause an elevated result, such as:

  • Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia –enlargement of the prostate.
  • Prostatitis – inflammation of the prostate.

In any case, in elevated PSA result should be followed with a visit to your physician.

Who’s at risk

According to the American Cancer Society, researchers have found several risk factors that you should take into consideration when deciding whether to undergo PSA testing. Age is a big one! Prostate cancer is rarely found in men under the age of 40, but cases rise rapidly after the age of 50. Family history is another indicator. Researchers have found an inherited or genetic factor associated with the disease. Having a brother or father with prostate cancer more than doubles a man’s risk for developing this disease. It also appears that prostate cancer occurs more often in African-American men than in men of other races.

Taking the next step

If you have a husband, a father, or a brother, educating the men in your life about prostate screening is an important first step. Talk with them about the importance of establishing a baseline result in their early years and continuing to be tested as they age to identify any changes. Then, walk in to your local Any Lab Test Now. We’ll perform a quick blood test and give you the answers you need to continue taking care of your prostate health.

Tired of Feeling Tired?

The fast pace of life can leave you dragging your feet. It’s normal to feel worn out at the end of a busy day. When you’re shuttling between the responsibilities of work, home, busy kids or aging parents, it should come as no surprise that you’re left feeling exhausted. But what if every day leaves you feeling this way?

When does sick and tired become just sick? While there are a number of medical issues that can leave you feeling fatigued, one common cause is an iron deficiency.

Iron = Energy

Iron is a mineral found in every cell of the body. It’s considered essential because your body needs it to make the proteins hemoglobin and myoglobin which carry oxygen through your body. Hemoglobin is a part of your red blood cells while myoglobin is found in your muscles. With that basic information, it’s easy to see why a lack of iron means a lack of energy.

You can get iron from food sources including:

  • Dried beans
  • Dried fruits
  • Eggs
  • Lean red meat

But not everyone is able to get enough iron naturally.

Low levels of iron over an extended period of time can cause problems. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) warns that a lack of iron may cause iron deficiency anemia. Along with shortness of breath and dizziness, extreme fatigue and weakness are the big red-flag warnings of an iron deficiency.

Boost Your Energy

Fortunately, it’s easy to be proactive and take control of your health. In fact, Any Lab Test Now offers testing that can pinpoint if an iron deficiency is draining your energy. The Iron and Total Iron Binding Capacity (TIBC) is a non-fasting test that measures the amount of iron in your blood.

If you want to dig a little deeper, you can opt for the Fatigue Panel. The Fatigue Panel is a series of tests designed to help you get to the root of your exhaustion. It includes the Iron and Total Iron Binding Capacity Test, along with the following:

  • Complete Blood Count (CBC)
  • Chemistry Panel
  • Urinalysis
  • Lyme Disease
  • Mononucleosis
  • Epstein Barr

While iron deficiency is a common cause of fatigue, many health factors can affect your energy level. This comprehensive panel checks a broad range of factors to provide you with as much information as possible.

If it does turn out that an iron deficiency is the cause of your fatigue, work with your doctor to come up with a treatment plan. More than likely, this will include dietary changes to increase the amount of iron you are consuming, as well as the amount of vitamin C you are eating since this nutrient helps with iron absorption. If that isn’t effective, or if you are severely iron deficient already, there are other alternatives that you can discuss.

Of course, starting with knowledge about your current situation is step one, so walk in to your local Any Lab Test Now to identify the cause of your fatigue and put yourself on a path to increased energy.

Why It’s Important to Schedule Regular Breast Cancer Screenings

How many women are in your life? Odds are, there are more than eight. Mothers, sisters, daughters, wives, friends, co-workers — these are all women who impact your life on a daily basis. And out of these women you’re thinking of right now, at least one in eight, or 12 percent, will develop breast cancer during her lifetime. In fact, you might even be one of them. Aside from lung cancer, breast cancer is the No. 1 killing cancer of women in the U.S., and that’s why it’s so important to take charge of your health by scheduling regular breast cancer screenings.

Why Get Screened for Breast Cancer?

Getting screened for breast cancer could save your life. If found early, while the cancer is still only located in the breast, the five-year survival rate for breast cancer patients is 99 percent. Yet only 61 percent of breast cancer cases are diagnosed at this stage. The breast cancer survival rate decreases significantly when the cancer has spread to other areas of the body, and unfortunately, many cases are discovered too late.

Schedule a Screening Today

Scheduling annual screenings for breast cancer, recommended for women over 40, is the best way to ensure any cancer of the breast tissue is found early and treated quickly. It is especially important to schedule regular screenings if you are over 40 and have a family history of breast cancer, as this puts you at greater risk of getting it yourself. One of the best ways to screen for breast cancer is through an annual mammogram.

Breast Cancer Signs

Also, if you notice certain signs and symptoms of breast cancer, you may want to undergo a more thorough screening process. Consult your physician about any signs or symptoms you notice, and if a comprehensive breast cancer screening is right for you. Signs of breast cancer include:

  • Nipple discharge, especially if it is clear or bloody
  • A change in how the breast feels, especially with the presence of a lump or lumps
  • A change in the appearance of the breast, especially if the change is sudden or unexplained

If you notice any of the above signs, it’s important to find out what is going on as soon as possible. Any Lab Test Now offers for the possible presence and monitoring of breast cancer. The Breast Cancer Monitoring Panel is a comprehensive option for women worried about breast cancer. The panel also monitors for several types of other cancers.

With ongoing research and the latest treatment options, breast cancer survival rates are increasing every year. However, regular screenings offer one of the best chances of survival by finding cancer early and beginning treatment before it spreads. Talk to your physician and the experts at Any Lab Test Now to learn what screening options are right for you.

Keeping Mom Healthy

Mother’s Day is around the corner, on May 14th. We usually give Mom a card or maybe take her to brunch. This year, you can do a little more to show your mom that you love her and want to spend many more Mother’s Days with her by talking to her about her health.

Navigating a Checkup

In fact, it’s a good idea to do an annual check-in with Mom before her annual checkup. Write down any of your mom’s questions so she can take them with her. Visit Any Lab Test Now to help provide answers she wants, quickly and easily. These will help her identify what she needs to talk about with the doctor.

Talk About Healthy Basics

Some basics to good health remain the same no matter what our age! Talk with your Mom about:

  • eating a healthy diet with lots of fruits and vegetables,
  • maintaining a healthy weight,
  • exercising 30 minutes a day,
  • getting 7-8 hours of sleep a night,
  • not smoking,
  • wearing a seatbelt and
  • not texting while driving.

These are all good reminders when it comes to living a fulfilling and healthy lifestyle. To add even more encouragement, perhaps you could tackle one or two of these together or create a challenge with the whole family.

Changing Vitamin Needs

There are some things that do change as Mom ages. Not all of them are things we’d think about. Did you realize the vitamins you take should change as you age? A mom in her 30s still needs to be sure to take folic acid every day, whereas a mom who is older and has gone through menopause doesn’t.

Once a woman has reached 65, she should be sure to add vitamin D into her daily regimen. Along with exercise, adequate levels of vitamin D can help prevent falls. If you aren’t sure that your mom is getting enough, you can suggest she have the simple Vitamin D Test done at Any Lab Test Now! Getting enough Vitamin D can be tough — especially if you follow a strict vegan diet. Other than fortified milk, not many foods have it.

Why is Mom Tired?

Being worn out and tired is just par for the course of motherhood, right? Not necessarily. Instead of letting Mom think that she has to spend 18 (or more) years exhausted, make sure there isn’t an underlying nutrient problem, such as iron deficiency anemia. In fact, the most common symptoms of this are fatigue and weakness. A woman who has anemia is tired because her blood isn’t getting enough oxygen to her body.

Any Lab Test Now has an Anemia Panel that can determine if Mom has an iron deficiency. Then, she and her doctor can come up with a plan to have her feeling more like herself again. The solution is usually a combination of iron supplements and adding iron-rich foods into her diet. No, she isn’t going to put liver on your dinner plate. Lentils, tofu, green leafy veggies and dried fruits are all great ways to get more iron in your diet.

Your mom spends a lot of time taking care of you. This Mother’s Day, take a little time to take care of her. Help her take charge of her health care needs and get the answers she seeks so that she can continue spending happy, healthy days with you and the family.

It’s Time To Take Care of Yourself

On an airplane, they tell you to be sure to put on your own oxygen mask before helping others, because you can’t take care of someone else if you are in need of help. But all too often, women focus on taking care of everyone else in the family before caring for themselves, and this is to their own detriment. They look after their children, their spouse, their aging parents. Who doesn’t get taken care of? The woman herself. While your family is picking up cards and gifts to show their love during the week leading up to Mother’s Day, you should use that time to take care of yourself.

May 8-14 is Women’s Health Week. It’s the perfect time to slow down and check in with yourself. Have you noticed any changes with your body in the last year? Pain? Dizziness? Fatigue? Changed menstrual cycle? Don’t let these changes nag at you. They could be signs of conditions for which medical care can help, such as heart disease, menopause or osteoporosis.

Heart Disease

Heart disease is the number one killer of women in the United States. A whopping 80 percent of women between the ages of 40 and 60 have at least one risk factor for heart disease.

Menopause

It’s a fact of life for women: menopause. Knowing when you are starting to go through it allows you to have the conversation with your doctor about steps you can take to ease the symptoms. If you are having hot flashes, rapid mood swings and a drop in your sex drive, you may want to take the Menopause Screening Panel. This blood test can help you find out if the symptoms are, in fact, the start of menopause. Knowing helps you decide what to do next.

Osteoporosis

Especially after menopause, an issue women face is bone loss, meaning that bones become more brittle and susceptible to breaking. Vitamin D is an important nutrient that can help keep your bones strong, but it can be tricky to get enough just through your diet. Any Lab Test Now has a test available that allows you to find out if you need to boost your vitamin D intake. Or, you may choose to take a more comprehensive Osteoporosis Risk Panel. It includes ten different tests to evaluate your risk for the disease.

Instead of wondering about your body’s changes, get answers. Walk in to Any Lab Test Now to arm yourself with knowledge to make your next doctor appointment more productive. Taking good care of yourself, and having the information you need to help your doctor keep you healthy, is the best gift you can give yourself and your loved ones.

Solutions for Those with High Deductibles or No Insurance

If you don’t have insurance or have a high deductible and have difficulty affording healthcare, there are still options for you to get tests done and make your health a priority. Any Lab Test Now offers a multitude of tests at low prices and convenient times, and you don’t even need insurance to use their services.

No Insurance Necessary

If you are currently uninsured, it can be difficult and pricey to get medical attention. Any Lab Test Now will provide you with the tests you need, no insurance required. Now, you don’t have to worry about skipping a blood test or ignoring possible allergies. All tests are available to you, regardless of your insurance status.

In addition, if you will be paying for your test out-of-pocket, you can use your health savings account (HSA) or flexible spending account (FSA) for payment.

Low Prices

A lot of people skip their medical exams because they are overpriced. Any Lab Test Now offers tests at the lowest prices possible, ensuring that anyone can get tested and focus on their health. Patients are not charged excessive fees or high deductibles for their tests; instead, they are offered the same quality tests as other testing centers for an affordable price that can fit most budgets.

Easily Accessible

When cost is an issue, it’s easy to make excuses for skipping medical tests. It’s easy to blame the distance to the office or the time spent in a waiting room for not getting tested. After all, time spent on medical test can mean time spent away from work.

Fortunately, Any Lab Test Now understands this. Our locations are spread across the country and located in places where people work and live. You can easily find your local Any Lab Test Now and get started with your tests. You can also get your tests done in a convenient amount of time, so you don’t have to worry about sitting in a waiting room and wasting a whole day. Patients can, generally, have tests completed in 15 minutes or less and there is no appointment required. The locations are typically open at convenient times that will fit your schedule, including Saturdays, so you don’t even need to take time off during the work week.
Any Lab Test Now offers a service that allows you to prioritize your health. You can get any of the tests offered without insurance and at a low price. Now, there are no excuses to not get tested. Anyone can take charge of their health and get tests completed, even if they are uninsured or on a tight budget.

SPRING IS IN BLOOM; SO ARE SEASONAL ALLERGIES

If you’re a seasonal allergy sufferer, you don’t need a calendar to tell you when winter is over; your nose probably will. Spring came a little early this year and it took many seasonal allergy sufferers by surprise. If you can’t stop and smell the roses because you’re too busy sneezing and sniffling, then it’s probably because you suffer from seasonal allergies. Luckily Any Lab Test Now is here to help arm you with information to ease your suffering.

Why Spring Means Suffering

According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (ACAAI), allergies are a major cause of illness in the United States, with as many as 50 million people having allergies of some type. Allergy symptoms occur when your immune system overreacts to a trigger found in your environment. Usual symptoms include:

  • Sneezing
  • Coughing
  • Itchy eyes and/or nose
  • Runny nose

The usual culprits? Grass, pollen and mold are common triggers! All the things that make spring so special. Of course, no season has the market covered when it comes to allergies. Some people can sail through the bloom and get caught in the fall with woodsmoke, or in the winter with holiday decorations pulled down from a dusty attic.

How to Manage Your Seasonal Allergies

According to the ACAAI, the most important step to managing your seasonal allergies is to know your triggers. The most common tests for these types of allergies are IgE tests. These tests detect immunoglobulin “E” traces in your blood, and can pinpoint the allergen. That’s where Any Lab Test Now can help. Some of the most popular IgE allergy tests now offered by Any Lab Test Now include:

One of our medical assistants can help you decide which test is best for you; or you can try our easy to use Road Map of Symptoms to help guide you to the most appropriate option.

What to Do After You Know Your Trigger

You’ll want to check with your doctor to decide on the best treatment for you, but there are many medications available both over the counter and by prescription that can help. Some patients find that immunotherapy helps. There’s even promising research on probiotics. And, reducing your exposure to your allergy triggers is always a good idea.
At Any Lab Test Now, we want you to fall back in love with spring and all that it has to offer. Understanding your seasonal allergy triggers is the first step to feeling more comfortable at this time of year, so walk in to your local Any Lab Test Now to talk with a medical assistant about the test that’s right for you.

Understanding Lyme Disease

Now that spring has arrived, so has tick season! They reemerge once the weather starts warming up and are more than a simple nuisance. They harbor Lyme disease. Lyme disease is a bacterial infection primarily transmitted by deer ticks (in the Northeast and Midwest) and black-legged ticks (on the Pacific Coast). Lyme disease can be difficult to diagnose, so it is important to know the signs, symptoms and risks of the infection in order to keep you and your loved ones safe this tick season.

Symptoms of Lyme Disease

One of the telltale signs of Lyme disease is a red, expanding skin rash. Typically, this rash will begin at the bite site and grow outward in a circle. Sometimes, the rash will fade as it grows, leaving irritation which resembles a bullseye. While common, a rash is not always present in a person with Lyme disease. Other symptoms include flu-like symptoms, facial muscle weakness, fainting, chest pain, severe headache and shooting joint pain.

 

When to Seek Care

Thoroughly checking your skin after spending time outdoors during tick season is vital because the longer that the tick is on your skin, the higher your chance of contracting Lyme disease.  However, if you develop any Lyme disease symptoms and have been bitten by or exposed to ticks, it is important to take a Lyme disease test as soon as possible. Remember, many people who develop Lyme disease do not realize that they have been bitten by a tick. If you have been outside in an area where ticks are prevalent and develop these symptoms, assume that you’ve been bitten and walk in to Any Lab Test Now to be tested.

Untreated Lyme Disease

Most cases of Lyme disease can be successfully treated with a dose of antibiotics. If Lyme disease remains untreated, however, it can spread to other parts of the body from several months to a year after the initial infection. This spreading can cause a variety of long-term health problems such as arthritis and nervous system problems. In severe untreated cases, Lyme disease can be fatal.
Don’t be ticked off by Lyme disease! Stay safe this year and be sure to check your skin for ticks after being outside. If you think you may have been bitten, visit your local Any Lab Test Now to be tested.