The Dangers of High Blood Pressure

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

Kidney damage

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

Fluid in the lungs

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

Erectile dysfunction

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

Memory loss

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

Vision loss

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

So here are five really good reasons to get your blood pressure checked frequently! The lack of direct symptoms of high blood pressure can make it hard to detect, until it starts damaging other organ systems. So if you’ve noticed any of these changes in your body, it’s a good idea to get your blood pressure tested! Your local Any Lab Test Now offers a Cardiac Risk Panel, which can assess your risk of cardiovascular conditions like inflammation or vascular damage.

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How do I find out if my liver is healthy?

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

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

What are the complications of liver damage?

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

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

How do I find out if my liver is healthy?

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

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Minority Health Awareness Month

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

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

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

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

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

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It’s Time to Stop Stressing!

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If you are human, you probably have stress in your life. Whether it comes from your job, your relationships or other daily responsibilities and experiences, stress is often an all-too-normal part of living life. But if your stress is constant, always pressing on your mind and dragging you down, it could be harmful to your health.

 

Stress affects more than just the mind.

When stress builds up in your life, you may think it’s only affecting your mental state — after all, you feel on edge, frustrated, tense and exhausted when you are stressed. These things are all just in your head right? Wrong! Stress can take a physical toll on the body, as well, especially when you’re not finding any relief. Not only does stress cause several short-term physical consequences — high blood pressure, tense muscles and an elevated heart rate — but prolonged stress can cause many different and serious health consequences, as well, including:

  • weight gain
  • chronic fatigue
  • back pain
  • heart problems
  • digestive issues
  • acne
  • a weakened immune system
  • headaches
  • stroke

If you have a lot of stress in your life, odds are, you may have symptoms you don’t even know are directly linked to your stress levels. But the good news is, once you start relieving your stress, you’ll start to notice some of those daily pains and fatigues disappear!

So what can you do about it?

While the things that cause stress in your life will probably always be there — bills, responsibilities, even traffic — there are ways you can reduce your feelings of daily stress and lessen the long-term impact on your body and health. Stress reducers can be different for everyone. The key is to find something that relaxes you and that you enjoy doing. Here are some common ways people can reduce their stress:

  • Engaging in daily exercise
  • Taking a relaxing shower or bath
  • Reading a book
  • Cooking a nice meal
  • Setting aside time for daily meditation or yoga

Additionally, simply taking care of your body — getting adequate sleep, eating a balanced diet and limiting your caffeine and alcohol intake — can have a huge positive impact on reducing your overall feelings of stress.

So it’s time to stop stressing! If stress is taking over your life, it’s time to find a healthy way to alleviate it. For additional ways to take control of your health, talk to the experts at Any Lab Test Now about various lab tests you can take, like a Saliva Hormone Test. Equip yourself with the knowledge you need to live a healthier, happier life.

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