Could Peanuts Be Triggering Your Child’s Asthma?

You’ve seen it in the news: Peanut-free lunch tables and classrooms, even nut-free schools. Do you think that the schools are overreacting? What if the only thing your child will eat for lunch is a peanut butter sandwich? If your child suffers from severe peanut allergies, then you know that where they sit, and what they eat, for lunch is a life and death decision. If not, your perspective on allergies might be very skeptical. 

 

Recent research shows that peanut allergies have an even greater impact than previously thought, on an even larger number of children. A study conducted in the pediatric respiratory clinic at Children’s Mercy Hospital in Toledo, Ohio found that of the 1,517 children admitted to the facility with a confirmed diagnosis of asthma, 11% are also allergic to peanuts. In addition, out of those 1,517 children, when tested, 44% were found to be sensitive to peanuts and 22% tested positive for a peanut allergy. Surprisingly, only half of the families with positive test results knew before the testing that their child had a peanut allergy.

Perhaps you thought that allergies weren’t an issue for you or your child, and it was asthma wreaking havoc with your child’s health, causing discomfort, suffering, and trips to the respiratory center of a hospital. Many people are not aware that asthma and allergic reactions have similar symptoms: wheezing, shortness of breath and coughing.

Allergies are caused by a histamine response to a specific food or substance. An antibody, Immunoglobin E (IgE), is produced by the immune system in response to the allergen. The body’s response is intended to protect the body from the allergen, leading to the symptoms of respiratory distress and/or hives, and sometimes causing anaphylactic shock, or even death. The new study shows that an allergic response, even one that is undetected, can trigger an asthma attack. This may come as a shock if an allergy is undiagnosed and has not caused trouble in the past.

For children and families who struggle with asthma that has been severe and difficult to manage or for children who do well on asthma medication but who continue to have asthma attacks, an allergy test could be valuable. An awareness of an underlying allergy that may be linked to asthma can help to reduce the number and severity of asthma attacks. Avoiding the allergen can significantly improve the ability to manage asthma.

Because there are trace amounts of peanuts in many foods, either because they are processed on shared equipment or prepared in the same kitchen in restaurants, those who have an allergy that typically doesn’t cause a response can benefit from careful reading of food labels or asking questions about food ingredients when dining out. Children who have both a peanut allergy and asthma also have a greater risk of severe asthma attacks.

Significant advances have been made in allergy testing. A panel can now be done with a simple blood draw which tests for numerous potential allergens, rather than multiple skin pricks that caused so much discomfort and anxiety for children in the past. Allergy testing panels range from the Basic Pediatric Allergy Panel that tests for reactions to 32 environmental substances and foods, including peanuts to an Expanded Food Panel (90 common foods), to a Comprehensive Combination Panel that tests for allergic reactions to 45 environmental allergens and 90 foods.

The number of children who suffer from peanut allergies has risen dramatically in the past 20 years and the impact continues to spread. Now we know that nut-free zones protect children from more than an allergic reaction. Increased awareness is more important than ever due to the link to asthma and the current methods of processing and packaging food. More and more, each individual family must take matters into their own hands, monitoring carefully the food we eat and becoming aware of our own reactions to specific foods.

 

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Hepatitis: Understanding the Risks and Prevention Steps

First established in 2001 by the Center of Disease Control and Prevention, Hepatitis Awareness Month continues to serve as a month-long campaign in May centered to raising awareness of Hepatitis. Defined as inflammation of the liver, Hepatitis can occur due to heavy alcohol use, intake of certain drugs or toxins, a bacterial infection and/or viral infection. There are three major forms of Hepatitis: Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, and Hepatitis C.  In the United States today, up to 5.3 million Americans have chronic Hepatitis B or Hepatitis C infection and about 75% of the infected population are unaware that they are infected.

What is Hepatitis A?

Hepatitis A is a liver disease caused by the Hepatitis A virus (HAV). In these cases, the liver swells and is unable to work properly. The HAV virus is most commonly spread in situations where a person has not washed their hands before preparing or eating food, has not washed their hands after using the restroom, or has eaten raw or undercooked shellfish that came from waters polluted by sewage.

Out of the three types of Hepatitis, Hepatitis A is the least serious and can be prevented through vaccination. Other ways to prevent spreading include washing of the hands before preparing and eating food, and after use of the restroom.

What is Hepatitis B?

Similar to Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B is a liver disease caused by the Hepatitis B virus which also causes the liver to swell and not work properly. Those at risk include anyone who has come in direct contact with HBV-infected bodily fluids (through blood, semen and/or vaginal secretions).

Hepatitis B is, in general, more serious than Hepatitis A and if left untreated, can lead to cirrhosis of the liver, liver cancer and liver failure. Again, vaccination is the best way to prevent this infection. Other ways to stop the spread of HBV include practicing safe sex, not sharing needles, razors, toothbrushes or other personal items, and talking with your doctor, dentist and other healthcare providers.

What is Hepatitis C?

Hepatitis C is caused by the Hepatitis C virus which infects the liver. This disease is spread primarily through contact with the blood of an infected person. Compared to Hepatitis A and B, Hepatitis C is the most life-threatening disease among the three forms and is the only form yet to have a vaccine available for prevention.

Those most at risk include people who have shared needles to inject drugs, had unsterile equipment used on them when receiving a tattoo, were born to a mother with HCV, or  have had unprotected sex with multiple partners.

If you think you may be at risk of Hepatitis, we at Any Lab Test Now® are here to help. Our Hepatitis Panel tests for the three common variations of Hepatitis discussed above: Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, and Hepatitis C.  Upon receiving your lab test results, you and your doctor will have the information you’ll need to have a clear understanding of your current health and how to move forward. Contact us today to schedule your appointment and let us help you begin to Take Control of Your Health®.

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What Are Your Plans for National Women’s Health Week?

Attention, ladies! Have you been doing all that you can to make sure your health is a top priority in your life? We know life can get busy and trying to find time to exercise and fit in doctor appointments may not exactly be on the top of your to-do list. However, half of the work in maintaining good health is being proactive with it. That’s why Any Lab Test Now® is taking a stand on women’s health and encouraging all women to make a step towards the betterment of their health during National Women’s Health Week: May 10-16, 2015.

Not sure where to start? Take a look at the following helpful tips that women of all ages can benefit from. Choose one or two that would make the most positive impacts in your current health and begin to see a glimpse of how good it can feel when you start placing your health at the top of your to-do list, instead of at the bottom!

Be a smart patient. Attend your regular check-ups and don’t be afraid to ask your doctor questions. No one should know your body better than yourself. It’s your responsibility to gain all the knowledge you can on what you can do to ensure that the future of your health is a bright one.

Listen to your heart. Heart disease is the number one killer of both men and women in the United States. Monitor your cholesterol levels and take part in daily exercise to help keep your heart in good shape!

Watch your blood sugar. Continuous high blood pressure is one of the most common early detectors of diabetes. Keep your blood sugar levels in check by incorporating a diet high in fiber, full of fruits, vegetables and healthy carbs.

Sleep, sleep, sleep. Doctors advise that adults should get at least 7-8 hours of sleep each night. Those who do not get enough hours of sleep each night can be at risk of weight gain and higher stress levels.

Take control. One of the greatest ways a woman can be empowered to take control is by knowing and understanding the current state of her own personal health. Tests like the Comprehensive Female Panel and Women’s Basic Check-up Panel are just two of many lab testing services that have been customized to equip women with the knowledge they need in order to do just that.

Contact your local Any Lab Test Now® today to learn more about the wide range of lab testing services we offer to help empower women with knowledge of their health. Take advantage of National Women’s Health Week and use it as a starting point for your journey towards a healthier, happier you!

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Signs and Symptoms of Lyme Disease

Caused by the bacterium, Borrelia burgdorferi, Lyme disease is transmitted to humans through the bite of infected ticks. Like many diseases, the success of treatment with Lyme disease heavily depends on the timing of treatment. If treated early, Lyme disease can be cured with a few weeks of receiving antibiotics. However, if left unnoticed and untreated, Lyme disease can spread to the body’s joints, heart and nervous system leading to many other serious health problems.

If you have had a recent tick bite or live in an area known for Lyme disease, please be aware of the following signs and symptoms:

Early Signs and Symptoms

During the time frame of three to thirty days post-tick bite, a person may notice a red expanding rash known as erythema migrans (EM). A person may also experience fatigue, chills, headaches, muscle or joint pain, chills and/or swollen lymph nodes. As weeks progress and treatment remains unsought, a person may experience heart palpitations and dizziness due to changes in their heartbeat.

Late Signs and Symptoms

If the person infected is not treated for months or even years post-tick bite, they may experience arthritis symptoms including severe joint pain and swelling. Those left untreated for years are also at risk of developing chronic neurological conditions such as short-term memory loss and other cognitive difficulties.

If you have had a recent tick bite and think you may be at risk, contact your local Any Lab Test Now® today and schedule a Lyme Disease Test. We offer an antibody detection test which will measure the antibodies your body has produced, and we also offer our PCR tick panel that amplifies the bodies cellular DNA, which can also detect infection. With these quality results, you and your doctor will be able to determine if and what treatment is needed in order to maintain your optimal health.

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Which Allergens Are You Fighting off This Spring?

Spring is in the air. Literally. And if you are one of the 50 million Americans that suffer from allergies, you’ve probably already gone through a few tissue boxes, nasal sprays and home remedies these past few weeks. While you may have gotten good at learning how to tend to your allergy symptoms, do you know exactly what is causing your constant runny nose or itchy eyes this season?

What causes spring allergies?

Usually, when you think of allergies, you think of spring. They just seem to go together, right? Well, it’s because just like the flowers are beginning to bloom, so are all the allergies. The biggest spring allergy trigger is pollen; tiny grains released into the air by trees, grasses and weeds for the purpose of fertilizing other plants. When a person who is allergic to pollen breathes in the grains, their immune system sees the pollen as a foreign invader and releases antibodies to attack the allergen. This leads to the release of histamines in the blood which causes the runny, nose, itchy eyes, and congested head symptoms we are all too familiar with.

Some of the most common outdoor spring allergy offenders are:

Trees: including Alder, Ash, Aspen, Beech, Box Elder, Cedar, Cottonwood, Cypress, Elm, Hickory, Juniper, Maple, Mulberry, Oak, Olive, Palm, Pine, Poplar, Sycamore, and Willow.

Grasses and weeds: Bermuda, Fescue, Johnson, June, Orchard, Perennial Rye, Redtop, Saltgrass, Sweet Vernal and Timothy.

How do you find out which spring allergen is causing your symptoms?

Receiving a Regional Environmental Allergy Testing Panel can help you hone in and identify exactly which type of tree, grass or weed is causing you to be stuffy and congested during spring. This panel tests for allergies associated with 39 different grasses, weeds and trees. It also tests for possible indoor triggers including animal dander and house dust mites. Once you know which allergen is causing symptoms, you and your doctor can work together to design a treatment plan customized for your specific allergies. Enjoy the spring this year and contact your local Any Lab Test Now® to get started in Taking Control of Your Health®.

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Women, Are You Due for a Preventive Screening Test? Early Detection is Key.

As scientific technology continues to advance, doctors are becoming more and more equipped with the ability to successfully treat many deadly diseases if detected early on; which is why routine preventive screening tests are so imperative to the well-being of one’s health. For women in particular, tests such as mammograms, pap smears and colonoscopies have the potential to save millions of lives. Yet, due to varying guidelines found in the healthcare industry, many women are confused as to what age they should begin receiving these tests and how often they should be getting them done.

CBS News recently published an article on this exactmatter outlining which routine screening tests have been proven to be most critical to women’s health when detecting diseases in the early stages. Highlighted below are the referenced routine screening tests along with screening guidelines provided by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and the American Heart Association.

Mammography: The USPSTF recommends screening every two years starting at age 50, but ACOG suggests women get a mammogram each year beginning at age 40.

Colonoscopy: The USPSTF says most patients should begin colorectal cancer screening with a colonoscopy at age 50 and undergo the test every 10 years, usually until the age of 75. A doctor may determine that sigmoidoscopy and fecal blood testing is sufficient. The American Cancer Society outlines similar recommendations.

Pap and HPV tests: The USPSTF recommends screening for cervical cancer in women age 21 to 65 years old with Pap smear once every three years. For women who wish to be screened less frequently, the panel recommends women age 30 to 65 have both a Pap smear and HPV test every five years. ACOG has similar recommendations.

Blood pressure test: The AHA recommends patients have their blood pressure taken at least once each year starting at age 20.

Lipid panel: The AHA recommend testing cholesterol and triglycerides levels every 4 to 6 years.

Blood glucose tests: Screening for diabetes should occur at least every three years starting at age 45, according to AHA.

The respected news source suggests that patients should first become familiar with the screening guidelines and then discuss a screening plan with their doctor. When you are ready to begin taking the preventative steps needed for your health, contact your local Any Lab Test Now® for quality testing, affordable pricing and fast results for you and your doctor to evaluate. We offer a variety of tests including Blood Glucose Tests,  Lipid Panel, and Basic Check-Up Panel.. Call us today and begin to Take Control of Your Health®.

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Get Screened on National Alcohol Screening Day: April 9th, 2015

Did you know that over 50% of the U.S. population above the age of 12 consumes alcohol? It is estimated that there are between 10 to 15 million alcoholics in the United States and approximately 100,000 alcohol-related deaths per year. Because of these staggering facts, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) partnered to establish National Alcohol Screening Day. Held annually on the Thursday of the first full week of April, National Alcohol Screening Day is recognized as a day of outreach, education, and anonymous screening focused on raising awareness on harmful and dependent drinking behaviors and connecting those at risk with treatment options. With the support and participation of thousands of Americans, National Alcohol Screening Day is the nation’s largest and most visible community-based intervention initiative to target alcohol misuse. During this day, participating colleges, military installations and other organizations offer attendees:

  • free and anonymous alcohol screening.

  • referrals for treatment options.

  • education on the impact alcohol can have on one’s overall health.

If you think you or one of your family members suffer from harmful or dependent drink behaviors, Any Lab Test Now® encourages you to get screened on National Alcohol Screening Day, April 9th. Drinking above the average amount of alcohol on a regular basis can have long-term health effects on the body and it’s your responsibility to Take Control of Your Health® now. Tests like our Alcohol Effect Panel  and Liver Function Panel can help do that by identifying any long-term effects alcohol may have on your body. Contact us today to learn more about the alcohol testing services we offer and how we can help you begin bettering the health of your future.

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Closing the Gap on Health Disparities in the United States

Research has found that African-American women are 10% less likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer but 40% more likely to die from breast cancer. Asian-Americans represent only 5% of the American population but account for more than 50% of Americans who live with chronic hepatitis B. Latinas are twice as likely to have cervical cancer and are 1.4 times as likely to die of cervical cancer.

What do we call these complex findings? Health disparities. A health disparity is defined as a significant difference seen in the health status of different populations. It is caused simply by a disadvantage associated with the majority of theracial ethnic group’s social, economic and/or environmental status.

Major causes of health disparities include:

  • lack of access to health insurance

  • lack of access to healthcare

  • lack of access to health providers

  • lack of quality care received by a health provider

  • Communication barrier while receiving care (linguistics and/or cultural differences)

  • poor living conditions

  • poor working conditions

In order to reduce these disparities, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services created an action plan to close the gap. Disparities like lack of health insurance and lack of access to care has already been addressed with the help of the Affordable Care Act and new health care law. Now, millions Americans (including those of minority groups) who were once uninsured, now have access to affordable health coverage through ACA. Preventative services such as colon-cancer, diabetes and blood pressure screenings are now provided at no cost based on the health care law.

With the month of April being recognized as National Minority Health Month, Any Lab Test Now® joins in support of closing the gap on health disparities and promoting health equity. We understand how social, economic and environmental challenges can impact one’s ability to seek and receive quality health. That’s why we offer affordable lab testing prices with no insurance necessary. Call us today to learn more about how we can help you Take Control of Your Health®.

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Researchers Suggest Knee Pain May Be Early Sign of Arthritis

Have you ever started climbing a set of stairs and all of the sudden reached down to grab your knee as a reaction to a quick, sharp pain? A recent study published in the Arthritis Care and Research journal has suggested that knee pain while using the stairs may be an early sign of arthritis. Research leader and professor of musculoskeletal medicine at the University of Leeds in England, Philip Conaghan, stated that, “At present, we have little concept of ‘early’ osteoarthritis and often only see people when they have significant, longstanding pain and loss of function.”

To gain a better understanding of what early symptoms may be linked to arthritis, researchers located more than 4,600 people who were at a high risk for arthritis and followed the volunteers for up to seven years. During this time, the researchers paid close attention for any signs of pain or discomfort the people experienced during daily physical activity. They found that using stairswasthe first weight-bearing activity in which people with early knee arthritis noticedpain. Over time, they began to notice pain in other routine kinesthetic motions like standing, sitting, walking and even resting in bed.Conaghanexplained that if they can begin to identify early symptoms of knee arthritis, further research can be done to help doctors intervene sooner and develop medication to alleviate pain before it becomes more serious.

Have you been experiencing joint pain or stiffness in your body? Nearly 1 in every 5 adults in the United States are affected by some type of arthritis and many report joint pain or stiffness as being one of the first symptoms that caused them to seek answers. Any Lab Test Now® offers an Arthritis Screening Panel made up of different blood tests that will help you and your doctor determine if you have an autoimmune disorder such as arthritis. Contact your local Any Lab Test Now® today to learn more.

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Could the answer to your energy loss lie in your stomach?

Are you constantly tired? Feeling like every day is a 3 to 4 cups of coffee kind of day? If you’re lacking energy on a regular basis, you may need more than just another cup of coffee…your body may be trying to tell you that you have a vitamin B12 deficiency. Vitamin B12, also known as the “energy vitamin”, plays a key role in turning the food you eat into energy to power your metabolism. Without adequate levels of the vitamin, you could suffer from memory loss, mood swings, and overall energy loss. If left untreated, the side effects can become even more serious resultinginpermanent nerve damage. Recent studies have suggested that anywhere from 15-40% of the American population today fail to obtain adequate levels of B12 due to their diet, medications and lifestyle.

So, do you know if you’re getting enough B12 to achieve your optimal health? What could put you at risk for developing a B12 deficiency? Because B12 absorption occurs in the stomach, a good starting point is to consider the current health state of your stomach.

People who suffer from gastrointestinal disorders like IBS, Celiac disease or Crohn’s disease are at a greater risk because their stomachs may not be able to fully absorb enough vitamin B12 from food or produce adequate intrinsic factor, a compound needed further along in digesting to absorb B12 in the small intestine.

Because stomach acid plays a major role in unlocking B12 from food in the digestive track, those who regularly take medicine to suppress gastric acid production also have a higher risk. Medications like aspirin, Metformin, and heartburn medicine are a few examples of this.

As a person ages, their stomach lining changeswhichsometimes resultsina decreased production of gastric acid. Because of this, people over the age of 50 tend to need B12 supplements to help them obtain an adequate amount needed for their health.

If you would like to know if you’re getting enough of the vitamin B12, call your local Any Lab Test Now today and schedule a Vitamin B12 Test.

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