July 28 is World Hepatitis Day! Should You Get Tested?

Understanding hepatitis can be difficult, because there are many possible triggers that can bring on the disease. Hepatitis is a blanket term that refers to inflammation of the liver, and it can be caused by ingesting certain substances, by certain illnesses that attack all body systems or by viruses that solely target the liver. Another challenge for many people with chronic hepatitis is that the symptoms are mild enough to be ignored, even as it continues to damage the liver. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that there might be as many as 5.1 million people suffering from chronic hepatitis. If you’ve noticed some concerning changes in your body and are wondering if hepatitis might be the cause, Any Lab Test Now offers simple and straightforward testing for all types of hepatitis. Here are some descriptions to help you determine whether you should get a hepatitis panel.

The liver is responsible for processing chemicals in the bloodstream and metabolizing them so they can be used or eliminated from the body. An example is the liver’s role in processing alcohol and medications; it removes the harmful byproducts of these substances from the body by sending them to the kidneys to be excreted. From the building blocks it gets from your diet, the liver also produces substances the body needs, like important proteins that form the base materials for cells.

When your liver is inflamed, it has trouble performing these functions. When symptoms present themselves, they are often fatigue, dark urine, light-colored stools, fever and jaundice. But inside your body, what is actually happening is much worse. For example, chronic, untreated hepatitis can lead to extensive liver damage, cirrhosis and liver cancer. There are vaccines for two types of hepatitis, A and B, but that leaves you unprotected from types C, D, E and G.

Mononucleosis and many autoimmune diseases can cause symptoms similar to that of the hepatitis viruses. Liver inflammation caused by one of these illnesses can be just as damaging, and needs to be treated. Only a medical exam or laboratory test can help you tell the difference between these two causes of liver damage. If you are or ever have been an intravenous drug user, or if you’ve had unprotected sex with someone who might have hepatitis, you should consider getting tested, especially because the symptoms often go unnoticed or unrecognized. Healthcare workers and people with hemophilia are also at risk of contracting viral hepatitis.

This year, World Hepatitis Day falls on July 28. To help raise awareness, and move us closer to the goal of eliminating viral hepatitis by 2030, do your part and get yourself tested. Visit your local Any Lab Test Now for a quick and easy hepatitis panel!

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What Is Heavy Metal Toxicity?

Heavy metals are not necessarily bad. In fact, we’re exposed to many natural elements every day, including some heavy metals. Certain heavy metals such as chromium, iron, and zinc are actually important to regulate bodily functions. But too much of a good thing can be bad. Heavy metals in high doses can be toxic.
This heavy metal toxicity can be very harmful to you, your family, or your employees. It can result in the following outcomes:

  • Damage to the vital organs
  • Neurological and muscular degeneration
  • Cancer
  • Allergies
  • In extreme cases, death

Occupational exposure and your diet and lifestyle are the two most common ways you can become exposed to heavy metals. When you do become exposed, the body can’t metabolize the metal substances that you have ingested or absorbed. Those metals will then accumulate in your soft tissues leading to toxicity.
If you’re concerned that you’ve been exposed to heavy metals or need to test your employees for OSHA, Any Lab Test Now can help. We offer a Heavy Metals Panel as well as tests for arsenic, lead, mercury, cadmium, chromium, copper, and zinc. We can help you get the answers you need, especially since identification of the heavy metal is paramount to treatment. Only by identifying which metal you have been exposed to can you go to your doctor and begin the treatment to have it removed from your body’s system.
Our reliable testing services will help you get the peace of mind you need if you think you’ve been exposed to dangerous heavy metals.

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The Dangers of Being Vitamin D Deficient

Sunny days can make us feel amazing. Studies have proven, time and again, that a little sunshine can have a serious positive impact on your mood and mental state. And the good news is the sun can also be your best source for vitamin D! But what you may not know is that if you’re using lots of sunscreen, you may actually be vitamin D deficient regardless of how much time you spend in the sun.

Applying sunscreen daily is highly recommended for preventing skin cancer, and it’s a great idea to protect your skin from damaging ultraviolet (UV) rays. But sunscreen can also block beneficial UV light that allows the skin to make vitamin D. So if you are being too careful in the sun, you may actually be causing more harm than good.

You’ve Heard of it, But What is it Really?

Vitamin D plays an important role in our body. It is a fat-soluble vitamin that our body needs for important processes such as the absorption of calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphate and zinc – all nutrients your body needs to survive.

The sun is your body’s best and most efficient source of vitamin D. The body makes vitamin D from exposure to sunlight or UV light on exposed skin, but it can also obtain the vitamin from plants, supplements or foods fortified with the vitamin. If your body does not get enough vitamin D, you will develop a vitamin D deficiency.

Some people may be more susceptible to developing a vitamin D deficiency due to little sun exposure, diet and other factors. Sunscreen blocks UV light from being absorbed by your skin, which is why people can sometimes over-protect themselves from the sun. People who are obese, have dark skin and those who are older than 65 are also at higher risk. Symptoms may include tiredness, weakness, bone pain, general aches or even frequent infections. However, some people show no symptoms at all.

A long-term vitamin D deficiency can put you at risk for any number of dangerous and even deadly health problems including coronary artery disease, peripheral arterial disease, stroke and diabetes mellitus. A vitamin D deficiency can also cause your bones to become thin, brittle or misshapen over time. This is why it is important to know your vitamin D levels so you can take the steps to correct or prevent a vitamin D deficiency.

What Can You Do About It?

A vitamin D deficiency can be treated with increased sun exposure as well as vitamin D supplements. To reach your necessary vitamin D levels, try getting at least ten minutes of unprotected sun exposure every day — but make sure to apply the sunscreen after that!

If you suspect you may have a vitamin D deficiency, it’s important to get tested to find out for sure. Any Lab Test Now’s Vitamin D Test is a great place to start if you’d like to find out more about your vitamin D levels. By equipping yourself with the knowledge you need, you can begin taking the first steps towards better health.

 

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What’s Your Cellular Age?

JUL newsletter SMALL telomeresAs much as we’d all like to flee from aging, it is inevitable. Just as your car or a favorite clothing item will wear out over time, so too does the human body. Of course, the rate at which aging happens is different for each person and is based on a number of factors such as genetics, diet, exercise and stress.

On a cellular level, however, the rate of aging is measurable. Measurement is possible because of the telomeres that are connected to the end of your cells. Every time cells divide, the length of the telomere becomes shortened. The shorter the telomere is, the more times that particular cell has been copied. Over time, the telomere becomes so short that the cell no longer reproduces and is “retired”. This shortening of the telomere is known as cellular aging.

Through the use of a telomere test, labs are able to measure the length of the telomere in one’s body. This measurement is then compared to the expected length of telomeres in those of a similar age bracket, which helps determine overall cellular age.

While cell division and its subsequent retirement are natural processes, there are ways in which one can slow the process down. Among these are:

  • Minimizing consumption of processed, surgery or fatty foods.
  • Reducing body fat to 22 percent for women and 16 percent for men.
  • Exercising for at least an hour a day.
  • Reducing stress.
  • Quitting smoking and other tobacco consumption.
  • Sleeping eight hours a night.
  • Increasing consumption of raw fruits and vegetables, Omega-3 fatty acids, vegetable protein, cold-water fish and fiber.
  • Evaluating the need for nutritional supplements.

Next time you worry about getting older, consider monitoring the rate at which your cells age. With monitoring, you will be better able to make the lifestyle choices that are necessary to slow cellular aging, and potentially the onset of age-related diseases. Walk-in to Any Lab Test Now to ask for your Telomere Test today.

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