It’s Time to Stop Stressing!

Meditate

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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March is National Kidney Month: Preserve Your Kidney Health!

March is National Kidney Month: Preserve Your Kidney Health!

Cleanses and fasts are all the rage now, for getting in shape and ridding your body of “toxins.” But we at Any Lab Test Now recommend that you take some time to look to your body’s built-in cleansers — your kidneys. Your blood passes through your kidneys several times a day to be filtered and taken back to your heart, lungs and other organs. In honor of National Kidney Month, here are a few ways to keep your kidneys at peak health.

Manage any other health conditions. Heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes can contribute to kidney problems. Since these conditions affect blood flow, it’s important to manage them so your blood can make it to your kidneys to be filtered. Diabetes can also cause your body to release chemicals in response to blood sugar imbalances, which can damage your kidneys.

Cut back on salt and alcohol. This doesn’t mean you need to completely give them up, but consuming these in moderation has proven to decrease the amount of damage kidneys sustain over time. Try incorporating more produce and spices into your diet, and limit your alcohol intake to one or two drinks per night.

Exercise, but don’t overdo it. Exercise is always a good idea for managing your health, but it’s important to strike a balance. Overtraining can be just as bad as remaining sedentary, because it can cause a breakdown of your muscles, which will release harmful chemicals back into your bloodstream. These chemicals reach your kidneys and can cause damage.

Try to quit smoking. Smoking can damage your blood vessels, which reduces the flow of blood to your kidneys. Nothing performs at its optimal level when blood isn’t flowing well, and your kidneys are no exception. So try to cut back or quit completely to heal your blood vessels.

Cool it on the over-the-counter medicines. Some NSAID pain relievers like ibuprofen and naproxen sodium can damage kidneys when taken over prolonged periods of time. If you don’t take them regularly, you probably don’t have anything to worry about. But if you use NSAIDs for chronic pain management, be sure to talk to your doctor about monitoring your kidney function.

The renal function panel at Any Lab Test Now works by testing your urine for substances like ketones and urea nitrogen, which typically don’t appear in high levels in the body due to the filtration provided by the kidneys. If the kidneys aren’t able to do their job, higher levels of proteins, sugars and even blood can appear in the urine.

Your renal system works hard to make sure your body doesn’t absorb harmful chemicals all day. Your kidneys never stop filtering blood, and they can keep working effectively even at 20 percent functionality. But the length of the kidney transplant list grows by the day; clearly once these important organs are impaired beyond their threshold, a person experiences a dramatic loss in their ability to live a full life. So take some time to evaluate these important organs by stopping in at Any Lab Test Now for a renal function panel!

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Spring Is Right Around the Corner, and So Are Allergies

Prepare Yourself for Spring Allergies

Birds chip, flowers bloom, trees bud and little bunnies appear. It’s spring! As the days grow longer and warmer, people spend more time outdoors, and windows slide open to let in a breath of fresh air. It’s a time for picnics, long walks in the woods and cleaning up the yard from winter’s mess.

Unfortunately for some people, spring can be an uncomfortable time of year. People with seasonal allergies find themselves rubbing at itchy eyes and battling a continuously running nose. They may experience wheezing, if allergies trigger an asthma attack. They may also suffer from headaches or see dark circles under their eyes. These people feel like they have a cold that won’t ever go away!

While various foods, mold or pets can trigger allergy symptoms, the cause of springtime allergies is typically pollen. With so much new plant growth this time of year, pollen wafts through the air and settles on every surface. When someone with a pollen sensitivity or allergy inhales the pollen, the body perceives it as a threat and releases antibodies to protect itself. Antibodies are the same mechanism the body uses to fight off a cold, which is why allergy sufferers experience symptoms that are similar to colds.

Fortunately, general allergy testing for adults and kids is much simpler now than in years past. Years ago, testing involved hundreds of needle pricks to determine the allergy cause. Today, testing only requires a simple blood sample to determine which pollens, foods or other triggers are causing the allergy symptoms. To further help springtime allergy sufferers, regional environmental allergy tests can help identify which area plants may be triggering an allergic reaction, making allergy control simpler.

While seasonal allergies can encroach on one’s quality of life, they are not typically severe enough to be dangerous. They can, however, impact your ability to sleep, contributing to a loss of productivity and mood disorders, so attending to the symptoms is important. In addition to both over-the-counter and prescribed medicines, there are a variety of lifestyle changes that can help minimize symptoms, such as:

  • Wearing a mask while mowing the lawn or doing yard work.
  • Closing the windows and using air conditioning.
  • Avoiding outdoor activities early in the morning when pollen is at its worst.
  • Washing your hands when you come in contact with pollen or other allergens.
  • Changing your comfort system’s air filter regularly.
  • Taking your shoes off to avoid tracking pollen through the house.

Once you have taken your seasonal allergy test, you’ll be better able to identify the cause of your symptoms. From there, you can put a plan in place to start minimizing your exposure to the allergen and start feeling better so you can enjoy the beauty of the spring season!

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What You Need to Know About HIV Among Women

Did you know that March 10th is Women’s HIV/AIDS Awareness Day? It’s an important day to recognize the impact HIV and AIDS have on women across the nation because nearly one in four people living with HIV in the U.S. are women, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

This year, on the 11th observance of this awareness day, get the facts you need about HIV for women. First, women face unique risks. They are more likely to contract the disease during vaginal sex than men, because of an increased surface area for contact with the disease. Furthermore, women who are affected often face greater challenges finding proper care and dealing with social stigma. Lastly, women with HIV carry the risk of passing it to their child during childbirth and need to be extra vigilant about care and treatment.

The facts you need to know about HIV:

  • Human Immunodeficiency Virus, or HIV, is a sexually transmitted disease that attacks the immune system and lowers your body’s ability to fight off infections.
  • While there is no cure at the moment, treatments exist that can suppress the virus and give those who are living with the disease a long and healthy life.
  • The four most common ways HIV is transmitted are sexual contact, intravenous drug use, mother-to-child (perinatal) and blood transfusions.
  • Symptoms of HIV tend to mirror that of the flu. The possible symptoms of HIV are: fever, chills, rash, night sweats, muscle aches, sore throat and fatigue.

Finally, the most important fact that you need to know about HIV is that the only way to know for sure that you or a loved one is infected is to get tested. If you have had unprotected sex, have an existing sexually transmitted disease or share needles, you should be tested for HIV. At Any Lab Test Now, we can help you get the confidential testing you need to stay informed.

This March, encourage all the women in your life to get tested and help stop the spread of HIV/AIDS!

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