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.

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Hormones and Your Health

The Connection Between an Imbalance and Weight Gain

The statistics concerning adult obesity in the United States are alarming. According to the most recent data, adult obesity rates now exceed 20 percent in all states. A diet high in fat and sugar, coupled with a sedentary lifestyle, is usually to blame. But for some people, both men and women, there is no obvious reason for the additional pounds. These people are eating healthy and getting exercise, yet they still seem to be gaining weight. In that case, there is a possibility that hormones are to blame.

Hormonal Havoc

As we age, hormone levels adjust and can cause hormonal imbalances. This can lead to a number of issues including:

  • Weight gain
  • Obesity
  • Insulin resistance
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Diabetes

Testing your hormone levels can help explain persistent weight problems and help you avoid the associated medical issues. The first step is to purchase the Weight Management Take Home Hormone Kit at your local Any Lab Test Now location.

Taking the First Step

The Weight Management Take Home Hormone Kit is the first step to getting answers and it can be done in the comfort of your own home. You’ll have to fast for 12 hours for the results to be accurate. It consists of a simple dried blood spot test and a saliva test. Using these, the test measures bioavailable hormone levels. The kit is wide-ranging, testing in nine critical areas:

  • Estradiol (E2) – this is basically a form of estrogen. It is present in both women and men.
  • Progesterone (Pg) and Testosterone (T) – these are hormones that are found in both men and women that help regulate gender and the associated sexual functions.
  • DHEAS (DS) – helps in evaluating your adrenal gland function.
  • Diurnal Cortisol (Cx4) – helps determine your level of cortisol, a steroid hormone released by your adrenal gland.
  • Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) – checks your body’s production of TSH, which helps regulate how your body uses energy.
  • Vitamin D (D2, D3) – low levels of this vitamin may lead to weight gain according to some studies.
  • Insulin (In) – this measures your insulin production. Insulin is produced by the pancreas and used by the body to transport and convert glucose into usable energy.
  • Hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) – checks your blood glucose levels and can detect pre-diabetes.

If you’ve experienced unusual weight gain, are struggling with obesity, or are having difficulty losing weight, the cause could be hormonal havoc.

Results Put You in Control

Test results will usually take between five to seven business days after you return your specimen to the lab. Your results will pinpoint specific hormonal imbalances that can contribute to excessive weight gain and obesity. The comprehensive report also matches your tested hormone levels with reported symptoms so you and your doctor can determine what steps to take so you can achieve optimal health. It’s time to take your health into your own hands with the help of Any Lab Test Now.

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Shortage of the Sunshine Vitamin

It’s hard to imagine it, but even in the middle of summer, there are people who aren’t getting enough sunshine in their life. There could be all kinds of reasons why, but the most likely one is because they are being wise and listening to the well-placed warnings from their dermatologist about skin cancer. So, they slather on sunscreen, suit up in long sleeved shirts and pants and basically avoid the sun when possible. But some doctors are seeing an unintended consequence to this advice: vitamin D deficiency.

What is Vitamin D

According to the Vitamin D Council, D is unlike any other vitamin. Your body can make its own vitamin D when you expose your skin to sunlight. But, your body can’t make other vitamins; you have to get them from the foods you eat.

Basically, when your skin is exposed to the sun, it produces vitamin D and sends it to your liver. Your liver then changes it to a substance called 25 OH D. When your doctor talks about your vitamin D levels you’ll basically be talking about the amount of 25 OH D you have in your blood. You can also get vitamin D from supplements or even small amounts from the foods you eat.

Vitamin D at Work

Vitamin D plays a crucial role in keeping your bones strong. Your body needs it in order to absorb calcium. If you don’t have enough, your bones can become soft, thin and brittle. In children, this is called rickets. In adults, it’s known as osteomalacia. Researchers are also looking into the role that a vitamin D deficiency plays in:

  • Cancer
  • Asthma
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Depression
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Type 1 diabetes

Are You at Risk?

A lack of sun exposure due to sunscreen use isn’t the only risk factor for a deficiency. Some people are just more inclined to it. According to the Vitamin D Council, people at risk for D deficiency include:

  • People with darker skin. The darker your skin the more sun exposure you need to get the same amount of vitamin D as a fair-skinned person.
  • People who spend a lot of time indoors during the day. For example, if you’re housebound or work nights and spend the day sleeping.
  • Older people, because they have thinner skin and may not be able to produce as much vitamin D as younger people.
  • Pregnant women and breastfed-only infants.
  • People who are overweight.

The symptoms of a vitamin D deficiency are so vague you might not have a clue. They can range anywhere from tiredness and general aches and pains to a pain in your bones and weakness. Some people don’t even have symptoms at all.

Testing to Know Your Levels

Testing to find out your levels of this important vitamin is as simple as going to your local Any Lab Test Now location. The test you’ll want to ask for is the Vitamin D 25-Hydroxy Test (25 OH D). It’s a simple test that requires no fasting and results generally take between 24 to 72 hours. Our experts have found that people who take the Vitamin D 25-Hydroxy Test (25 OH D) will also request one of the following relevant tests as well:

If your levels are abnormal a trip to your doctor is in order. They can talk to you about safe and sensible sun exposure and supplements. Having plenty of the “sunshine vitamin” can really be the key to feeling sunny every day!

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