Your Body’s Response to Stress

Shot of a young woman suffering from stress while using a computer at her work desk

Remember being a child? You’d stub your toe or bring home a bad grade on your report card, and it would feel like the end of the world – for about five minutes. Then, you’d race out the door to giggle with friends or fly on the swings or shoot hoops at the playground.

Back then, there were stressful moments, but more often than not, they were short-lived. Now that you are a grownup, however, you may find it more difficult to let go of stress. Stress may be staying with you, day after day and week after week. After all, many people struggle to simply balance day-to-day responsibilities. Then, if something more severe happens, such as becoming a long-term care giver or losing a job, it becomes nearly impossible to remove stress from your life.

Your Body and Stress

The feelings you have during short-term stress are healthy, natural physical responses. When your body encounters a stressful situation, it releases a steroid hormone called cortisol. This hormone triggers the “fight or flight” response that puts your body on high alert so that you can more effectively cope with the perceived threat. When this happens, you may feel your heart racing, tummy tighten, breath quicken or even a sudden burst of energy.

You feel these things because cortisol is telling your primary systems, like your breathing and circulatory systems, to accelerate. At the same time, it tells your secondary systems, like your reproductive and immune systems, to slow down, allowing all of your energy to shift towards coping with the threat.

Once the threat has passed, your cortisol levels should slowly subside and your systems should return to normal functioning.

Too Much Stress; Too Much Cortisol

But, what happens when the stressful situation(s) never ends? What happens when your body has so much cortisol coursing through it that it remains on high alert for long periods of time?

When that happens, your systems never reset themselves. Your body may over-tax your primary systems or not restore your secondary systems to normal functioning, leading to issues like:

  • High blood pressure
  • Digestive issues
  • Weight gain
  • Depression or anxiety
  • Decreased libido
  • Reduced energy
  • Reduced immunity
  • Muscle weakness

If you’re feeling any of these symptoms for unexplained reasons, it could be that you’ve been battling stress for too long and your cortisol levels aren’t dropping as they should. Cortisol saliva tests or cortisol blood tests can both be used to quickly evaluate your cortisol levels so that you can find out if they are at an unhealthy level.

Coping with Stress

If you find that your cortisol levels are too high, it’s important to take steps to reduce your stress and begin restoring your body to its natural functioning. Of course, talking with your doctor will provide options that fit your health status and lifestyle, but these may include:

  • Exercising
  • Learning to slow down (Think yoga, meditation, massage)
  • Keeping a gratitude journal
  • Evaluating your priorities and taking steps to remove non-necessary commitments
  • Employing self-care practices
  • Embracing your creative side

Having some stress in your life is natural, but if you start to question the impact that stress is having on your overall health and well-being, it’s time to take back control. Walk in to your local Any Lab Test Now location to get the answers you need about your cortisol level. Once you know, you’ll have one less thing to stress over!

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Give Your Heart Some Love During Heart Health Month

Between work, social activities and taking care of a family, it may be easy to forget to take care of yourself. However, it’s important to make sure your heart’s health is top-notch, especially if you’re the heart of the household.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Many of those at risk may not even realize there is a problem. Since February is American Hearth Month, it serves as a reminder that there’s never a bad time to make sure your heart is in good condition and avoid being one of those people who is putting their health on the line.

Your Life, Your Heart, Your Choice:

While various heart problems may be inherited, many forms of heart disease can be prevented or treated with healthy lifestyle choices. Having a poor diet, excessive alcohol use, smoking, stress and physical inactivity are all lifestyle choices that put people at a higher risk for heart disease. These factors lead to high blood pressure, which thickens arteries and narrows blood vessels. Obesity, lack of exercise, smoking, diabetes and other risk factors can also lead to high blood cholesterol levels, which can lead to plaque buildup in the arteries. If that information doesn’t get you to change your habits, consider this: about 735,000 Americans have a heart attack every year.

Know the Warning Signs:

Chest discomfort and pain in your left arm aren’t the only warning signs that something is wrong with your heart. Nausea, feeling lightheaded, and pain in the throat or jaw could also be signs of trouble too. Also, if you’ve developed an annoying cough that produces white or pink mucus, check with your doctor. When the heart can’t keep up with the body’s demands, this causes blood to leak back into the lungs. Another sign something is up could be if your legs and feet are swollen. Blood can get backed up in the veins and cause bloating when the heart can’t pump fast enough.

Take a Test:

If you’re worried about your heart health, take just a couple of minutes to visit your nearest Any Lab Test Now location and see if everything is OK. The Lipid Panel, which is just $49, includes tests to measure if a patient has abnormal cholesterol or triglyceride levels. The C-Reactive Protein Test measures the amount of protein in your blood that indicates inflammation. The test will let you know if inflammation has damaged arteries, thus increasing the chances of a heart attack. The Lipoprotein Particle Profile Test is the most advanced test available to predict heart disease risk. Low Density Lipoprotein cholesterol, LDL, is also known as the “bad cholesterol.” High numbers of small, dense LDL particles can cause plaque buildup, and ultimately cardiovascular disease. The Lipoprotein Particle Profile Test measures the particles directly.

American Heart Month is the perfect time to show your heart some love. After all, it does so much for you! Visit your local Any Lab Test Now to get started.

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Know Your Origins

Are you especially curious about your family history? Do you find yourself eager to learn more about the origins of your family beyond faded photos and inspiring stories told by relatives? Want a key to the past, unlocking the dust-covered history and creating a deeper connection to your lineage? If so, the GPS Origins™ test offered at Any Lab Test Now locations is the perfect solution for all your ancestry questions.

 

GPS (Geographic Population Structure) Origins testing takes ancestral mapping to the next level, providing insightful information that dates back 1,000 years. The GPS Origins test provides precise information regarding your human migration pattern as well as your genetic origin percentages. Perhaps your gene pool is heavily populated in Basque country or southern France. Or you may discover significant ties to western Siberia or Fenno-Scandinavia.

The GPS Origins test shows particular geographic regions where your autosomal markers occur most frequently, shedding light on the migration routes of your ancestors. From Latvia to Denmark, and all the way to the tiny fishing village in Ireland, the GPS Origins test showcases the likely pattern your ancestors took over time.

The GPS Origins test is conducted with a quick and simple mouth swab of the inner cheek. By analyzing over 800,000 genetic markers in your DNA, the test is able to pinpoint your family origins, matching the populations that joined to create your genetic line. The test then traces the migration routes of your DNA, for both maternal and paternal lineages, painting a picture of your ancestors’ footsteps.

Your results are revealed in a convenient digital report that is easy to understand and great to share with the whole family. If you, like many others, are at all curious about your ancestral history, the GPS Origins test will help uncover your past. You may already have some written record of distant ancestors who originated from Scotland or France, but most family history prior to the late 1800s was not recorded in written form. The GPS Origins test offers deeper insight, revealing information that connects you to generations past.

Learning your own family history is a crucial element in understanding exactly who you are. It helps you shape your future, establishes a greater sense of identity, and invokes an appreciation for your cultural heritage. Confirm something you’ve always wondered or discover something you never knew. Want to know if your great-grandmother was right about distant Native American ancestors? The GPS Origins test helps answer these questions and more!

Deeper connection and understanding of your family and all its history, visit an Any Lab Test Now location to receive a GPS Origins test. It makes a great conversation piece and an even better gift.

 

 

 

 

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