Why baby boomers should care about hepatitis awareness

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has named the month of May Hepatitis Awareness Month and May 19 in particular as national Hepatitis Testing Day. It’s information everyone should pay close attention to; because chronic hepatitis B and C can cause serious damage to your liver. But your local Any Lab Test Now location wants baby boomers, in particular, to mark their calendars on Hepatitis Testing Day for a very simple reason — you are most at risk.

Baby Boomers and Hepatitis C

Hepatitis C is spread through contact with blood or other body fluids from an infected person. Baby boomers are five times more likely to have hepatitis C than other adults, according to the CDC. Most of them are unaware that they are infected. The reason baby boomers have such high rates isn’t completely understood, but health officials have three main theories:

  1. Health officials believe boomers are at an increased risk because they became infected from medical equipment or procedures before universal precautions and infection control procedures were adopted.
  2. Others could have gotten infected from contaminated blood before widespread screening of the blood supply was implemented. Screening virtually eliminated the virus from the blood supply by 1992.
  3. Sharing needles or equipment to inject drugs can also spread hepatitis C.

Many people will never know how they were infected, just like many never realize that they are living with a dangerous contagious disease.

Symptoms of Hepatitis C

Hepatitis C can lead to liver damage, cirrhosis, and is now the leading cause of liver cancer. The good news is, it can be cured! But you have to be aware that you have the disease and the sooner you know, the better your chances of recovery. Here’s what to look for:

  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Dark urine
  • Clay-colored bowel movements
  • Joint pain
  • Jaundice

But here’s the thing: many people can live with hepatitis C for decades without symptoms or even feeling sick. That’s why testing is so critical.

Any Lab Test Now Offers Hepatitis Testing

You can find out where you stand by coming in to an Any Lab Test Now location and asking for one of our quick and easy hepatitis screening tests. There are several options to choose from.

The Hepatitis Panel screens for all variations of the hepatitis virus; that’s A, B, and C. There are three different viruses that cause hepatitis A, B, or C and this one test will screen for all three.

The Hepatitis C Test will screen only for the one virus. If your results come back positive for the virus, the time to act is now. The sooner you and your physician begin treatment, the better.

Treatment and Beyond

Doctors treat hepatitis C with antiviral medicines that attack the virus and can cure the disease in most cases. Researchers are developing newer medications, and hopefully bringing the cost of treatment down. So, if you were born between 1945 and 1965, grab a friend and make a date to visit Any Lab Test Now on May 19 for National Hepatitis Testing Day. It may not sound like the time of your life, but it could add more time to your life!

Posted in ANY LAB TEST NOW, Health, hepatitis, Hepatitis C | Leave a comment

Top Health Issues Facing Women: Living Longer but Not Living Healthier

There is no better time than now for women to step up and put their health first. We know it’s a tall order, women have been so conditioned to always put themselves last. But as we celebrate the 19th Annual National Women’s Health Week May 13 – 19, it is worth noting that although women are living longer lives, they are not living healthier lives. It’s time for that to change.

Women, on average, live five years longer than men, with a current life expectancy of 81.1 years. But sadly, those aren’t quality years. The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation reports women’s health in the U.S. is suffering from impaired mobility, hearing, vision and pain due to a growing number of years living with disabilities (YLD).

Leading causes of YLD in the United States for women

  1. Low back pain
  2. Other musculoskeletal disorders
  3. Major depressive disorder
  4. Anxiety disorders
  5. Neck pain
  6. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  7. Diabetes mellitus
  8. Migraine
  9. Age-related and other hearing loss
  10. Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias

*Source: The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation

Musculoskeletal Disorders

Musculoskeletal conditions are pervasive and take a heavy toll on women as the most common cause of severe long-term pain and disability. Pain and reduced physical function seriously diminish a woman’s quality of life as she ages. Low back pain, osteoporosis and osteoarthritis are at the top of the list. At Any Lab Test Now, the Osteoporosis Risk Panel, Arthritis Screening, and even Thyroid Panel, which can detect an imbalance that could make a woman more susceptible to osteoporosis, heart disease (No.1 killer), infertility and fatigue, can provide early flags that allow women to take control of their health instead of letting health conditions control them.

Stress

Anxiety is a normal response to stress and women have plenty of that. It’s no surprise women are more than twice as likely as men to get an anxiety disorder. However, researchers believe hormonal changes, genetics, and traumatic events play a role. Anxiety can also affect other health problems common in women, like depression, irritable bowel syndrome, chronic pain, cardiovascular disease and asthma. Of course, severe anxiety can become debilitating. At Any Lab Test now, the Adrenal Stress Test measures the master stress hormone which can uncover hidden imbalances of key hormones tied to mental, emotional or physical energy. Getting enough sleep is a healthy habit that can keep cortisol (the “stress” hormone) and melatonin working in concert, so women can manage the stress of normal day-to-day activities. Melatonin levels are believed to decrease as we age, adding to the oxidative stress that contributes to disorders such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Huntington’s disease. The Sleep Balance Kit, an easy take-home urine test from Any Lab Test Now, can detect imbalances of melatonin and cortisol and results can be used to develop treatments or lifestyle changes to improve the sleep/wake cycle for optimal health and wellness.

Diabetes

In the last 30 years, YLD from diabetes alone increased by more than 112 percent in women, making it not only a leading cause of death but also a leading cause of disability for women. At Any Lab Test Now, six different diabetes lab tests are available, including, the Diabetes Maintenance Panel and the Insulin Lab Test, which is especially crucial for women at risk for type 2 diabetes or who have already developed symptoms associated with prediabetes or metabolic syndrome including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, excess weight and/or higher than normal glucose levels.

Any Lab Test Now joins the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women’s Health and encourages women to make their health a priority and start building positive health habits today by doing these six things:

What steps will you take towards better health?

Posted in ANY LAB TEST NOW, arthritis, Diabetes, Women's Health, Women's Health Week | Leave a comment

How a walk in the park can turn into a trip to the doctor

After a long winter, it’s hard to stay inside when you begin to see those first signs of spring. Temperatures are warmer, flowers are blooming, even animals are frolicking. The experts at Any Lab Test Now understand the desire to shake off winter’s coat and let the warm breezes and sunshine bathe you in bliss, but you need to proceed with caution. There’s a spreading danger out there that you will likely never see coming. It’s as small as a pinhead and can pack a punch that can turn your world upside down. We’re talking about ticks and a nasty disease that some of them can carry — Lyme disease.

The Spread of Lyme Disease

Lyme disease is a bacterial infection spread by the bite of ticks. It causes more than 300,000 illnesses each year in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The risk of infection is greatest in late spring and summer. Of course, that’s the time we are all most likely to want to get outside and enjoy the great outdoors, but unfortunately, it also coincides with a very dangerous point in the life cycle of the tick.

Search for a Spring Snack

It turns out that most people are infected through the bites of immature ticks, called nymphs. Experts at the CDC believe that ticks become infected when they are still just considered larvae, but once they become infected, they stay infected for the rest of their two-year lifespan. When the larvae become nymphs, they begin furiously seeking blood meals to fuel their growth. That’s usually in the spring and summer months, just in time for you to enjoy a family hike or camping trip. Don’t think you are in the free and clear in the fall either. Adult ticks can also transmit Lyme disease, and they are most active during the fall. They are much larger than nymphs though, and more likely to be spotted and removed before attaching to your skin.

You don’t have to be a prisoner in your own home. The experts at Any Lab Test Now have some tips that you can follow to help you take control of your health AND help you enjoy the great outdoors.

Use insect repellant and perform daily tick checks. Look everywhere! Nymphs are tiny and can easily be mistaken for a speck of dirt. Have someone check your scalp, the back of your neck, and all the places you can’t see. If you spot a tick, remove it immediately with a pair of tweezers. The CDC says ticks are usually attached for a day before they release the bacteria that causes Lyme disease.

Recognize the early symptoms of Lyme disease. Early diagnosis and treatment can help you avoid complications that can appear later if the disease is not treated. Here’s what to look for:

  • Bull’s-eye rash
  • Fatigue
  • Chills and fever
  • Headache
  • Muscle and joint pain
  • Swollen lymph nodes

Does this sound familiar? Sounds a lot like the flu, and it can often be mistaken for that. If you’ve been bitten by a tick or develop the rash, it might not be the flu.

Recognize late symptoms of Lyme disease. If left untreated, the problems associated with the disease will worsen. Often patients experience bouts of arthritis, especially in the knees. There can sometimes be nerve paralysis and even meningitis. Many patients report suffering from “brain fog.” Others have reported heart arrhythmias and eye inflammations.

Take Control; Get Tested

Any Lab Test Now offers a simple blood test that will help detect and measure antibodies that the body produces in an attempt to fight the disease. The presence of antibodies cannot always determine if the Lyme disease infection is recent or due to a tick bite in the past, but it can put you and your doctor on the right path to helping you feel better. A special note: If your results are negative, but your symptoms are still present, it’s a good idea to perform a repeat test. It can take up to two months for antibodies to develop.

After getting your results at your local Any Lab Test Now, you should see your doctor. The good news is that Lyme disease can easily be treated with antibiotics.

Posted in ANY LAB TEST NOW, Lyme Disease | Tagged , , | Leave a comment