Archive for the ‘cholesterol’ Category

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

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Whenever people think of fats they automatically assume they’re not good for them, but that’s not always the case. There are well known healthy fats and they are called unsaturated fats. Unsaturated fats are either monounsaturated and polyunsaturated and they help decrease disease risk. Omega-3 fatty acids are an example of the healthy fats. They are a crucial for your health and development, but your body does not produce it so the only way to get it is by consuming foods high in Omega 3s.They can be found in sardines, salmon, anchovies, and herring.

omega 3 imageIt can help reduce risk for cardiovascular disease, rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, and depression. Fish also contains proteins, selenium, and vitamin D that are beneficial for the body. It is important to get a good ratio of Omega-3 and Omega-6 which is another essential fatty acid. You should aim to eat a bit more of Omega-3s because it helps reduce inflammation and Omega-6s promote inflammation. It is recommended you get at least 2 servings of fish and 1 serving of oily (dark meat) fish.

Need to know if you are getting sufficient fatty acids?  Test your levels.

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Four Cancer Myths

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There are many misconceptions about what causes cancer. Having misconceptions and misinformation causes needless worries that can create anxiety and worry. Nowadays you hear information in the news about all the possibilities that have potential cancer causing qualities.  Here are some common cancer fallacies:

  1. Sugar doesn’t necessarily “feed” cancer. Yes it is true that many cancer cells take up blood sugar more quickly than healthy cells, but all cells in our body require sugar for sustenance. Avoiding sugar completely doesn’t guarantee you that you won’t get cancer. As a matter of fact, blood sugar comes from foods with carbs too. It is important to maintain your blood sugar and insulin at healthy levels to maintain proper health and to avoid diabetes and other diseases that can have negative effects on your health.
  2. Going on a gluten-free diet does not reduce the chances of getting cancer. Gluten can be found in wheat, triticale, and barley and is actually a source of protein. Research shows that avoiding gluten does not reduce risk of cancer whatsoever. Not consuming gluten can actually cause you to miss out on their anti-inflammatory, whole grain, cancer protective fiber.  Of course, if you are gluten intolerant or have celiac, you should avoid all gluten to maintain your health.
  3. You don’t have to eat a ton of fruits and vegetables to reduce cancer risks. Many think that in order for fruit and vegetable consumption to reduce chances of getting cancer you have to eat an impossible amount of it daily. In reality you only have to eat 5 servings a day for it to help reduce risks of getting cancer. You should aim to eat about 2 ½ cups of various fruits and vegetables. Eating a variety of different fruit and vegetables adds different phytochemicals and nutrients which may have cancer protecting qualities.
  4. You don’t have to go vegetarian. Plant rich diets are linked to lower cancer risk, but that doesn’t mean you can only eat plants. You can still eat poultry, fish, dairy, and meat –  like everything, eat those foods in moderation. A good option would be the Mediterranean diet which is plant based, and also includes smaller portions of meats, poultry, dairy, etc.

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Nutrients Combat Disease

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Everyone knows certain foods are better for you than others but what many don’t know is that certain foods can actually be medicine to fend off various diseases. Eating foods that help prevent disease is very different then taking drugs because foods are not isolated substances. Food contains vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals that work together to reduce risks of diseases. Studies have shown diets such as the Mediterranean diet are high in whole grains, fruits and vegetables and actually reduce risk of cardiovascular disease, inflammation and even some cancers. The following are some examples of foods with medicinal benefits:

Berries:

    • Blackberries cause the self destruction of colon, breast, oral, and prostate cancer and has antibacterial action
    • Blueberries are not only antioxidants but are also rich in Omega-3 and help protect the Aorta blood vessel
    • Raspberries may help to prevent the growth of cancer cells

Broccoli:

Triggers cells in the body to produce enzymes that protect against inflammation and oxidative stress which in turn is beneficial for cardiovascular health and cancer prevention

Fish:

Is rich in omega-3 fatty acids which has anti-inflammatory properties.Omega-3 fatty acids also help lower blood pressure, reduce blood clotting, reduce irregular heartbeats, and reduce risks for heart heart failure

Ginger and turmeric:

These have anti-inflammatory and pain relieving properties. Ginger may also help relieve nausea and vomiting

Nuts:

Full of good fats and fibers which are very good for cardiovascular health. They also promote health blood sugar and weight levels

Food is medicine and you should put the best in your body to improve your health!


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Foods that Help Boost Satiety

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Maintaining a healthy weight is a struggle for many people because they let themselves get to the point to where they’re starving and just go on a junk food binge because it’s the only thing they feel will satisfy them. Starving yourself is never a good idea and can actually cause you to gain weight as opposed to losing weight. If you’re looking to maintain your weight or even lose weight it is vital that you eat foods that will keep you full. Satiety-boosting foods are rich in fiber, monounsaturated fats, and protein. Such foods take longer to digest thus making you feel full for a longer period of time. Eating satiety-boosting foods can prevent a junk food binge and will keep you feeling full for a while. Processed and sugary foods may make you feel full for a little bit, and then extremely hungry later which can cause overeating. The following are some examples of satiety-boosting foods:

  • Oatmeal: Contains β-glucan which is type of soluble fiber that promotes feeling full because the body takes longer to digest fiber. The soluble fiber creates a gel in your stomach which slows down digestion. Studies show that people who eat oatmeal for breakfast ate 31% less calories than those who ate processed cereal
  • Avocado: Is high in monounsaturated fat which not only increases satiety, but is also great for cardiovascular health. Eating one-half if  an avocado with a meal may reduce hunger by 40%
  • Almonds: Are high in fiber, protein, and monounsaturated fats, a triple threat. Eating almonds do not cause weight gain because they reduce the calorie intake on your next meal/snack. Eating 1 ½ ounces of almonds a day can decrease hunger
  • Greek Yogurt: Is high in casein protein that helps slow down digestion keeping you full longer. Eating a high protein greek yogurt snack in the afternoon promotes satiety and reduces calorie intake at dinner. You should opt for plain greek yogurt to avoid added sugars

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Is Statin Use Worth the Risk?

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If you have high cholesterol, chances are your physician has prescribed or suggested using a statin drug.  Statin use is considered the most powerful medication currently available to help tame high levels of cholesterol.  High cholesterol can lead to heart attack and stroke so reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease is important.

cholesterol imageAre You at Risk for a Heart Attack and Stroke?

There are many risk factors that can be used to assess your overall risk of heart attack and stroke:

  • smoking
  • high blood pressure
  • diabetes
  • weight
  • exercise habits
  • age
  • family history
  • current cardiovascular health

Additionally, your physician may require a cholesterol blood test to see if you have elevated blood cholesterol levels.

The American College of Cardiology and American Heart Association have an assessment test that can predict your chances of having a heart attach in the next 10 years.  If you are at risk, there are several guidelines that focus on who would benefit most from statin therapy.

Four Groups of People Which Would Benefit from Statin Therapy

  1. Those people who have cardiovascular disease.  This includes people who have a) had a heart attack, b) stroke, c) mini-strokes (transient ischemic attacks), d) arm or leg artery disease or e) surgery to open or replace coronary arteries.
  2. Those people who have very high LDL cholesterol.  This includes people who have LDL cholesterol levels of 190 milligrams per deciliter or higher.
  3. Those people who have diabetes AND an LDL cholesterol of 70 mg/dl or higher.
  4. Those people with a 10 year risk of heart attack of 7.5 percent and LDL above 100 mg/dl.

Potential Side Effects of Statin Use

  1. Muscle Issues – If you are older, female or of Asian descent or have liver, kidney or muscle disease, or an under active thyroid, you may be at risk for muscle problems when using a statin.
  2. Increase in blood sugar levels that can lead to Type 2 diabetes.
  3. Elevated liver enzymes

It is important to discuss the benefits and risks with your physician.  If you decide to take a statin, your physician may look for ways to reduce future side effect risk, such as recommending blood tests for deficiencies in Vitamin D or Q10 and conducting a physical exam with additional blood testing as needed.

The easiest and most effective guidelines recommend a heart-healthy lifestyle for heart attack and stroke prevention.  It is also helpful to minimize other risk factors such as high blood pressure.  Lastly, add exercise to your healthy lifestyle and you will decrease your risk of all cardio vascular disease.

Take control of your health; test frequently to ensure your cholesterol levels are within normal range and discuss any abnormalities with your physician.

Recommended reading:

Statin Guidelines

American Heart Association – cholesterol


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There are hundreds (if not thousands!) of reasons why your healthcare provider might order blood tests for you. Abnormal hormone levels, vitamin deficiencies, diseases, and more can be diagnosed by examining different chemicals and molecules within the blood. Let’s take a look at some of the more commonly ordered blood tests.

Complete Blood Count (CBC)

This is the go-to test to analyze the three main types of cells within the blood: red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets.

Red blood cells contain a molecule called hemoglobin that carries oxygen from the lungs to the body’s tissues. A CBC shows the number of red blood cells, their size and shape, and the concentration of hemoglobin within each cell. Red blood cells can be low if a person has been losing blood or if they have anemia (low hemoglobin levels). If you are diagnosed with anemia, your doctor will then order more specific tests to determine if your anemia is the result of recent blood loss, low iron levels, or a vitamin B12 or folic acid deficiency.

The white blood cells are a key player in the body’s immune system, defending you against potentially harmful organisms. A CBC gives a total white cell count and the percentages of the different types of white cells, which can help your doctor determine what sort of infection your body is fighting (bacterial, parasitic, etc.). Additionally, leukemia, which is a cancer of bone marrow, can be diagnosed if abnormal white cells are present in the blood.

A blood platelet count in the normal range is necessary to ensure the blood clots as it should, preventing excessive blood loss from injuries or surgery. Learn more about the blood factors that help the blood clot properly. >>

test tube blood

Kidney Function Tests

The urea test (or blood urea nitrogen [BUN] test as it is sometimes known) and the creatinine test are the two most commonly order kidney function tests. These two substances are produced during the metabolic process in the body, and it is the kidneys’ job to filter them out of the blood and put them into urine to be excreted out of the body. Elevated levels of urea or creatinine in the blood suggest that the kidneys may not be working properly.

Other common kidney function tests include uric acid levels (raised levels can cause gout), electrolytes (the blood’s levels of potassium and sodium), and calcium and phosphate levels.

Liver Function Panel

The liver converts nutrients into energy for the body and breaks down dangerous toxins. A liver (hepatic) function panel is a blood test to check how well the liver is doing these vital jobs. Your doctor may order a liver function panel if you have symptoms of liver disease like abdominal pain, jaundice, dark urine, and fatigue. This test would also likely be ordered if you have recently been exposed to the hepatitis virus or if you are taking a medicine that could potentially cause liver damage.

The test measures the blood’s level of total protein, albumin, bilirubin, and liver enzymes. High or low levels could be indicative of liver damage or disease.

Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD) Blood Tests

A number of STDs (or STIs [sexually transmitted infections], as they are sometimes called) can be diagnosed by using blood tests.

  • Hepatitis: Hepatitis is not always transmitted sexually, so the antibody and antigen testing can be included in the STD tests as well as with Liver Function Tests.
  • Herpes:  Antibodies for this virus can be measured to assess a past or present herpes simplex infection.
  • Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV):  The screening test looks for the presence of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus antibody. It can take time for the body to produce HIV antibodies (up to 6 months after infection), so they may not be detectable early on in an infection. This is why a repeat test may be needed some time after potential exposure.
  • Syphilis: Syphilis has an incubation period of between 9 days and 3 months (the average is 21 days). This test looks for antibodies, which are usually at detectable levels by 6 weeks post-infection. If positive, your doctor will likely recommend a repeat or different test for confirmation.

Thyroid Function Tests

The thyroid gland regulates metabolism in the body. Your doctor may order a thyroid panel if you have symptoms of low thyroid hormone production (hypothyroidism) or high thyroid hormone levels (hyperthyroidism). Sometimes just the TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) test will be ordered as it can often rule out a thyroid problem. Learn more about how thyroid problems can affect people as they age. >>

Two websites to take advantage of our discount online blood testing:

Learn more about these and other value-priced blood tests available through HealthOne by using our convenient search feature. >>

Learn more about these and other value-priced blood tests available through InquireLabs by using our convenient search feature. >>

 


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It is rather amazing that a gland as small as the thyroid (which is located in your neck and is shaped like a butterfly) can have such an enormous impact on your health and overall well-being. Throughout life, this “master gland” is constantly producing hormones that influence metabolism, which in turn impacts everything from your heartbeat to your vision to the regularity of your bowels.

Thyroid conditions affect more than 12 percent of the U.S. population; that’s over 20 million Americans. But up to 60 percent of those people do not realize they are suffering from thyroid problems. That’s because the symptoms of both hyperthyroidism (thyroid hormone levels that are too high) and hypothyroidism (when levels are too low) are easily confused with other conditions ranging from depression to stress to simply overeating.

As people age, our bodies do experience normal age-related changes, and it’s easy to discount problems by saying, “I’m just getting older” or “That’s normal for my age,” but are you actually suffering from symptoms that could be the result of hypothyroidism, or an under-active thyroid? Hypothyroidism is not an issue isolated to younger adults! Have you considered that symptoms like fatigue, depression, weight gain, constipation, and dry skin could actually be caused by low thyroid levels in your body?

While these symptoms could be easily attributed to other medical problems, in older people, signs of hypothyroidism can be even more confusing. In people over 60, any of the following health issues–alone or in combination–could be the result of hypothyroidism, or low thyroid hormone levels:

  • Unexplained high cholesterol–In older adults, high cholesterol is occasionally the only sign of an under-active thyroid. Even if this is the only symptom, a high cholesterol level warrants a thyroid evaluation.
  • Heart failure–Some of the effects of low thyroid hormone levels– including reduced blood volume, weaker heartbeat, and/or a slower heart rate– may contribute to heart failure, a condition in which the heart doesn’t pump blood effectively to the muscles and organs of the body. Symptoms of heart failure can include breathlessness, swelling in the ankles, weakness, and fatigue.
  • Changes in bowel movements–Hypothyroidism can cause constipation because of decreased movement of stool through the bowels. Less often, an older person will have frequent bouts of diarrhea, which is more often a symptom of an overactive thyroid. Persistent or severe diarrhea in an older person merits a call to the doctor and a thyroid blood panel.
  • Joint or muscle pain–Vague joint pain is a classic symptom of hypothyroidism. In fact, it sometimes is the only symptom of hypothyroidism in older patients, although many experience generalized muscle aches, particularly in large muscle groups.
  • Mental health concerns–In people of all age groups, depression is a common clue of an underactive thyroid. The difference is that in older people, it is sometimes the only symptom. Older people may also develop other psychiatric symptoms such as delusions or hallucinations.
  • Dementia–Extensive memory loss– often, but not always, accompanied by depression or some kind of psychosis–can also occur as the singular symptom of an under-active thyroid. If you or a loved one is being evaluated for dementia, be sure that thyroid tests are performed.
  • Problems with balance–Abnormalities in the cerebellum (the lobe at the back of the brain) that occur with an under-active thyroid can lead to gait disorders in older people.

If you or someone you love is experiencing any of these symptoms, it is critical that you have your thyroid levels tested. Treatment of low thyroid is simple once an accurate diagnosis is made–a small pill that is taken each morning to supplement the hormone being naturally produced by your body. Talk with your doctor today to determine if you might have an under-active thyroid, and then learn more about our low-cost thyroid blood panels at www.HealthOnelabs.com or www.InquireLabs.com.


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Why Should I Get a Cholesterol Lipid Test?

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One of the major causes of natural death in the United States is heart attack and it is believed that about half a million Americans succumb to the disease ever year. This number can easily be reduced if an individual takes proper care of their health. Apart from a regular stint at exercising and strict diet control, it is mandatory that the person check his cholesterol frequently.  A Cholesterol lipid panel will help a person check his cholesterol and help him retain normalcy. When the level of cholesterol in the blood increases, chances are the person is a good candidate for heart attack. Apart from high cholesterol, other causes too can contribute:

  • Genetic factors
  • Age
  • Stress
  • Diabetes
  • Smoking
  • Heavy bouts of drinking
  • Obesity

 What is Cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a soft wax-life fatty substance produced mainly in the liver.  There are two kinds of cholesterol – High-Density Lipoprotein (HDL) and Low-Density Lipoprotein (LDL). Cholesterol also contains Triglycerides and this is responsible for giving energy to a person’s body. The body has the capability to produce the energy needed by a person; complemented by the food he consumes. Once the food is eaten by a person it is converted into energy, the rest of it is stored in the body for later use.

cholesterol in blood vessel resized 600

 

Cholesterol is found in every cell in a person’s body in the form of lipoproteins. High-Density Lipoprotein, or HDL, as it is fondly called, is good for the body as it is responsible for removing the blocks in the arteries and taking the cholesterol back to the liver. Low-Density Lipoprotein, or LDL, on the other hand is considered bad cholesterol because it has the tendency to clog the arteries. However, minuscule amounts are necessary because a person’s body needs a certain amount of cholesterol.

Cholesterol levels

Too much cholesterol will lead to a condition called atherosclerosis (thickening of arteries and later, when the plaque in the arteries rupture clotting of blood too) and this will eventually lead to heart attacks. In order to control this from happening, a person should check his cholesterol, HDL, LDL, Triglycerides through cholesterol lipid panel. The total cholesterol must never go beyond 200mg/DL. HDL should be maintained at 40 or 50mg/DL and LDL at a range of 70-130 mg/DL.

A cholesterol lipid panel test is actually a blood test that measures cholesterol levels and should be taken after 12 hours of fasting.
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 Medical Disclaimer:  The information included on this site is for informational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult his or her health care provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan.  The writer is not a physician or other health provider.

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If you want to take control of your health, save money and get answers quickly, know that you can order your own blood laboratory test via the service on the internet.  Discount blood tests are available to consumers nationwide.

 

blood tests tube image resized 600

Perhaps you have some symptoms or maybe you just want to test for asymptomatic diseases.  Typcially, you would make an appointment with your doctor, wait in the waiting room, then the examining room, get a perscription for some blood tests and finally going to the patient service center to have your blood drawn.  Next you would wait for the physician’s office to call you with the results, then set up another appointment to discuss them with your doctor.  This process could take days or weeks!

Many people are cutting out the medical middlepersons and ordering their own lab work.  Go to www.HealthOneLabs.com, choose the tests you would like and utilize the secure, HIPPA compliant website and shopping cart.  The process takes less than 5 minutes to order and within a small amount of time you’ll receive the paperwork to take to the lab and have your blood drawn.  Most test results are ready the next day, so you can view your patient-friendly results and schedule a physician’s appointment to discuss them with your doctor; avoiding two appointments, time and money.  Tests prices are much lower since Health One is passing on their volumn discount to their customer.  At this time, insurance is not accepted but since most of the popular tests are only $29-$89, prices are typically lower than what an insured would pay for their co-pay.

Most Popular Tests:

  1. Comprehensive Health Profile – $59 – includes lipid panel, CBC, liver function, kidney function, glucose and more
  2. Men’s Health Value Package – $89 – includes lipids, CBC, liver function, kidney function, glucose, PSA, Urinalysis and more
  3. Women’s Health Value Package – $89 – includes lipids, CBC, liver function, kidney function, glucose, Thyroid panel, Urinalysis and more

 

Take Control of Your Health

Medical Disclaimer: The information included on this site is for informational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult his or her health care provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan. The writer is not a physician or other health provider.


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A recent study, published in the American Heart Association Journal, Stroke, studied Japanese men and women and reported that both coffee and green tea can help cut the risk of suffering a stroke.

The research discovered that the more green tea a person drank, the more it reduced the risk of suffering a stroke.  The study showed an almost 20% lower risk of stroke in green tea drinkers versus those that did not or rarely drank green tea.  Similarly, coffee drinkers only needed one cup per day to receive the same 20% decrease in the risk of stroke during the 13 year follow-up period.

tea benefits

What is the Science?

Green tea contains compounds called catechins.  Catechins are known to regulate blood pressure and improve blood flow through an anti-inflammatory response.  Likewise, coffee has caffeine and quinides compounds that affect our health positively although through a different mechanism.

Note that many of these studies that refer to tea and coffee as good dietary practices do not include those drinks that are laden with fat and sugar.  There has been an increase in both tea and coffee consumption, but those extra large lattes and teas can contain high amounts of fat and sugar when cream, milk and sugar are included.  The US Department of Agriculture’s Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion states that a 6-ounce cup of black coffee contains just 7 calories. Add some half & half and you’ll get 46 calories. If you flavor a liquid nondairy creamer, that will set you back 48 calories. A teaspoon of sugar will add about 23 calories.

Regular coffee, sans the heavy cream & sugar has been linked to a range of benefits that reduced the risk of Type 2 diabetes and to have a protective effect against Parkinson’s disease.

Be cautioned:  drinking coffee and tea is not cause and effect as there may be other lifestyle habits amongst java and tea drinkers that lead to reduced risk of disease.  So if you currently drink a cup ‘o joe or have some tea, there’s no need to stop.  If you don’t, maybe enlist a friend for some tea, that is, after you do your exercise and eat your healthy meal.

Take Control of Your Health

Medical Disclaimer: The information included on this site is for informational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult his or her health care provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan. The writer is not a physician or other health provider.


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