Archive for the ‘liver’ Category

Post nasal drip or acid reflux?

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Postnasal drip or acid reflux?

Mucus is constantly being produced by the body because it helps trap germs, so the mucus is also constantly dripping down the back of your throat. Post nasal drip, often referred to as upper airway cough syndrome (UACS), happens when uncommonly thick or thin mucus that drips down the back of your throat, and this sensation will usually cause you to clear your throat. It is also often accompanied by a chronic cough.

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Some people have Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) where the stomach acid is regurgitated through the esophagus and can cause health issues. GERD can cause a similar sensation to that of post nasal drip because there is a liquid going through the back of your throat. You can differentiate post nasal drip from acid reflux from the burning sensation you feel in the back of your throat, or heartburn when you experience acid reflux. Post nasal drip can be caused by allergies or colds, while acid reflux is caused by trigger foods like spicy foods, soda, or chocolate. It is important to know if you are experiencing post nasal drip or acid reflux so that you can treat it properly.  If you are unable to determine whether you are experiencing acid reflux or post nasal drip, please speak to a physician so that he can provide the correct medication for what you are experiencing.


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What is Cortisol?

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What is Cortisol?

Cortisol is a hormone that is released when your body is under stress, which is why it is often referred to as the “stress hormone”. Having knowledge of how this hormone can affect your body is crucial when trying to balance your hormones, which in turn can help you achieve better health. Cortisol is created in the adrenal glands and the release of this hormone is controlled by the hypothalamus, pituitary gland, and adrenal gland. Most of the cells in the body have cortisol receptors, thus the secretion of it can affect many functions in your body. A few examples of functions cortisol effects are:order online lab tests

  • regulating metabolism,
  • reducing bodily inflammation,
  • controlling blood sugar levels, and
  • helping the creation of memories.

High cortisol levels can be caused by Cushing syndrome, which is tumors on the pituitary or adrenal glands. People who have Cushing syndrome can experience weight gain in the abdomen, chest, and face, as well as high blood pressure, skin changes, osteoporosis, mood swings, and flushed face. High cortisol levels that aren’t caused by Cushing syndrome can cause anxiety and depression and in women a change in libido and menstrual cycle. On the other hand, however, low cortisol levels can also have some negative effects on the body. Low levels of cortisol can cause primary adrenal insufficiency or Addison disease. Symptoms include weight loss, skin changes, fatigue, and mood swings. Addison disease can damage adrenal glands.

Cortisol levels are crucial for many bodily functions, which is why it’s important to make sure your levels of cortisol are regular. You can order your own cortisol blood test to check your levels here.

 


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What is the Best Non-Dairy Milk?

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What is the Best Non-Dairy Milk?

In recent years more and more people have traded cow’s milk for non-dairy milk options. There are so many different kinds of non-dairy milk including almond, soy, oat, cashew, hemp, and coconut that it can be overwhelming to decide which is the best option for you. The following is a list of a few different non-dairy kinds of milk, the health benefits they offer, and a brief description of their taste so that you can decide what might be the best option for you:

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  • Almond milk

    This is probably one of the most popular options among non-dairy milk, it has a very smooth consistency and a mellow taste. Of course, this varies among different brands and different flavors of almond milk. One of the most attractive features of almond milk is that it is quite low in calories, at about 40 calories per cup. However, this also means that it is low in protein, with only 1 gram per cup. When deciding on what almond milk to get, you should watch out for the carrageenan in it. Carrageenan is extracted from purple and red seaweed and is used a thickening agent in foods. Carrageenans can cause bloating, inflammation, and irritable bowel syndrome, so it is important that you choose almond milk that is carrageenan free.

  • Coconut milk

    Don’t get this confused with coconut water, coconut milk is made by grinding the meat from coconuts with water, and then squeezing the pulp. It has a sweet nutty flavor with a viscous consistency. It has an average of 50 calories per cup, 1 gram of protein per cup, and 5 grams of saturated fat per cup. When choosing coconut milk you should look for one that has no emulsifiers. Emulsifiers are food additives that help stabilize processed foods and can cause side effects like fatigue, pain, tissue damage, and chronic inflammation.

  • Oat milk

    This type of non-dairy milk is becoming increasingly popular with a mild taste, a thick consistency similar to cow’s milk, and is slightly sweet. This is a higher calorie non-dairy milk option with 130 calories per cup, 2 grams of fiber per cup, and 4 grams of protein per cup. Many oat kinds of milk are made using canola oil, so if this is something you’d like to avoid you can always make your own oat milk at home!


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What is the Pancreas?

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What is the Pancreas?

The pancreas is a large gland behind the stomach and close to the duodenum, the very first part of the small intestine. It is responsible for secreting enzymes into the duodenum through a tube called the pancreatic duct. Pancreatic enzymes join with a liquid produced in the liver, bile, and stores it in the gallbladder to digest food. The pancreas also releases the hormones insulin and glucagon into the bloodstream, which helps the body regulate the glucose it takes from food for energy. Pancreatitis occurs when the pancreas becomes inflamed. With pancreatitis, sometimes the enzymes become activated and begin to digest the pancreas itself. Treatment can be very painful and requires hospitalization most of the time. online lab tests If it’s not caught early, it can turn into a life-threatening illness. The most common cause of acute pancreatitis is the presence of gallstones which are small, stone-like substances made of hardened bile that can cause inflammation in the pancreas as they pass through the common bile duct.  Heavy alcohol consumption is another common cause.  Acute pancreatitis can occur within hours or as long as 2 days after consuming alcohol. Other causes of acute pancreatitis include abdominal trauma, medications, infections, tumors, and genetic abnormalities of the pancreas. Researchers studied the problem of pancreatitis and learned that eating vegetables can lower the risk of developing pancreatitis.   The study found that people who ate at least four servings of vegetables a day lowered their risk of developing pancreatitis by 44 percent compared to people who seldom ate vegetables. The following are a few ways that may help prevent pancreatitis:

  1. Limit your intake of alcohol.
  2. Keep your triglycerides in a healthy range (less than 150 mg/dL).  Triglycerides are included as part of the Lipid (Cholesterol) Panel.
  3. Eat four or more servings of vegetables each day.

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Should you be taking probiotic supplements?

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Should you be taking probiotic supplements?

Probiotic supplements are becoming more and more popular among consumers, as many of them claim they promote digestive balance, help one to lose weight, and boost the immune system. Those claims all sound great, however, there is not enough evidence to support them. The Food and Drug   Administration often referred to as the FDA loosely regulates the companies creating these probiotic supplements so they can imply all the claims mentioned previously without any consequences. For example, the probiotic companies can’t say that these supplements will treat diabetes Diabetes and Eye Health, but they can rephrase and say something like “promotes healthy blood sugar levels”. online blood testsThis can be very confusing for a consumer, and one might buy and take these supplements thinking it will lower their blood sugar levels when there is no real evidence to back up the statement. The most common misconception about probiotics supplements is that they colonize in your gut and become part of your microbiome, but there is not enough research to prove this is true. Most research indicates that probiotics just pass by, which may have some benefits for your microbiome. Many doctors do prescribe probiotics as different strains have been found to help with different things, such as Clostridium difficile, which is an infection that causes inflammation of the color and diarrhea. If you are thinking about taking probiotic supplements, speak to your physician first to see if this an option for you, and if so, the right probiotic strain you should take.


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Should You be Eating More Fermented Foods?

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Should You be Eating More Fermented Foods?

           Fermented foods have many health benefits and you might want to start incorporating them in your diet. Fermented foods are foods that have been through the fermentation process, which is the process of transforming carbs into alcohol or organic acids by using yeast or bacteria. Not only does this process help to preserve the food, but it also creates strains of probiotics, enzymes, B-vitamins, and Omega-3 fatty acids.

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These probiotic-rich foods break the food down to a form that is easier to digest, which is why one of the health benefits of fermented foods is improved digestion. Probiotics are also great for your gut health, which is linked to cognitive function and maintaining the healthy weight. A few other benefits of consuming fermented foods is that it helps you absorb food better, boosts the immune system, and can help treat irritable bowel disease (IBD). A few examples of fermented foods are kombucha, kimchi, kefir, sauerkraut, tempeh, miso, probiotic yogurt, and natto. Many of these fermented foods can be made at home, so they are also budget-friendly and can be made to your liking. If you are having problems with your digestion, or just want to boost your overall health Importance of Zinc for your health, you may want to start incorporating some of these fermented foods in your diet.


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Importance of Zinc for your health

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Importance of Zinc for your health:

Zinc is one of the most important minerals necessary for your overall health. Zinc has many functions in your body such as helping break down carbohydrates, immune system, wound healing, cell growth, and cell division. Research has found that taking a zinc supplement may reduce your chances of getting the common cold, or can make the symptoms of your cold less severe. There is conflicting research on this so be sure to discuss any supplements with your physician.

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You can get a good source of zinc by consuming certain foods like lamb, beef, pork, whole grains, nuts, yeast, and legumes. Diets that are high in animal protein tend to be high in zinc since animal protein is more available for use in the body than plant protein. You can also opt for a zinc supplement like zinc acetate, zinc sulfate, or zinc gluconate. Some symptoms of zinc deficiency include slow growth, hair loss, suffering from frequent infections, skin sores, the long wound healing process, and poor appetite. If you believe you have a zinc deficiency, speak to your physician about possibly taking a supplement or making some changes to your diet. You can check your zinc levels with a zinc blood lab test.


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Why it is important to check your Hemoglobin A1C levels if you are a diabetic:

If you are diabetic, you know that it is crucial to maintain and test your blood sugar levels daily. However, you may not have known that it is also very important to check your hemoglobin levels as well. Hemoglobin is a red protein that transports oxygen in the vertebrates. One of the types of hemoglobin is called hemoglobin A (HbA), and hemoglobin A1c is a subtype of HbA. Molecules of glucose (sugar) in the blood bind to hemoglobin A1c and stay bound to it for months. Therefore, the higher amount of blood glucose means a higher amount of hemoglobin A1c, and by measuring its value, you can get your average blood sugar level during the past 8 to 12 weeks. The hemoglobin A1c test is commonly used to diagnose type 1 and type 2 diabetes because it measures average blood glucose levels over a period of two to three months. After being diagnosed, the A1c test is then used to measure how well you are managing your diabetes.online lab tests This test can also go by other names such as glycated hemoglobin, glycosylated hemoglobin, hemoglobin A1c, and HbA1c, but no matter what you call it, the results will show a high A1c level, then your blood sugar is not well-control ed. If you have already been diagnosed with diabetes, if you are not managing your blood sugar, then there will be a higher risk of diabetes-related complications including kidney failure, vision problems, and leg or foot numbness. Conversely, the lower your A1c level, the lower your risk for diabetic complications. The A1c test is referred to as the “gold standard” for evaluating the risk of damage to tissues caused by high blood sugar levels. This is why it is one of the most useful tools to determine how effectively your diet and your diabetes medication are regulating your blood sugar. In turn, it can also help your doctor determine whether your medication needs to be adjusted. If you are diabetic and would like to have better insight into your blood sugar levels, get a hemoglobin A1c test. Please discuss your test results with your physician.  If you have diabetes, be mindful of your blood sugar levels because it can reduce your risk for long-term health problems, like eye, heart, and kidney problems, and even stroke.

 


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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. >>

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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. >>

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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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The CDC  made a recommendation that all baby boomers receive Hepatitis C testing*.

In the US, it is estimated that 1-1.5% are living with hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. People born during 1945–1965 account for approximately three fourths of all chronic HCV infections among adults in the US. There are effective treatments available for HCV, but most people do not know they are infected and therefore do not receive the necessary care.

As recommended by the CDC:

  • Adults born during 1945–1965 should receive one-time testing for HCV without prior ascertainment of HCV risk (Strong Recommendation, Moderate Quality of Evidence),
  • All persons identified with HCV infection should receive a brief alcohol screening and intervention as clinically indicated, followed by referral to appropriate care and treatment services for HCV infection and related conditions (Strong Recommendation, Moderate Quality of Evidence).

HCV testing is the first step toward improving health outcomes for persons infected with HCV.

liverCauses and risk factors

 People who may be at risk for hepatitis C are those who:

  • Have been on long-term kidney dialysis
  • Have regular contact with blood at work, such as health care workers
  • Have unprotected sexual contact with a person who has hepatitis C (this risk is much less common than hepatitis B, but the risk is higher for those who have many sex partners, already have a sexually transmitted disease, or are infected with HIV)
  • Inject street drugs or share a needle with someone who has hepatitis C
  • Received a blood transfusion before July 1992
  • Received a tattoo or acupuncture with contaminated instruments
  • Received blood, blood products, or solid organs from a donor who has hepatitis C
  • Share personal items such as toothbrushes and razors with someone who has hepatitis C (less common)
  • Were born to a hepatitis C-infected mother (this occurs in about 1 out of 20 babies born to mothers with HCV, which is much less common than with hepatitis B)

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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