Archive for the ‘urinalysis’ Category

Importance of Zinc for your health

Posted on:

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.

order online lab tests

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.


Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail
twittergoogle_pluslinkedinrssyoutube

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.

 


Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail
twittergoogle_pluslinkedinrssyoutube

PSA Blood Test Overview

Posted on:

The Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) is produced by the prostate.  A simple blood test measures the amount of PSA and high levels may suggest the presence of prostate cancer. If you are a male, have an average risk of prostate cancer, and are over 40 years old, you should get a PSA blood test.  According to the American Urology Association, the following is a general schedule for when you should get tested– please note you should discuss this testing with your physician for individualized consultation:online blood tests

  • Under age 40: PSA screening is not recommended
  • Ages 40-54 and at average risk: Routine PSA screening is not recommended (note: this decision has been debated by physicians so check with your health care provider)
  • Under age 55 at higher risk (family history or African American): The decision should be discussed with your physician as to the frequency of this test.
  • Ages 55-59: This age group tends to get the most benefit from having a PSA blood test done.  Routine screening is recommended every two years.
  • Ages 70+: Routine PSA screening is not recommended although some men over the age of 70 may benefit from prostate cancer screenings.online lab tests

Because prostate cancer is the number two cancer killer of men, there is nothing wrong with having a PSA test if you are concerned or if your physician recommends having this test. You can order a PSA blood test here.


Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail
twittergoogle_pluslinkedinrssyoutube

How Stress Can Affect Your Brain

Posted on:

When under a lot of stress How Stress can Affect your Health, you may be very forgetful and disorganized, but have you ever wondered if there are any long-term effects of stress on your brain? When under stress the amygdala, which is responsible for your survival instincts, is most active which means that the parts of your brain responsible for memory and higher order tasks are not as active. When under chronic stress, the parts of your brain responsible for your survival instincts becomes stronger, while other parts of your brain responsible for things like handling higher-order tasks becomes weaker. Essentially, chronic stress rewires your brain affecting your memory and ability to handle higher order tasks. There are many things you can try to reduce your stress.

The following is a list of things you could do to manage your stress:

Stress can effect your brain

  • Become more organized. Try creating to-do lists for your workload, so that you don’t procrastinate and become overwhelmed.
  • Create a routine for yourself. If the stress you experience is not predictable, try to focus on keeping control over the things that are predictable in your life
  • Change the way you view stress. A certain amount of stress can actually be useful for growth, so instead of striving to eliminate stress from your life altogether, aim to find healthier reactions to stress
  • Get enough sleep How to get better sleep. Stress can cause sleep deprivation, which actually makes stress worse. It is important to establish healthy sleeping habits.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail
twittergoogle_pluslinkedinrssyoutube

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.


Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail
twittergoogle_pluslinkedinrssyoutube

A Microalbumin urine test is used to detect very small amounts of albumin in urine. Albumin is a blood protein and is used to detect early signs of kidney damage.  This test is typically ordered by those that have chronic conditions that can adversely affect the kidneys:  diabetics (both Type 1 and Type 2) and those with high blood pressure.

kidney awareness Kidneys – Your Body’s Filter

When kidneys are functioning properly, they will filter the waste from your blood. Albumin is present in the blood and there is virtually no albumin present in urine.  If the kidneys stop functioning correctly due to disease, they lose their ability to filter properly and albumin will appear in the urine.  Having albumin protein in the urine reflects increasing kidney failure due to poor filtering capability and you should immediately discuss this with your physician.
Having albumin in the urine indicates issues with the kidney, but research shows that people are also at increased risk for cardiovascular disease.

The National Kidney Foundation recommends that the microalbumin urine test should be taken each year for diabetics between the ages 12 and 70.  Additionally, the American Diabetes association advises that this test should be conducted annually for both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes.

If any amounts of albumin are discovered in the urine:

  1. contact your physician
  2. re-test to verify detection of albumin

Those with hypertension should have a microalbumin test at regular intervals as recommended by their physician.
This test is offered by www.HealthOneLab.com by itself or as part of the diabetes test package which includes important tests for all diabetics:

  1. The Hemoglobin A1c test tests for long term glucose levels. Molecules of glucose (sugar) in the blood bind to this fraction of hemoglobin, and stay bound to it for months. The higher the amount of blood glucose, the higher the amount of hemoglobin A1c, and according to its value, one can obtain the average blood sugar during the previous 8 to 12 weeks. The test indicates how well your diabetes has been controlled in the 2 to 3 months before the test. Information gained from this test can help determine whether your diabetes medication needs to be adjusted. It can also help your health professional estimate your risk of developing complications from diabetes, such as kidney failure, vision problems, and leg or foot numbness. The A1c level is directly related to complications from diabetes: the lower your A1c level, the lower your risk for complications.
  2. Microalbumin, Random Urine A microalbumin test checks urine for the presence of a protein called albumin. Albumin is normally found in the blood and filtered by the kidneys. When the kidneys are working properly, albumin is not present in the urine. But when the kidneys are damaged, small amounts of albumin leak into the urine. This condition is called microalbuminuria.
  3. The Comprehensive Health Profile has been our most ordered lab test for 30 years. The profile screens for cardiovascular risk, major organ function, anemia, diabetes, infection, blood disease, and other indications of illness. This is the blood test routinely ordered as part of an annual physical exam and it includes the components of a Comprehensive Metabolic Panel.

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.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail
twittergoogle_pluslinkedinrssyoutube

What is Your Lifetime Risk for Diabetes?

Posted on:

Diabetes is a serious and costly disease which has increased 40 percent in the last 10 years. Based on research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), new estimates suggest that as many as one in three people born recently will develop diabetes in their lifetime.

Here are the estimates for people born after 2000:

• Men, 32.8% will develop diabetes in their lifetime
• Women, 38.5%
• Hispanic males, 45.4%
• Hispanic females, 52.5%

The odds of being diagnosed with diabetes is high and the complications of diabetes are serious:

  • coronary heart disease,
  • kidney failure,
  • blindness,
  • increased risk of cancer, infections, and dementia.

The CDC implemented a Diabetes Prevention Program that took a large group of people who were already pre-diabetics and put them on a lifestyle change program for one year. This included a healthy eating plan (lower calories and saturated fat, and a higher fiber intake), plus 150 minutes of exercise weekly. On this program they lost five to seven percent of their body weight. They also reduced their risk of developing diabetes by 58 percent compared to a control group that made no changes.

important diabetes tests

The Harvard University Nurses’ Health Study found that about nine out of 10 cases of diabetes could be avoided by taking these seven simple steps:

  1. Control your weight. Being overweight increases your risk of diabetes sevenfold. Losing just 10 to 15 pounds (if you’re overweight) can significantly reduce your chances of getting diabetes.
  2. Be more physically active. Limit TV viewing and other sedentary pursuits. Harvard found that walking briskly for even 30 minutes daily cut the risk of type-2 diabetes by 30 percent, even without weight loss. They also found that for every two hours of TV a person watched daily, the risk of diabetes increased by 20 percent. By choosing more active leisure time activities you greatly improve your health. Try riding a stationary bike when watching your favorite TV program.
  3. Choose whole grains over white bread and other refined grains. When Harvard combined the research from both the Nurses’ Health Study and the men’s Health Professional Follow-up Study (a total of 160,000 people) they found that those who chose more whole grains (at least two to three servings daily) were 30 percent less likely to develop type-2 diabetes during the 18-year study compared to those who ate primarily white bread, white rice, and other refined cereals.
  4. Skip sugary drinks. Sugar is a high glycemic food that causes the blood sugar to rise rapidly. French fries, white bread, white rice, and refined grains were all linked to higher risks of developing diabetes. For example, in the Nurses’ Health Study, women who had one or more sugar-sweetened drink daily had an 83 percent higher risk of developing type-2 diabetes compared to women who seldom drank sugar-sweetened beverages. Go for water instead of a soft drink.
  5. Choose good fats. Harvard found that as saturated fat went up in the diet, so did the risk of diabetes. On the other hand, those who chose healthy polyunsaturated fats found in liquid vegetable oils, nuts, nut butters, and seeds actually had a lower risk of developing diabetes. Be sure to avoid all trans fats. These very unhealthy fats are found in many solid margarines, packaged baked goods, fried foods in most fast-food restaurants, and any products that list “partially hydrogenated vegetable oil” on the label.
  6. Limit red meat and avoid processed meat. Red meat and other foods high in cholesterol raise the risk of type-2 diabetes. In a study of over 440,00 people, Harvard found that eating just three ounces of red meat daily (a serving about the size of a deck of cards) raised the risk of type-2 diabetes by 20 percent. Eating processed meats had an even greater risk. Eating just two slices of bacon, or one hot dog daily raised the risk of diabetes by 51 percent. In the Adventist Health Study that including nearly 90,000 people, researchers found that those who ate a healthy, plant-based diet had only one-fourth the prevalence of diabetes compared to those who ate meat regularly.
  7. If you smoke, quit. Smoking significantly increases the risk of developing diabetes.

You can help prevent diabetes or minimize the complications of this disease. Here’s how: Stay lean and be active. Choose healthy meals that are low in saturated fat and cholesterol. Make it a goal to eat more whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. And choose foods that are low in sugar and other refined carbohydrates.

Sources:
The Journal of the American Medical Association; 290(14):1884-1890.
National Diabetes Prevention Program. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Wellsource Newsletter, February 2012
Simple Steps to Preventing Diabetes. Nutrition Source, Harvard School of Public Health.

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.


Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail
twittergoogle_pluslinkedinrssyoutube

If you are pre-diabetic or diabetic, you are probably checking your blood glucose levels and watching your diet.  Some have added an exercise routine and these actions are all part of the overall program to keep your blood sugar in check.  It is also recommended to take additional routine tests since diabetics have a higher incidence of secondary health issues that should be addressed early:

  1. blood pressure
  2. foot exam
  3. Hemoglobin A1c blood test
  4. urine microalbumin test
  5. cholesterol tests
  6. eye dilation exam

diabetes tests

Blood Pressure

If you have diabetes, the risk of developing high blood pressure doubles.  The latest recommendations are systolic and diastolic values under 120/80.  Interestingly, a nurse said there is no such thing as “White Coat” symptoms : when a patient has unusually high blood pressure while getting measured by a health professional.  She indicated that if a person has high blood pressure they have high blood pressure no matter who is taking their vital signs.  If you are unsure, invest in a home blood pressure monitor and track your blood pressure.  Take these readings to your physician to determine if additional diet, exercise or medication needs to be adjusted.

Check Your Feet

A diabetic’s foot is very sensitive.  Do a self check to ensure there are no pressure sores, cuts or ingrown toenails that can ultimately lead to infections and gangrene.  Infections can lead to amputation.  Doctors recommend you do a self exam daily.

Average Blood Sugar – Hemoglobin A1c

This test measures how well you are managing your blood sugar levels over the last two or three months.  Order a Hemoglobin A1c test every 3 months to see if your protocol for blood sugar management is indeed working or if it needs adjustment.

Urine Microalbumin Test

This urine test measures the amount of albumin, a certain type of protein in your urine.  Abnormal ranges of albumin may indicate kidney damage.  It is recommended to order a urine microalbumin test once a year.

Lipid Profile Test

Lipids are the fats in your blood and this test will measure cholesterol, triglycerides, high density lipoproteins and low density lipoproteins and determine if they are within the recommended ranges.  It is recommended that you order a lipid panel test every 6 months.

Dilated Eye Exam

If you have diabetes, your ophthalmologist or optometrist should perform a dilated eye exam to check for signs of diabetic retinopathy.  It is recommended that you conduct this test annually.

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.


Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail
twittergoogle_pluslinkedinrssyoutube

It’s hard to believe that almost 1.5 million people per year have to be hospitalized for a urinary tract infection (UTI).   Women are the most susceptible to UTIs due to female anatomy.  UTIs are typically limited to the bladder which leaves the patient with pain.  Serious consequences occur when the UTI spreads to the kidneys; hence it is important to get care as soon as possible.

What causes UTI

Almost everyone has some risk of getting a UTI but some people are more prone to getting UTIs than others:

  • Anyone with an abnormality of the urinary tract that obstructs the flow of urine such as a a kidney stone or enlarged prostate
  • People with diabetes or problems with the body’s natural defense system
  • Sexual activity that can move microbes from the bowel or vaginal cavity to the urethral opening.
  • Use of catheters, or tubes, placed in the urethra and bladder. Catheters interfere with the body’s ability to clear microbes from the urinary tract.
  • People with spinal cord injuries or other nerve damage near the bladder may have a difficult time emptying their bladder completely and bacteria can grow and stay in the bladder.

medusa symbol resized 600

How are UTIs diagnosed?

Typically, your health provider will ask about your urinary symptoms and then they will test a sample of urine to see if bacteria is present and to see if white blood cells are present.  If white blood cells are present it is because they are being produced to fight infection. Bacteria can be found in the urine of healthy individuals also, so a UTI is diagnosed by symptoms and laboratory tests.  The person will be asked to give a “clean catch” urine sample by washing the genital area and collecting a “midstream” sample of urine in a sterile container. This method of collecting urine helps prevent bacteria around the genital area from getting into the sample and confusing the test results.  Those people who have recurring infections may need to have the urine cultured.  The urine sample is put in a dish and the bacteria is encouraged to grow.  This assists with identifying the type of bacteria and may help determine the appropriate antibiotics to treat the infection.

How are UTIs treated?

Most UTIs are caused by bacteria so the treatment of choice is antibiotics or antimicrobials.   Which type of medication and the length of taking the medication is dependent on the type of bacteria, patient history and other causes of infection.

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.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail
twittergoogle_pluslinkedinrssyoutube

Urinalysis is examination of the urine by a physician, nurse or lab personnel.  Chemical and microscopic examination of urine is a simple way to determine a large variety of conditions.
testing urine image resized 600

First, the color and clarity are noted.  Ideally urine should be pale yellow and clear.  Darker urine can indicate more concentrated urine and is seen in dehydration.  Usually, this is due to the fact that many people do not drink enough water.  Brownish reddish urine can be a sign of kidney or liver function.

After initial examination, urinalysis consists of assaying the urine’s chemistry.   This consists of testing for the presence of glucose, protein, bilirubin ( a by-product of liver function), pH, ketones, white blood cells and red blood cells.  The presence of glucose is indicative of diabetes, as is the presence of ketones, although ketones in the urine can indicate dehydration, as well.

Microscopic examination of the urine usually follows.  This part of the urinalysis consists of taking a drop of urine on a slide and noting what is present.  Epithelial cells are commonly found, bacteria may be present, red and white blood cells may be present as well as an occasional sperm or crystal.

The presence of red and white blood cells can indicate a urinary tract infection.  If urinary tract infection is possible, the doctor may order a urine culture to determine the cause of the infection and the best antibiotic to treat it.   In kidney disease, casts can be seen. These are rod shaped tubules discarded in the urine if kidney function is declining.

Uric acid, calcium oxalate or triple phosphate microscopic crystals can be seen in gout, kidney stones, or dietary means.  They can be significant or not clinically significant depending on the patient’s overall condition.

Urinalysis has long been used by doctors to assist of many conditions. It is probably the oldest laboratory test, but still vital in diagnosing disease.

Other Urine Tests

  • A qualitative test for pregnancy can be performed on urine.  Qualitative means that it will only detect the presence or absence of the human chorionic gonadotropin, (HCG). Quantitative levels can be determined in blood serum to determine the actual level of HCG, which helps determine how far along a pregnancy is.
  • Drug screening can also be done on urine.
  • The STDs, Trichomonas, Chlamydia & Gonorrhea, can be seen and identified in urine, as well.

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.


Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail
twittergoogle_pluslinkedinrssyoutube