Posts Tagged ‘best online lab tests’

What is H. Pylori Infection

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What is H. Pylori Infection

Helicobacter Pylori is a bacteria that causes an infection in the stomach and is one of the main causes of peptic ulcers, and gastritis, which could lead to stomach cancer. The bacteria break down the inner protective coating of the stomach, and this may cause inflammation. About 30 to 40 percent of people in the U.S. have H. Pylori, and often people don’t realize because the bacteria usually do not cause symptoms. Peptic ulcers can be caused by the bacteria, and burning pain in your stomach particularly when on an empty stomach.

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The burning sensation can last from minutes to several days.  Peptic ulcers can also cause bloating, nausea, and weight loss. Your primary care physician may conduct a stool, blood, or breath test for H. Pylori if you present symptoms of an ulcer. Treatment includes antibiotics and acid-reducing medication, and after treatment, you will have to go see your physician to take another H. Pylori test to ensure the infection is gone. Scientists are not sure the cause of H. Pylori, but they think it may be spread through unclean water or food. There is also no vaccine to prevent this bacteria, so you should eat food that is prepared properly, drink water from a safe source, and wash your hands after using the bathroom and before eating.


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Can Green Tea and Coffee Help your Heart Health?

Green tea contains compounds called catechins that help regulate blood pressure and improve blood flow through an anti-inflammatory response. Similarly, coffee has caffeine and quinides compounds that affect our health positively although through a different mechanism. It is important to note that 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.

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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 and adding some half & half and you’ll get 46 calories. If you flavor a liquid nondairy creamer, that will set you back 48 calories. Adding a teaspoon of sugar will add about 23 calories. Regular coffee, without 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 are someone who enjoys a cup ‘o joe or has some tea every morning, 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.


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How Stress is Affecting your Overall Health

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How Stress is Affecting your Overall Health

You may be living a fast-paced life which could mean you are under constant stress. The effects of chronic stress can be detrimental to your overall health. Some symptoms of chronic stress include anxiety, depression, insomnia, headaches, and irritability. The following are possible effects of stress on different systems in your body:

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  • Immune system: Chronic stress means you are releasing stress hormones constantly and this can weaken the immune system and decrease your body’s response to viruses and bacteria. A weakened immune system also means the recovery period of an illness or injury is longer.
  • Digestive system: The liver creates extra glucose when under constant stress, which could increase the likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes. It can also cause an increase in stomach acid and this can increase the chances of getting an ulcer or for existing ulcers to act up.
  • Cardiovascular system: The heart pumps blood faster when under stress, thus raising blood pressure and increases the risk of having a heart attack or stroke.
  • Muscular system: Muscles tense up when under stress, however, if the stress does not subside, the muscles will not relax. Tense muscles can cause headache, and body ache, and in the long run, this can lead to a reduction in exercise.
  • Central nervous and endocrine systems: The central nervous system is responsible for your flight or fight response which is activated under stress. The hypothalamus sends signals to the adrenal glands to release cortisol and adrenaline. These hormones increase heart rate and send a rush of blood to your heart, muscles, and other important organs. Chronic stress can also cause eating disorders, social withdrawal, and alcohol/drug abuse.

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Hashimoto’s Disease

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Hashimoto’s Disease

Hashimoto’s disease is when the immune system attacks your thyroid, which can lead to an underactive thyroid, known as hypothyroidism. Hashimoto’s disease affects about 5% of the population in the US and is 8 times more likely to be found in women than in men. Thyroid hormones are critical because they control the way your body uses energy, so a reduced amount of these hormones would have an effect on many bodily functions such as high cholesterol levels and cardiovascular disease.best online lab testing services

In some rare and severe cases, hypothyroidism leads to a myxedema coma, which is essentially when the body functions slow down to the point where it becomes life-threatening. Hashimoto’s disease usually doesn’t show symptoms early on, however as the disease progresses the thyroid becomes larger which can make your neck look swollen. The enlarged thyroid can feel like your throat is full and is typically not painful. The hypothyroidism caused by Hashimoto’s disease tends to have relatively mild symptoms like depression, tiredness, weight gain, memory issues, thinning hair, and joint/muscle pain. Treatment for people with Hashimoto’s disease usually depends on whether or not they have hypothyroidism. Usually, doctors will monitor people’s disease if they don’t have hypothyroidism and if they do they may prescribe levothyroxine which is a hormone identical to the one your thyroid produces.


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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 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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The relationship between diet and prostate cancer

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men. Although the five-year survival rate for prostate cancer is nearly 99 percent when found and treated early, research indicates that a healthy diet may help prevent this cancer from developing. Common risk factors for prostate cancer include: being over age 65, having a family history of prostate cancer, being African American, and being obese. Newer research suggests that a poor diet may also add to that list. Once a man has prostate cancer, diet may affect how quickly cancer grows and if it comes back after a man has been treated. Men who consume a lot of red meat or high-fat dairy products have a slightly higher chance of getting prostate cancer, according to the American Cancer Society. Men at risk for prostate cancer also tend to eat fewer fruits and vegetables, however, doctors are not sure which of these factors is responsible for raising the risk. order online lab testsSome studies have linked eating a lot of animal fat to a higher risk of prostate cancer. And researchers believe it might be the way that the animal fat is cooked that makes a difference. Several studies have suggested that diets high in certain vegetables (including tomatoes, cruciferous vegetables, soy, beans, and other legumes) or fish may be linked with a lower risk of prostate cancer, especially more advanced cancers. These types of food contain a variety of phytochemicals that promote health. Prostate cancer is treatable, but it is also highly preventable. To prevent prostate cancer, men should eat a balanced and healthy diet with plenty of vegetables and fruits, whole grains, nuts, and legumes. Low-fat dairy products, fish, and poultry may also be consumed in moderation.

Talk to your physician about ordering a PSA blood test to determine your PSA levels.


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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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Can oral hygiene increase inflammation?

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Can oral hygiene increase inflammation?

There are many medical articles, including clinical studies, that show correlations between the mouth and body – poor oral hygiene can cause many health issues within your body.  Poor oral hygiene causes overgrowth of bad bacteria which can lead to gum disease and gum disease creates inflammation, which in turn can lead to heart disease.

Granted, if you have poor oral hygiene you won’t necessarily have heart disease, but a healthy mouth can lower chances of getting other factors that lead to heart disease.

Gum disease has been found to affect up to 75 percent of all adults and is primarily caused by the buildup of bacteria in the mouth, especially the gums.  When there is a significant amount of bacteria, the gums react and red, swell and bleed.  Gum disease is known as gingivitis and if left untreated can provide serious tissue and/or bone damage.

The American Heart Association has conducted studies showing the relationship between gum disease and heart disease.  There is a direct causal relationship with a strong association, meaning there’s an increased risk of heart attack.Order online lab tests

Additional research is being conducted, however, the biggest factor seems to be inflammation because this is the way bacteria enters the bloodstream.  Many people test their blood for inflammation :

The Cardiac C-Reactive Protein Test (hs) is a tool for assessing the risk of cardiovascular disease.

CRP is a protein that is found in the blood when certain inflammatory processes are happening. It is now known that arteriosclerotic plaques in the coronary arteries are a process of inflammation that correlates with C-reactive protein, and it is believed to be a good way to predict heart disease. The test can help estimate your chances of developing cardiovascular disease and your risk of having a sudden heart attack. This blood test was redesigned from the traditional C-Reactive Protein test to be sensitive enough to detect chronic low-level inflammation. Test results are independent of cholesterol, family history, and other traditional risk factors for cardiovascular disease. The test can be done along with traditional tests, such as cholesterol, to determine your risk. Recent illness or tissue injury, and chronic inflammation from arthritis can increase CRP levels and falsely influence the risk rating for heart disease from this test.

Research has also shown that significant numbers of premature and low-weight births are accompanied by unhealthy gums.   Hormonal changes during pregnancy can exacerbate sensitive gums and can aggravate symptoms.

There is a stronger connection with diabetes and gum disease: poorly managed diabetes jeopardizes the immune system, causing the body to work harder to fight any infections.  Inflammation can be increased thereby creating an environment for developing gum disease.  Increased levels of inflammation are related to a reduction in insulin sensitivity and higher blood sugar.

Stress is also known to compromise the immune system and increases the risk of developing infection.  It appears that cortisol, which is released when stressed, weakens the immune system and leaves strained

bodies with a higher likelihood of getting an infection.  Finally, when you are stressed out, you are less likely to take care of yourself, including getting enough sleep.

 


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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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