Posts Tagged ‘online lab testing services’

Why is a Complete Blood Count blood test important?

A complete blood count (CBC) 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.

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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 the 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

 


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Why Low-Fat Diets Fail?

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Why Low-Fat Diets Fail?

One of the most common misconceptions people have when trying to lose weight is that they need to cut out fat or eat foods that are labeled low-fat in order to achieve their goal or live a healthy lifestyle, however by doing this you could actually be doing more harm than good. Reducing fat often leads to a higher intake of refined carbs, and cuts out healthy fats that your body needs. Research has found diets with high amounts of saturated fats are associated with a higher risk of heart attacks and high blood cholesterol levels.

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So, instead of taking an approach that completely eliminates or significantly reduces fat, you should opt to include healthy unsaturated fats in your diet. Healthy fats are actually an essential macronutrient because they help your body absorb nutrients like vitamins A, D, E, and K, and antioxidants. Omega-3 fats optimize heart, nerve, and brain function. You should include healthy fats into your diet like avocados, olive oil, nuts, and fish, and try to limit your consumption of “reduced-fat” fat foods that are high in refined carbs and added sugars. A healthy diet includes healthy fats, primarily unrefined carbohydrates, and protein.


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What type of water should you be drinking?

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What type of water should you be drinking?

There is no question that staying hydrated is key when it comes to your health, like reducing fatigue, preserving sensitive tissues, and keeping your immune system healthy. There are many options when it comes to your drinking water such as:

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  • alkaline,
  • spring,
  • purified,
  • mineral, and
  • artesian,

but does it matter which one you are drinking?

Mineral water natural water that contains at least 250 part per million total of dissolved solids. Artesian water is acquired from a well that taps a layer of rock or sand. Spring water is derived from an underground source in spring. Purified water is highly treated through distillation, and deionization in order to meet certain standards. Lastly, alkaline water just has a higher pH than tap water,  with a pH of 8 or 9 as opposed to tap water’s pH of 7. So with all of these choices, which one is the best one? There is not much evidence that one type of water is superior to others, however, there is proof that states everyone is drinking enough water. It is recommended that men drink 125 ounces and women drink 91 ounces. That’s about 15 cups of water for men and 11 cups of water for women. Your body is made up of water, so it is important to stay hydrated regardless of your choice of water.


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The Relationship Between Blood Sugar and Dementia

Keeping your blood sugar levels under control is a proven practice to help prevent diabetes. A simple blood test can provide you with important information about your fasting blood sugar level, glucose levels, and your risk for diabetes. But there may be other uses for measuring blood sugar than diabetes alone. Research shows that seniors that keep blood sugar levels low can help keep your brain healthy and prevent dementia. Among non-diabetics, those who develop dementia have higher fasting blood sugar levels. Those with higher glucose levels are 20 percent more likely to develop dementia. Among diabetics, the increase in the risk of dementia is even higher – 40 percent higher in those with higher blood sugar levels. Whether you’re diabetic or not, adopting a lifestyle to help control blood sugar levels is good for the brain and may help you avoid developing dementia. Here are three proven ways to lower your blood sugar:

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  1. Maintain a healthy weight. If you are overweight, even losing 10 to 15 pounds can help lower blood sugar levels.
  2. Get regular aerobic exercise such as brisk walking for 30-plus minutes daily. The exercise helps burn up extra sugar in the blood in both diabetics and non-diabetics.
  3. Choose healthy meals – high in fiber from whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and legumes. Eat foods low in saturated fat and cholesterol, and limit red meats and high-fat dairy products. Follow a low-glycemic diet by avoiding soft drinks and other sugar-sweetened beverages and snacks. And limit potatoes, white bread, white rice, and other refined grains.

If you are a diabetic, you should monitor your blood sugar levels daily and adopt healthy lifestyle habits to prevent complications from this disease. Your doctor may also adjust your medications to keep blood sugar levels in a healthy range, as measured by an A1C level of less than 7 percent.


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Why you should care about Carotenoids

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Why you should care about Carotenoids

Carotenoids are substances in fruits and vegetables that give them their bright colors. They are prevalent in many orange colored vegetables. Typically, more carotenoids are in foods that have a darker pigment. Carotenoids act as antioxidants which prevent damage to our cells. It is easy to add antioxidants, especially carotenoids to your diet from the following produce:

  1. carrots
  2. sweet potatoes
  3. pumpkin
  4. cantaloupe
  5. apricot
  6. papaya
  7. red and orange peppers
  8. tomatoes
  9. beets

It has been found that women with the most carotenoids in their blood are less likely to develop breast cancer than those with lower levels.  Lycopene is the best carotenoid to protect against breast cancer. Tomato products are loaded with lycopene.

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So, besides the red and orange colored fruits and veggies in your diet, you can add tomato sauce, salsa, fresh tomatoes, watermelon, and pink grapefruit. Carotenoids are fat-soluble, it is important to add a little healthy fat to your diet.  An example of healthy fat is adding olive oil to your salad or vegetables or saute some garlic in olive oil before simmering tomatoes in the sauce. This will allow the body to absorb the nutrients and providing the benefit of lowering the risks of cancer. You can order your own lab tests to measure carotenoids with a simple blood test for Vitamin A


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Are Food Labels Tricking You?

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Are Food Labels Tricking You?

There are a plethora of options at the grocery stores that make claims like “No Artificial Colors”, that increase the want for the product because they are seen as the “healthier” option, however, this may not always be the case. The food manufacturers choose the wording on their products’ packages very carefully to increase the desirability of their products as long as it fits in the regulations of the Food and Drug Administration.

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Often times the claims that are made on food labels are not what the consumer thinks they are getting. For example, a product could say it is low in sodium, but according to the FDA, it just means it has 140 mg or less per serving. Another example would be when the words ‘simple’, ‘natural’ or ‘free from’ are plastered on food packaging, it is not verified by the FDA. In this case, be sure to check the fine print to see what the company’s definition is for the terms they have on their food packaging. Unfortunately, it is up to the consumers to figure out if a product is healthy or not. You have to read the nutrition label on each package in order to tell if the product is actually a healthy option or not. When reading a nutrition label, pay close attention to sodium, type of fat, sugar and whole grains.


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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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Why do Women have Testosterone?

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Why do Women have Testosterone?

All healthy women produce testosterone.  As a woman ages, testosterone levels can lower and can have symptoms such as depression, loss of muscle strength, and lack of sexual desire.  If you have experienced any of these symptoms, you may be diagnosed with the Female Androgen Insufficiency syndrome. Female Androgen Insufficiency syndrome is most common for menopausal women or those that had early menopause due to having their ovaries removed.  The most common treatment is estrogen replacement to postmenopausal women and those who have had their ovaries removed may find that this often causes and worsens this syndrome.

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Another important hormone that can produce Female Androgen Deficiency is DHEA-S.  You can order your own lab tests to check your hormone levels – there are inexpensive lab tests for DHEA-S, testosterone and other important hormones that regulate the body.  If you have any of the symptoms such as muscle weakness, osteoporosis, pain during intercourse or lack of libido, look at your testosterone and DHEA-S hormone levels and have your physician determine the best protocol.

Note: If your doctor prescribes male hormones, you should not take them longer than a few months and your doctor should discuss all the potential side effects with you.


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How to Read Food Labels

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How to Read Food Labels

Living a healthy lifestyle can be a bit overwhelming due to all the choices that are available. When shopping for food, it is important to read the food label in order to determine what product is the healthiest option. Compare products and labels. Food labels provide nutrition facts such as calories, number of servings, and macronutrients. The first thing to look for in a food label is the serving size because the nutrition facts provided are specific to the serving size. Often people don’t see any weight loss progress because they don’t read the serving size, so they are actually eating more than they thought.

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Next, you should look at the carbohydrates, specifically at the fiber. You should opt for foods with at least 3 or 4 grams of fiber per serving such as legumes, beans, whole grain breads, and fruits. You should also check the fat, low saturated fat in particular. Some great options include fish, poultry, whole grains, and reduced-fat dairy products. Under fats, you will also find the trans fat content. Trans fat increases low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, which is the “bad” cholesterol, and decreases the high-density lipoprotein (HDL), which is the “good” cholesterol. Lastly, you will notice that the daily percentage value is listed, and this is important because it will tell you how much of each nutrient you have consumed, and how much you have left. The daily percentage value is based on a consumption of 2000 calories a day.


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