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Know Your Numbers: White Blood Cells

We talked about the reds last post.

So, of course – now need to talk about the whites.

Blood that is.

About white blood cell counts

blood-draw-cbc-white-counts

Blood draws may not be fun – but they can literally save your life.

We gave a glowing review to the red blood cells last post. After all, they are plentiful and tend to outnumber the other blood components involved in a CBC – Complete Blood Count with differential lab test.

But – with that being said – the white blood cells also play a critical, life-saving role. Literally.

White blood cells are responsible for keeping the body healthy. Also called leukocytes, they serve as the line of defense for our immune system. When we get sick, fight disease and conquer cancer, the white blood cells go to town. The more white blood cells you have, the more your body is working to fight off something that should not be there.

So what’s normal?

According to the National Institute of Health,

4,500-10,000 white blood cells per microliter (mcL) is normal.

Note: Normal value ranges may vary slightly among different laboratories. Talk to your doctor about the meaning of your specific test results. The examples above show the common measurements for results for these tests. Some laboratories use different measurements or may test different specimens.

While labs will have differing limits, you should be able to determine if you are running low or running high based on lab reports.

Am I sick?

You’ll need to sit down with a physician to review your lab work – especially if white blood cell reports show you have too few or too many. Note – if your spleen is gone, you will run on the HIGH side.

Several conditions can be involved if your white blood counts are not normal.

For example, the following may cause LOW white blood cell counts:

  • Lupus
  • Liver disease
  • Bone disease
  • Exposure to radiation

These conditions may be indicators of why white blood cells are HIGH:

  • Anemia
  • Leukemia
  • Infectious disease
  • Burns
  • Extreme stress

How to get white blood cells checked

You won’t necessarily feel anything if your white blood cells are high or low. BUT – having lab work performed routinely comes with the same importance as having red blood cells checked. A blood draw for a CBC test is a “first stop” for determining wellness and figuring out if anything is wrong with you – even if you don’t feel sick.

If you need a white blood test (or a general CBC blood test) and live in the Kansas City area, contact any of our three ARCpoint Labs of Kansas City locations.

No insurance needed. No doctor script either. Come request the test yourself.

 

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Know Your Numbers: Red Blood Cells

 cbc-red-blood-counts-give-blood

It’s OK to give blood – your body has millions of red blood cells and will make more!

Have you ever been sent for a “blood test?” Did you realize you were getting a three-for-one deal? A Complete Blood Count (CBC) measures your red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets. They are all important and play unique roles.

We’ll start with the red.

About Blood

To most people, blood is the red stuff that runs through our veins and appears when we’re cut or stabbed. Okay – maybe not stabbed, that is a little gruesome.

But several components make up blood and all play a critical role in our health. One of the major components – red blood cells.

Millions upon millions of the reds…

If we had a penny for each red blood cell in our body – we would be rich! There are millions of red blood cells in our bodies – actually, there are millions in one small drop of blood.

These cells are responsible for carrying oxygen throughout our body.

They also get rid of unwanted, foreign invaders and waste that enter the blood stream and can make us sick or fatally ill.

Not that the other blood components are any less important, but blood would not be blood without the red blood cells. The hemoglobin in the red blood cells is what gives blood the red coloring. These cells have a critical job and keep us alive.

I’m NOT gonna live forever…

Now – red blood cells are many in number but one unique characteristic about them is that they do not last long.

Typically, red blood cells have a lifespan of 120 days.

That means as cells die off, new cells are formed. Bones make new red blood cells and help stabilize an individual so that oxygen transport and waste removal carries on.

How many red blood cells do I need?

Normal range varies slightly between laboratories but is generally between 4.2 to 5.9 million cells/cmm. This can also be referred to as the erythrocyte count and can be expressed in international units as 4.2 to 5.9 x 1012 cells per liter. – Medicinenet.com

Labs use their own measuring systems to determine normal limits for the blood. However – if you are dramatically low or dramatically high, a standard CBC test will determine if your levels are not-normal, regardless of who draws the lab.

Is high or low a problem?

High red blood cell counts AND low red blood cell counts can create problems and indicate concerning health conditions. Just read how the Mayo Clinic explains each one:

Over-achieving and having too many red blood cells, or under-achieving and having too few, is NOT ideal nor healthy. Make sure you know your numbers and if your blood counts are in check.

Getting your blood cells checked

Having routine blood work is the first step in wellness. Blood counts are a “first stop” and one of the best ways to identify any unnoticed health concerns.

If you need your blood drawn in Kansas City but do not want to hassle with insurance payments or scheduling around a physician – you can come directly to ARCpoint Labs and request a CBC- blood work for yourself.

Find any of our three ARCpoint Labs of Kansas City locations to schedule an appointment!


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Know your Numbers: Height, Weight & BMI

It’s that time of year again! The gym parking lots are packed with new cars from those attempting to honor their resolutions and lose some weight once and for all. Long-time gym goers are annoyed. New gym members are tired. ‘Tis the season for weight loss (and a new season of Biggest Loser!)

Whether you’re a frequent flyer at the gym or have recently signed up for a membership, we recommend knowing some numbers when it comes to your height, weight and BMI so that you can set realistic goals and know what it takes for YOU to be healthy.

Knowing your height

So you wonder what height has to do with anything? Well, your Body Mass Index (BMI) is factored by your height and weight. It’s not that shorter people or taller people are healthier – it’s just that height impacts how much body mass there is; therefore a healthier weight is determined by factoring in height, too. If it’s been awhile since you had your height checked, stop in to our ARCpoint Labs of Lawrence and have one of our nurses help you. It’s easy and painless, but a little bit more accurate than a pencil line on the wall measured by mom’s yard stick. Plus – we’ll do it for free.

Knowing your weight

It’s easier to understand why knowing your weight is important when it comes to determining health. It goes back to the BMI charts – falling into unhealthy ranges can be a sign that future health problems may occur. Those who struggle with weight often have other health problems like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, pre-diabetes or diabetes and more. Height and weight determine your BMI and knowing your BMI is one of the first steps in gauging your health. (Another great step is to have a series of baseline wellness tests performed.) Whether you’re tracking your weight, BMI or wellness tests, measuring progress and effectiveness is important if you’re altering your diet and adding exercise to your routine.

What is a healthy BMI?

See below for some great information about Body Mass Index (BMI)!

[Via: BMICalculator.org BMI Calculator]

 

Need help getting started?

Make 2013 a healthy year! Contact any of our THREE ARCpoint Labs of Kansas City locations if you need assistance measuring your height or weight, or drawing blood work to run wellness panels. We’ll check your height and weight for FREE and can run affordable lab tests – no insurance required!


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Know Your Numbers: Gluten Allergy Testing

Did Mom’s Christmas cookies kill you this year? The past several years have seen a BOOM in gluten-free food options. All of the Celiacs are celebrating their expanded menu selections. Many who’ve never felt well after consuming breads and grains are starting to wonder – do I have a gluten allergy too? Kids, college students and even adults are diagnosed with gluten allergy or gluten intolerance each day. We offer blood tests for those who are curious if they too have this allergy. Test results are encouraged to be reviewed with a physician if levels appear to be not-normal.

How can you test for a gluten allergy?

blood-test-for-gluten-allergy

Christmas cookies kill you this year? You could have a gluten allergy.

A gluten allergy is typically indicated by symptoms like weight loss, stomach problems, bloating and light-colored stools.  The individual with an intolerance is allergic to anything that contains wheat, barley or rye. If not diagnosed properly, individuals can suffer from serious long-term consequences and become malnourished.

There are many ways to test for a gluten allergy. Some physicians do biopsies and other screenings, but at ARCpoint Labs we can help with the blood test portion. Blood tests can determine both Celiac and non-Celiac gluten intolerance. We offer an extensive panel of blood tests that can indicate if certain antibodies (or autoantibodies) are elevated and your body is rejecting gluten. You can request the test yourself, or if a physician has recommend gluten allergy testing, bring us the script and we’ll make sure you test is handled properly.

Blood tests for a gluten allergy

Here are some of the common blood tests we run to determine gluten allergy. We do antibody screens and Celiac profile testing. If you suspect a gluten allergy, come in and we’ll advise you on which tests to run. Or, if you’ve been diagnosed and know what blood test you need, let us collect your blood and promptly deliver the results. Some of the common tests run for gluten allergy include:

  • IgA tTG/ IgG tTG (anti-tissue transglutaminase)
  • IgA EMA (anti-endomysium)
  • IgA/G AGA

What is the normal level for gluten allergy testing?

It’s important to know which lab is running your blood tests. Each lab interprets the results of gluten allergy testing differently and each lab has their own number system they use to determine what is normal and not-normal. Each time you come to ARCpoint Labs, we will make sure the same lab runs your test so that your reports match up and you can compare your levels “apples to apples.”

Celiac & Gluten Sensitivity Allergy Testing in Kansas City

If it’s time to get tested, contact any of our ARCpoint Labs of Kansas City locations for assistance. We don’t require insurance and all of our tests are very affordable. Our trained collectors make the blood draw fast and easy. Our nurse can help you interpret the results and know what to ask your doctor if further evaluation is needed.

Please call us at (785) 371-4739 to learn more or visit any of our three Kansas City ARCpoint Labs locations.


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Know your Numbers: Blood Pressure and Cholesterol

Frankie_Muniz_2012

Learn from Malcom – check and see if your heart is healthy.

Did anyone else see that the beloved “Malcom” found himself out of the middle and into the cardiac ward? Frankie Muniz, the child star of Malcom in the Middle, experienced a mini-stroke several weeks ago. At age 27. An LA Times article reports that 10% of strokes happen to those under age 45. However this famed actor’s incident is a reminder to all – young and old – that heart health is critical and important.

Typical “Heart” Healthy Numbers

Although the cause of Muniz’s stroke has many scratching their heads at a cause (he said he had a poor diet…) oftentimes stroke is a result of high blood pressure. Other heart problems can be a result of bad cholesterol. In order for you to get “heart healthy” this year, know your numbers and make it a goal to get your levels in the normal range.

What is a healthy blood pressure?

Blood pressure is measured by placing a cuff around the top of the arm and inflating it. Your blood pressure level indicates how hard your body is working to circulate blood. If your blood pressure falls into the hypertension ranges, it means your heart is working harder than it should to pump blood throughout your body.

Below is a guide to understanding normal blood pressure levels:

Top number (systolic)

  • Below 120 – Normal
  • 120 – 139 – Pre-hypertension
  • 140-159 – Stage 1 hypertension
  • 160+ – Stage 2 hypertension

Bottom number (diastolic)

  • Below 80 – Normal
  • 80-89 – Pre-hypertension
  • 90-99 – Stage 1 hypertension
  • 100+ – Stage 2 hypertension

Learn more about blood pressure.

What is a healthy cholesterol level?

Cholesterol can be good and bad. Good cholesterol is called HDL and helps keep the bad cholesterol from taking over. Bad cholesterol is called LDL. When there is too much bad cholesterol in your body, you’re at risk of stroke, heart-attack and heart disease. While the body produces some cholesterol naturally, we also receive cholesterol from eating foods that are by-products of animals.

Total cholesterol level

  • Healthy cholesterol range:  Less than 200 mg/dL
  • Borderline high:  200 to 239 mg/dL
  • High cholesterol (at risk for heart disease):  240 mg/dL and above+

HDL cholesterol level

  • Healthy HDL range: 60 mg/dL and above
  • Unhealthy HDL cholesterol level (at risk for heart disease): Less than 40 mg/dL (men) and Less than 50 mg/dL
    (for women)

LDL cholesterol level

  • Healthy LDL range: Less than 100 mg/dL
  • Slightly high:  100 to 129 mg/dL
  • Borderline high: 130 to 159 mg/dL
  • High (at risk for heart disease): 160 to 189 mg/dL
  • Very high (at risk for heart disease): 190 mg/dL and above

Source:  American Heart Foundation

Checking your blood pressure & cholesterol levels in Kansas City

If you want to check your blood pressure or cholesterol levels find one of our three ARCpoint Labs of Kansas City locations. Just walk in to any of our labs to request the test or call us to schedule an appointment at (785) 371-4739. No insurance needed. We make getting a baseline test and then monitoring your progress fast and easy.


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Know Your Numbers: Iron Levels

tired-low-iron-levels-anemia

Constantly tired – even after finals week? Check your iron to make sure you’re not anemic.

Students in Lawrence are probably reeeeeeeeally ready for Christmas break right now! Finals week has descended on college campuses around the country and young co-eds are cramming in study time (and probably a few other things too) before they take off and go home to mom’s milk & cookies for a few weeks. It’s common for college students (or anyone for that matter) to be experiencing tiredness and weakness around this time of year. However, if lower stress levels and better sleep patterns don’t change energy levels once finals are over, it might be a clue that something else is causing low energy. And once place to start:  iron levels.

About Anemia & Low Iron Levels

Anemia means that the body is low on the oxygen-carrying red blood cells. Ample supply of red blood cells is important for many reasons, with one being energy levels. Iron is what enables the body to produce red blood cells, so when you don’t have enough iron, you don’t have enough red blood cells. Therefore, iron-deficient anemia is one cause of low energy.

You can be low on iron for a variety of reasons. Some who don’t eat enough foods with iron (especially those who go the vegetarian/vegan route) have to constantly keep an eye on iron levels. For some, their bodies just don’t absorb iron well which leads to deficiency over time. Iron may also be caused because of a serious condition and internal bleeding. Symptoms of low iron may be small and nearly unnoticeable at first but the impact of low iron will affect your day-to-day over time. And if your tests do show that your iron levels are low and you are anemic, it’s critical that you determine the cause quickly. Low iron can indicate both major AND minor conditions.

What should my iron level be?

Here is a helpful guide for understanding iron levels (thanks to LiveStrong for this helpful info):

  • Normal iron level: 60 to 170 mcg/dL
  • TIB (protein in blood):  240 to 450 mcg/dL
  • Transferrin saturation (divides iron concentration by your TIB):  20 and 50 percent
Also-
  • Adults need about 8 mg of iron each day.
  • Pregnant/breastfeeding women need about 18 mg of iron each day.

What is my iron level?

To determine iron levels, you’ll need an iron/TIB test. This is where we’ll draw some blood, send it on for testing and call you with your iron levels in just a few days. You’ll then know if your iron level is normal, high or low and have the info you need to determine if a doctor’s visit is needed.

If you want to check your iron levels, find one of our three ARCpoint Labs of Kansas City locations. Just walk in to any of our labs to request the test or call us to schedule an appointment at (785) 371-4739. No insurance needed. We make checking your iron levels quick, fast and easy.