U.S. Bio-Chem Medical Services
Preventative Health Care Specialists

What You Need to Know About Zika and Should You be Tested?

new orleans blood test

A person can become infected with the Zika virus when they are bitten by mosquito carrying the virus.

It is mainly spread through mosquitoes.

But, it can also spread through sex, usually after a person traveled to an area where Zika has broken out, got the virus, and gave the virus to a sex partner who did not travel.

Infected women and men can both pass the virus to sex partners even if they haven’t shown symptoms of infection

So far the only locally acquired cases have been confined to Florida’s Miami-Dade county. The rest of the U.S. has seen only travel-associated ones.

Many people infected with Zika virus won’t have symptoms (only about 1 in 5) or will only have mild symptoms. They can appear anywhere from 3 to 14 days after a bite from an infected mosquito.

Symptoms of the Zika Virus include:

  • Fever
  • Rash
  • Joint pain
  • Conjunctivitis (red eyes)
  • Muscle pain
  • Headache

Zika virus usually remains in the blood of an infected person for about a week so its important to get tested right away if you develop symptoms and you live in or have recently traveled to an area with Zika.

This is especially important for pregnant women because the virus can be transmitted to the fetus.

The virus causes birth defects in babies born to some infected pregnant women.

The birth defects caused by the virus include:

  • Microcephaly – babies are born with underdeveloped heads.
  • Brain damage
  • Guillain-Barre syndrome – a condition in which the immune system attacks the nerves. This one is less common but there have been some linked cases.

Pregnant women and their partners who live in affected areas or must travel to them should avoid mosquito bites.

The CDC has also issued travel warnings for pregnant women in countries where the disease is spreading.

There is no treatment for the virus other than taking over the counter medicines for aches and pains. However, Aspirin and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) should be avoided to reduce bleeding risk. An infected person should also get plenty of rest and fluids to prevent dehydration.

If you think you have Zika, get tested immediately so that you can protect your partner, family, friends, and community from getting the virus.

 


 

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Are You at Risk for Diabetes? The Time to Test is Now!

blood test new orleans la

November is National Diabetes Month and today is World Diabetes Day.

More than 29 million people in the United States have diabetes with 1 out of 4 of them being unaware that they have it.

There are three main types of diabetes:

  • Type 1 – Your body can’t make insulin (a hormone that regulates blood sugar), so you need to take it every day. Only about 5% of people with diabetes have this kind.
  • Type 2 – About 9 out of 10 people with diabetes have this kind. With type 2 diabetes, your body doesn’t use insulin well and is unable to keep blood sugar at normal levels
  • Gestational diabetes – Happens only during pregnancy but can put you at a risk for Type 2 later in life.

Local Epidemic

In Louisiana alone,  approximately 521,294 people or 13.9% of the adult population, have diabetes.

Of these, an estimated 124,000 have diabetes but don’t know it, greatly increasing their health risk.

In addition, 1,272,000 people or 37.5% of the adult population, have prediabetes (blood glucose levels higher than normal but not yet high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes).

Every year an estimated 35,000 people in Louisiana are diagnosed with diabetes.

Risk Factors

If you have any of the risk factors, you should be tested. The sooner you find out the sooner you can start making healthy lifestyle choices that will benefit you in the future.

Risk factors include:

  • Being overweight.
  • Being 45 years or older.
  • Having a parent, brother, or sister with type 2 diabetes.
  • Being physically active less than 3 times a week.
  • Ever having gestational diabetes or giving birth to a baby who weighed more than 9 pounds.

In addition, African Americans, Hispanic/Latino Americans, American Indians, Pacific Islanders, and some Asian Americans are at higher risk for type 2 diabetes

Complications

People with both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes are at a significantly higher risk for serious health complications including:

  • Heart disease and stroke
  • Blindness and vision problems
  • Kidney disease
  • Amputations

Controlling your blood sugar levels can prevent or delay serious complications so its vital to get tested for diabetes if you have any of the risk factors so that you can begin treatment.

Testing for Diabetes

We offer several tests that can help diagnose diabetes including:

Hemoglobin A1C

Insulin Test

Glucose Test, Serum

Managing your Diabetes

Its important to get the following tests throughout the year to monitor your treatment plan and to prevent complications:

Hemoglobin A1C test which measures average blood sugar over 2 to 3 months should be done twice a year.

Cholesterol and kidney function tests should be done once a year as well as an eye doctor visit and a podiatrist visit.

You should also have regular checkups to monitor blood pressure and check feet.

 

 


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