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October Health News and Articles

Winter Is On Its Way

With Winter closing fast, October is the perfect time of year to think about important ways to ensure that you have a healthy season ahead.

We'll share which "super" foods are best suited to autumn;  preventive measures to protect one of your body's most critical organs - your eyes;  how to understand and utilize breast cancer awareness, and ways to raise your family's knowledge about drug testing.

Don't forget our Fun Facts about Halloween - the spookiest and most creative holiday of the year!
The Eyes Have It in October
Eye Injury Prevention, Home Eye Safety, Eye Health & Nutrition Month

In the course of looking after our overall well-being and that of our families, we often forget that our eyes are a vital part of good health.
Diabetics are at particular risk because when too much sugar stays in the bloodstream, it can become thicker than normal and cause damage to the tiny blood vessels that line the eyes, increasing risk of cataracts, glaucoma, retinal detachments and diabetic retinopathy. Diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of irreversible blindness in adults ages 20 to 74. (Source: Healthy Living, Oct 2012) Age-related macular degeneration, or AMD, is another cause of vision loss, with about 1.75 million suffering an advanced form and about eight million more at risk for experiencing AMD, according to the National Eye Institute.

While nutritional supplements are not a magic bullet for eye health, there is evidence to suggest that beta carotene, vitamin C, vitamin E and zinc can be effective in helping prevent or reduce the extent of certain eye diseases. Vitamin C protects against the damage caused by ultra-violet light. Found naturally in spinach, orange juice, red bell peppers, strawberries, raspberries, broccoli and Brussels sprouts, Vitamin C can also be taken in supplemental form.  Best natural sources for vitamin E are sunflower oil, peanut butter, wheat germ, nuts and spinach. 

Populations rich in vitamins and minerals have lower rates for eye diseases.
At Health Testing Centers we provide blood tests for Vitamin A, Vitamin E and Beta Carotene, Vitamin C, Vitamin D, and Zinc, all ideal in determining your at-risk status for eye disease and overall health. Our Vitamin and Nutrition Panel includes:
  • Vitamin A, E and Beta Carotene - a profile that helps you assess overall health and establish a baseline for the amount of antioxidants your body needs.
  • Vitamin C - a test that measures your body's vitamin C levels.
  • Zinc, Plasma - a blood test that measures the level of zinc in your body.
  • Vitamin D, 25-Hydroxy - a test that determines the amount of vitamin D your body stores.
  • Vitamin Profile - a comprehensive package of vitamin blood tests (Vitamin A, B1, B6, B12 & Folate, C, D, E, Beta Carotene.)   
Eye injuries - nearly half of which occur at home - can involve spilling hazardous products into the eye, or using sharp objects indoors or outdoors, resulting in up to 125,000 accidental eye injuries a year. Children are at risk when they are underfoot or nearby.
Wearing protective goggles can prevent up to 90 percent of eye injuries, so keep at least one pair in reach and insist they are worn when high-risk activities take place (using power tools, clipping hedges, securing heavy equipment). In addition, make sure bottled chemicals are safely secured, cushion sharp corners and edges around your home, use grease shields on frying pans, and learn how to recognize and treat an eye injury (go to
10 Superfoods for Women
We all like the sound of "superfoods," which denote a way to stay lean, clean, healthy and strong. Here's a quick rundown of stay-slim foods that might be missing in your current diet:
  • Brussel sprouts - packed with fiber, they can help reduce colon cancer
  • Lean steak - yes, red meat has a bad name so look for grass-fed beef which is lower in fat and calories and limit intake to 2-3 times a week. Tenderloin is a good choice, with beef a great source of protein and iron.
  • Curry it up - antioxidants in curcumin, or curry, can help curb tumor growth and destroy cancer cells (at least in lab tests).
  • Pistachios - 2-3 ounces a day can decrease the effects of carbs on blood sugar levels and raise good cholesterol. Other nuts are good too.
  • Raise your cup - a morning cup of coffee can lower your risk of Type 2 diabetes and provide healthful antioxidants.
  • Whole grain oatmeal - this morning glory can help lower cholesterol and keep you fuller so that you tend to eat less throughout the day.
  • Fish - including shrimp - can help heart disease.
  • Dark chocolate - a small daily amount (3.6 ounces) can help prevent clogged arteries and raise serotonin, the feel-good hormone.
  • Tart cherries - may decrease the body's ability to store fat in the liver.
  • Tomatoes - the red ones are full of lycopene, which can help lower your risk of heart disease and cancer. Orange tomatoes are even better. (Source: Fitness Magazine, "Slim & Fit for Fall" 8/31/12)
Other great foods to "fall" for in October due to their health benefits: shitake mushrooms, arugula, broccoli, chili peppers and garlic. These reach their peak in the autumn and provide support for the immune system, blood and bone health, and heart health.
The Scoop on Apples
By now, we all know apples are a great source of fiber and nutrients. On any crisp, fall day a sweet red apple, a Golden Delicious, a Jazz, Ambrosia or Honeycrisp is just the ticket for weight loss and blood sugar control. The apple's sheer versatility is reason enough to sing its praises - it can be eaten raw, baked, broiled, mashed, stewed, caramelized and used in everything from meats to puddings.

But what if you are among the rare unfortunate who happens to be allergic to apples?

Be careful bobbing for apples this Halloween. You might get "tricked" with an allergic reaction.

Health Testing Centers offers an Apple Allergy Test that is allergen specific. It's an IgE blood test that determines whether or not you suffer from hypersensitivity to this common fruit. As with all allergies, reactions can range from mild to severe. Check it out before Halloween to understand your potential risk.
News About Breast Cancer
National Breast Cancer Awareness Month
Breast cancer awareness is a year-round initiative but October, National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, is the time to highlight special emphasis on this serious condition. It can be a killer, from which nearly 40,000 women are expected to die in 2012, according to the American Cancer Society. For more information on Awareness Month for the disease, go to

To help promote Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Health Testing Centers offers two convenient testing options:

Cancer Antigen 27.29 (CA27.29) Blood Test - the gold standard in testing for breast cancer, and the only blood test specific to the disease. Since CA 27.29 rises in blood levels as breast cancer progresses, the test is also used as a means to monitor response to therapy.

Female Cancer Screening - a panel of blood tests that includes a Basic Health Screening, CA27.29 and CA 19-9 testing of antigens and blood hormone levels. The screening provides indicators of cancers affecting women, including ovarian, colon, rectal, stomach, pancreas, breast and liver cancer.

New Research Findings on Breast Cancer
In an ABC-TV news segment aired 9/24/12, a new study confirms that breast cancer is not one single disease, but has four distinct genetic types. Researchers' findings were published in the journal Nature following a DNA study of 845 breast cancer patients that were at different stages of the disease.

Part of a larger projected called the Cancer Genome Atlas, the data offers a much larger pool of information for researchers who have known for decades there were genetic subtypes of breast cancer. The result, say researchers, could mean that drugs already used to treat cancer in other parts of the body might be used to treat certain forms of breast cancer that share the same genetic abnormalities.
October 23 is Red Ribbon Week
National Family Partnership at Informed Families Education Center

Sponsored by the National Family Partnership (NFP) and now in its 27th year, Red Ribbon Week is designed to present a unified commitment on the part of families for a drug-free country. The goal of Red Ribbon is to educate and inform the community about the negative consequences of drug, tobacco and alcohol use and how it affects all of us.

It began in honor of Drug Enforcement Agent (DEA) Enrique "Kiki" Camarena, who was killed in Mexico after he revealed a multi-billion dollar drug scam. The red ribbon denotes the message "Live drug-free!" Red Ribbon Week is the oldest and largest drug prevention program in the nation.

Formerly the National Federation of Parents for Drug-Free Youth, the National Family Partnership is a nonprofit organization of parent groups in all 50 states. It's funded by individual and group donations.

Health Testing Centers salutes this annual effort to promote a drug-free nation and offers a private drug tests for yourself, employees, or family members discreetly and confidentially.

The Health Testing Centers 9-Panel Drug Test is a industry standard urine screening test often used by today's employers. The test includes screenings for THC (marijuana), cocaine, amphetamines, barbiturates, benzodiazepines, morphine, and PCP.
Bet You Didn't Know...
Fun Facts about Halloween
  • Halloween became associated with ghosts, goblins and witches in the late 19th century when a large number of Irish immigrants moved into the U.S. So, Ireland is typically believed to be the birthplace of Halloween.
  • Trick-or-treating evolved from a Celtic tradition of putting out treats to placate the spirits.  Jack-o-lanterns are an Irish tradition. But the first Jack-o-lanterns were made from turnips.
  • The pumpkin originated in Mexico about 9,000 years ago and is one of our oldest known vegetables.  
  • While most pumpkins weigh between 15-30 pounds, some have been reported to weigh as much as 200 pounds! The largest pumpkin ever measured, in 1993, weighed 836 pounds.  
  • Commonly, pumpkins are orange but can also be white or yellow. All are rich in vitamin A, beta-carotene and potassium, providing protein and iron for good health.
  • Halloween is now the second largest grossing commercial holiday after Christmas.
  • The most popular children's Halloween costume is the Princess, followed by Pirate, Witch, Spider-Man, Pumpkin and Fairy.
  • About 43 percent of adults cite costumes as an indispensable part of Halloween.
  • Kids say they prefer homes that give anything made with chocolate, followed by lollipops, gummy candy and bubble gum or chewing gum.  
  • What is it about candy and Halloween? According to the National Confectioner's Association (NCA) more than $2.3 billion is spent on candy at Halloween each year. Even during economic downturns, people love their sweet tooth, with candy sales continuing to rise by one to three percent each year.
  • And guess what? About 90 percent of parents admit to sneaking candy from their kids' Halloween trick-or-treat bag
  • (Sources:,, National Retail Federation)

Stay safe and have a Happy Halloween!   

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