Women’s Health & Wellness: What’s Next?


imaware’s Women’s Health & Wellness Test is designed to target primary health concerns from the comfort of home. By testing different functions, you gain a valuable overview of your current health status. Learn more about what was tested and how your results might impact your health journey.

Ferritin

Though often used interchangeably, ferritin and iron are not the same thing. Ferritin is actually an iron storage protein1, and since it affects how your body processes iron, measuring ferritin levels is how we assess your iron levels. A key component of red blood cells, iron can impact your energy level, muscle metabolism, connective tissue formation, physical growth, neurological development and more.2

Low iron 

Many foods naturally contain heme (animal-based) and nonheme (plant-based) iron. Naturally up your iron intake by eating more of the following foods:3

  • Red meats
  • Poultry
  • Fish
  • Eggs
  • Beans
  • Lentils
  • Nuts 
  • Dark leafy greens
  • Specially-fortified breakfast cereals

High iron

Among healthy adults, excess iron is less common than iron deficiency, and it is often caused by iron supplements.4 High iron levels may also be the result of hemochromatosis, a genetic disease that causes your body to store too much iron.5 If you have excess iron, speak with your healthcare provider about supplements, medications and other health conditions that may be responsible.  

25-hydroxyvitamin D

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that helps your body absorb calcium and phosphorus — two essential nutrients for good bone, teeth and muscle health.6 It also helps with your immune, cardiovascular and cellular health. Unable to absorb enough calcium, vitamin D deficiencies can lead to severe bone conditions, a weak immune system, chronic fatigue, depression and muscle pain.7 

Sourcing vitamin D

The good news is that the two primary forms of vitamin D — vitamin D2 and D3 — come from a few different sources. So, if you’re vitamin D deficient, here are three ways up your intake:8

  • Food: Unlike other micronutrients, it’s hard to get enough vitamin D solely from dietary sources; however, some naturally vitamin D-rich foods you should try include fatty fish and fish oils, beef liver, egg yolk and mushrooms. There are also select breakfast cereals and other food products specially fortified with vitamin D.
  • Sunlight: Your body naturally synthesizes vitamin D when your skin comes in direct contact with sunlight. As long as you follow sun safety guidelines, the sun is a great way to increase your levels.
  • Supplements: Given the low levels available in food and the dangers of direct sunlight, vitamin D supplements used responsibly are a popular way to maintain healthy vitamin D levels. 

Use our Vitamin D Monitoring Test to see if you’re successfully increasing your vitamin D levels.

Heart Health

Testing your heart health is complex. Fortunately, there are a few different tests within the Health & Wellness Test that can help you evaluate your current heart health.

LDL-C, HDL-C and Total Cholesterol

Cholesterol is a waxy substance in your blood that your body requires for vital functions like building cell membranes and producing hormones.9 Cholesterol is transported throughout your body by lipoproteins. 

Low-density lipoproteins (LDLs) are “bad” because LDL cholesterol (LDL-C) causes plaque build-ups in your blood vessels, leading to heart disease or stroke. High-density lipoproteins (HDLs), on the other hand, are “good” because they carry cholesterol back to your liver to be flushed out.10 Ideally, your HDL-C helps even out your LDL-C, giving you a healthy (low) total cholesterol level.  

Triglycerides

Triglycerides are fats in your bloodstream that help with cellular growth. Like LDLs, high triglycerides are dangerous for your arteries and increase your risk of cardiovascular disease.11

hs-CRP  

Testing your high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP) levels is an essential part of checking your heart health because this biomarker detects chronic inflammation. Chronic inflammation is bad because it may increase the speed that plaque builds up in your blood vessels, increasing your risk of heart attack and stroke.12

Improving your results

Whether you have high levels of cholesterol, triglycerides or inflammation, here are some lifestyle changes that can make a difference:13

  1. Increase your physical activity
  2. Reach and maintain a healthy weight
  3. Quit smoking
  4. Eat less saturated fats, sugars and refined carbohydrates (like red meat, full-fat dairy, white flour and fructose products).14
  5. Say yes to foods high in soluble fiber, unsaturated fats or antioxidants (like oats, beans, citrus fruits, fish and nuts).15

Keep up with your heart health by using imaware’s Baseline Heart Health Test

HbA1c

HbA1c testing measures your average blood sugar levels over the past three months. Blood sugar above the normal range indicates that insulin — the hormone responsible for maintaining a safe blood sugar level — may not be functioning properly in your body. The following HbA1c scale can be used to give you an idea of where you stand with prediabetes and diabetes, though additional testing is required to confirm a diagnosis:16

  • Normal: Below 5.7%
  • Prediabetes: Between 5.7% and 6.5%
  • Diabetes: 6.5% or higher

Prediabetes

Prediabetes, which can develop into type 2 diabetes, is high blood sugar that has yet to meet the threshold for type 2 diabetes.17 Fortunately, it is possible to reverse prediabetes by lowering your blood sugar level through hard work and significant lifestyle changes.  

Diabetes

There are three main types of diabetes:  

  • Type 1 diabetes is when your pancreas does not produce enough insulin (if any). It is an autoimmune disease and less common than type 2. Typical treatment involves receiving doses of insulin.18
  • Type 2 diabetes is when your body develops insulin resistance, which means the level of insulin your body requires increases and your pancreas cannot keep up. Like prediabetes, healthy lifestyle changes are key to managing this condition. Still, you may require further medical intervention to prevent additional health risks.19
  • Gestational diabetes is a form of diabetes that people can develop when pregnant. Though it resolves after birth, it can increase your risk of developing type 2 diabetes post-pregnancy.20

Managing your blood sugar

Here are some lifestyle changes that can help you manage your blood sugar:21

  • Increase your physical activity: Aim for at least 150 minutes of exercise every week. 
  • Eat a healthy diet: Cut down your fat and carbohydrate intake by focusing on lean proteins, low-starch vegetables, fiber-rich foods and other healthy options. 
  • Maintain a healthy weight: Losing as much as five to seven percent of your body weight can drastically decrease your risk of diabetes.

Try imaware’s Prediabetes / Diabetes Screening Test if you’re still concerned about your risk.

Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH)

Your thyroid gland — a butterfly-shaped gland in your neck — is responsible for releasing thyroid hormones into your body. These hormones are essential for regulating energy usage, impacting growth, function and development throughout your body.22 Since the thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) causes further hormone production, testing the present levels can indicate how well your thyroid is functioning.

Hyperthyroidism

Low TSH levels indicate that you already have too many thyroid hormones, which is a sign of an overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism).23 This condition causes your body to use too much energy, which can lead to cardiovascular problems, reproductive issues, bone fragility and muscle weakness.24

Overactive thyroid nodules, thyroiditis (an inflamed thyroid), and Graves’ disease (an autoimmune disorder) are some of the more common causes of hyperthyroidism.25 Your treatment for hyperthyroidism may also include surgery, medication or radioiodine therapy.26

Hypothyroidism

High TSH levels indicate that your body is not producing enough thyroid hormones, which means you have an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism).27 Since these hormones help with energy management, a lack of hormones causes your body to operate more slowly. 

Hypothyroidism is much more common than hyperthyroidism and can present as asymptomatic. It is often a result of thyroiditis, Hashimoto’s (another autoimmune disorder) or certain surgeries and medications.28

Iodine can have a significant impact on your thyroid function regardless of whether you have hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism, so speak to your doctor about your intake and evaluate if any changes are necessary.29

Summary

Your test results are designed to equip you with important information about your health, whatever that may be. It could mean you need to eat more iron-rich foods, start paying attention to your cholesterol or talk to your doctor about your blood sugar — regardless, you’re in control, and it’s up to you to take the next steps forward.



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