Category : News

CDB Hemp and Oil

Is CBD Oil Safe to Use?

As more states legalize the use of marijuana, CBD oil is becoming more widely available.  With this new found popularity questions about this product’s benefits, uses, side effects and safety are being asked.

CDB Hemp and OilCBD is a chemical compound extracted from hemp that is being used to address a number of medical concerns.

There are a number of forms of CBD oil, including softgel capsules, tinctures, and under-the-tongue sprays. Some forms of CBD oil can also be applied directly to the skin, in the form of products like creams and salves. The concentration of CBD varies from product to product.

Possible Uses

Proponents of CBD oil claim that it can treat a wide variety of health issues, ranging from everyday ailments to chronic medical conditions. These include:CBD oil benifits, uses and side effects

  • Acne
  • Anxiety
  • Chronic pain
  • Depression
  • Epilepsy
  • Glaucoma
  • Insomnia
  • Loss of appetite and body weight
  • Muscle spasms
  • Parkinson’s disease

Limited Research

Although CBD oil is used for many different health-related purposes, there isn’t a great deal of research on the oil’s potential health benefits.  The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a drug made with a purified form of CBD oil in June 2018 for the treatment of seizures associated with two rare and severe forms of epilepsy in patients 2 years of age and older.

Be Cautious When Using CBD Oil

If you’re thinking of using CBD oil to treat a health problem (and it’s legal where you live), make sure to consult your healthcare provider first to discuss whether it’s appropriate for you.

Because CBD oil products are mostly unregulated, there’s no guarantee that any given product contains a safe or effective level of CBD.  A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 2017 found that nearly 70 percent of all CBD products sold online are incorrectly labeled, and could cause serious harm to consumers. Some CBD oils may also contain incorrectly labeled amounts of THC and other compounds.

CBD oil bottlesPotential Side Effects

Some research indicates that the use of CBD oil may trigger a number of side effects, including:

  • Anxiety
  • Changes in appetite
  • Changes in mood
  • Diarrhea
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Dry mouth
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

CBD oils may contain some THC. Cannabis (THC) may impair your ability to drive safely or operate equipment and may have short- and long-term effects on your memory, attention, mood, heart rate, and mental health.

Can You Test Positive for Marijuana Use?

Kimi Hathaway, President/OwnerMost people are under the impression that CBD oil is THC-free. This is not normally the case. Almost all CBD oils contain traces of THC in them. CBD extracted from hemp is not supposed to have any more than .3 percent of THC. Even at these low levels drug screens can detect THC and provide a false positive drug test.

If you are using CBD oil and are concerned about drug testing, please give Blackbird Clinical Services a call at 765-447-8700.  We offer low cost drug tests that can help you assess the impact of using CBD oil.

sleeping-man-940x627

What’s Not Sleeping Well Doing to You?

Sleep is an investment in the energy you need to be effective tomorrow.  

All of us just moved our clocks forward one hour to accommodate daylight saving time and many of us felt a little sluggish the next day because of the lost hour of sleep.  This simple example of not getting as much sleep as we do normally shows just how important a good night’s rest is to our mental and physical well-being.

The Vital Role of Sleep

[caption id="attachment_2005" align="alignright" width="437"]man sleeping soundly Sleep affects almost every tissue in our bodies.[/caption]

Sleep plays a vital role in good health and well-being throughout your life. Getting enough quality sleep at the right times can help protect your mental health, physical health, quality of life, and safety. During sleep, your body is working to support healthy brain function and maintain your physical health.

“Sleep affects almost every tissue in our bodies,” says Dr. Michael Twery, a sleep expert at NIH. “It affects growth and stress hormones, our immune system, appetite, breathing, blood pressure and cardiovascular health.” Research shows that lack of sleep increases the risk for obesity, heart disease and infections.

Benefits of a good night’s rest …..Without enough sleep, we all become tall two-year olds.  JoJo Jensen

  • Keeps your heart healthy
  • May help prevent cancer
  • Reduces inflammation
  • Makes you more alert
  • Improves your memory
  • May help you lose weight
  • Increases productivity
  • May reduce risk of depression
  • Helps the body repair itself

Recommendations to Help You Sleep More Soundly

Keep a consistent sleep schedule
The 2019 Sleep in America poll shows a strong correlation between sleep schedule consistency and being well-rested the following morning.  Go to bed and get up at the same time every day. Try to limit the difference in your sleep schedule on weeknights and weekends to no more than one hour.

Average Sleep Needs by Age chartWatch what you eat and drink
Avoid heavy or large meals within a couple of hours of bedtime.  The stimulating effects of nicotine, caffeine and alcohol can take hours to wear off and can wreak havoc on quality sleep.

Create a restful environment
For most, having a room that is cool, dark and quiet is ideal for sleeping.

Limit daytime naps
If you choose to nap, limit yourself to up to 30 minutes and avoid doing so late in the day.

Include physical activity in your daily routine
Regular physical activity can promote better sleep as long as you don’t exercise too close to bedtime.

Manage worries
Try to resolve your worries or concerns before going to bed. Dwelling on them can make it hard to fall asleep.

Talk to Your Doctor

For prolonged periods of sleeplessness caused by any number of reasons, don’t hesitate to see a doctor to address your concerns.  Your good health depends on it.

Oral-Fluid-Marijuana-Testing

The Marijuana Testing Conundrum

Recreational use of marijuana has now been legalized in ten states and for medical use in 33.  Indiana has not legalized marijuana for either use and the current governor is not promoting its legalization.

states where marijuana is legal

So what’s the conundrum?  In some states getting high on the weekend or after work is O.K., but there are no places where working under the influence of marijuana is acceptable.  Indiana law still considers marijuana use to be illegal, and any amount in an employee’s system is grounds for termination.

Determining When Someone is Impaired

But as the legal landscape for marijuana use continues to change, what are the challenges and potential solutions to address marijuana use when an employee is on the job.  Trying to determine if a worker is “impaired” is an important step in defining new marijuana testing procedures.  There are currently no guidelines on what is considered impaired.  Because marijuana remains in a user’s system for weeks, depending on how recent the use, a worker’s ability to do their job safely and effectively may be impacted.

Detecting Recent Marijuana Use 

Windows for drug testingThe need to continue to test for drug use is still extremely important, although the legalization of marijuana raises a number of key questions as to how to do marijuana testing.  Marijuana remains in a user’s system for several weeks which makes it highly likely with today’s primary testing methods, hair and urine, that someone using marijuana will be detected.

As laws change and recreational and medical marijuana use grows, how do employers address the much higher chance that someone at work will test positive for having marijuana in their system?  The graph shows how long each testing method will detect marijuana.

Trying to test for more “recent use” is becoming more common.  Knowing if someone used marijuana in the last 2 – 3 days is more relevant when assessing if someone is impaired on the job.

[caption id="attachment_1992" align="alignright" width="300"]Oral-Fluid-Marijuana-Testing Oral fluid testing is easy, quick and effective.[/caption]

Lab-Based Oral Fluid Testing

Lab-based oral fluid testing is a proven and effective testing method that can detect “recent use” and determine if an employee is currently under the influence.  This form of marijuana testing detects parent THC in as little as 15 minutes after use and continues detecting THC for up to two days post-use.  This uncovers individuals who could present a safety risk in the workplace.

Because of the uncertainty of current laws some employers are deciding to forgo testing for marijuana.  This is not a good option.  Not only can it lead to potential safety risks at the workplace, but it can also lead to inevitable lawsuits should an accident occur that otherwise might have been avoided by testing for marijuana.

Kimi HathawayLet’s Talk Oral Fluid Testing

Blackbird Clinical Services would be happy to discuss your marijuana testing options.  Blackbird Clinical offers oral fluid testing that may be an effective way to address concerns.  Oral fluid testing is easy, quick and less expensive than other testing methods.

Just give us a call at 765-447-8700, or send me an email at KHathaway@blackbirdclinicalsvs.com and we’ll be happy to discuss your options.

Teen using an e-cigarette vaping

The Dangers of Vaping by Teenagers

Teen using an e-cigarette vapingMany middle and high schoolers believe that vaping (the use of e-cigarettes) is less harmful then smoking traditional cigarettes because they get the high from the nicotine, but not the tar and other carcinogens.

This is true to a degree, but for young people there is substantial evidence that e-cigarette use can be highly addictive and dangerous to their health.

A Sudden Rise in Popularity

The FDA has acknowledged that it was caught flat-footed by a  tidal wave of teenage vaping. According to the 2018 National Youth Tobacco Survey, the number of middle and high school students who currently vape has soared to about 3.6 million.

The U.S. Surgeon General reported the use of e-cigarettes surged 900 percent among high school students from 2011 to 2015.  In 2016 more than 3 million middle and high school students said they had used e-cigarettes in the past month.

E-cigarettes are sold in more than 7,760 flavors, including apple pie, cotton candy, gummy bear, and watermelon—flavors known to lure younger users. Once those younger users get hooked on nicotine, there’s a good chance they’ll be in for a lifelong habit.

Teen Vaping Statistics
Safe or Not

Are e-cigarettes actually dangerous? While many young people (and adults) see little harm in vaping, the answer is yes.

Exposure to nicotine varies a lot, depending on the e-cigarette device and the e-liquid it uses, as well as the individual vaper’s practices.  But there is substantial evidence that nicotine intake from e-cigarettes, used by experienced adults, can be comparable to that of conventional cigarettes.

The vapor e-cigarettes produce come from heating up liquid “e-juice,” which is added to the devices via refillable cartridges.  In addition to nicotine, the liquids used for e-cigarettes also contain cancer-causing toxic chemicals, heavy metals and ultrafine particles that pose additional health risks.

Nicotine’s Effect on Teenagers

Beyond the risk toxic chemicals may pose, numerous studies have also shown the harm of nicotine itself to teenagers.  A  JUUL cartridge (the most popular brand of e-cigarette) has approximately the same amount of nicotine as an entire pack of cigarettes.  Nicotine can disrupt brain development, contribute to future cardiovascular disease and increase the risk of a teen trying alcohol or other drugs.

Nicotine itself is also a highly addictive drug.  This explains why a significant proportion of teens, who have never smoked a cigarette, end up smoking traditional cigarettes after using e-cigarettes.

Conclusive evidence exists that drinking or injecting e-liquids can be fatal; that exposure to the skin or eyes can cause seizures and other serious problems; and that e-cigarette devices can explode and cause burns and other injuries.

What Steps Can Parents Take

Talk to your children early about the serious risks and consequences of using any product with nicotine.  When they hear that vaping is O.K., that it’s not as bad as traditional cigarettes, they need to understand that vaping now can lead to an addiction to nicotine and long term health consequences.  For suggestions on what to discuss go to Vaping’s Impact on Teens.

Kimi HathawayTesting for Nicotine

For parents concerned that their children may be using e-cigarettes, Blackbird Clinical Services can test for nicotine.  Please give us a call at 765-447-8700, or send me an email at KHathaway@blackbirdclinicalsvs.com and we’ll be happy to discuss your options.

flu shots

Don’t Become a CDC Statistic this Flu Season

flu shotsThe 2017-2018 flu season was one of the most severe the United States has experienced in decades.

This past flu season approximately 80,000 lives were lost to the flu and flu related illnesses according to estimates by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Because of greater susceptibility many of these deaths were either small children or the elderly.

Preventing a Recurrence of Last Year

Each year flu vaccines are developed to address those strains of influenza that are predicted to be most prevalent. The formulations for the upcoming flu season have been changed in two key ways according to the CDC.  The nasty H3N2 strain that sickened many people last year has been updated.  The influenza B virus  targeted for protection in the vaccine has also been changed.

So far, the revamped vaccines look promising based on observations of Australia’s current flu season where these vaccines are now in use.

flu shot vaccineThere is No Time Like the Present to Get Vaccinated

Now is the time to get your annual flu shot. Once you have received a shot, it takes about two weeks for antibodies that protect against flu to develop in the body.

Getting an annual flu vaccine is the first and best way to protect yourself and your family from the flu. A flu shot or nasal spray can reduce flu illnesses, doctors’ visits, and missed work and school due to flu, as well as prevent flu-related hospitalizations. In 2017, a study in Pediatrics was the first of its kind to show that flu vaccination also significantly reduced a child’s risk of dying from influenza.

Getting a flu shot also helps protect more vulnerable populations including the elderly, very young children, pregnant women and individuals with certain allergies who can’t get the vaccine.

A flu shot can come with mild side effects, including soreness, low-grade fever, and muscle aches.  But that’s clearly better than coming down with the full-blown flu, which can knock you out for over a week.

Kimi HathawayBlackbird Clinical Services Offers Low Cost Flu Shots

It is easy and fast to get your flu shot at Blackbird Clinical Service’s office located off S.R. 26 at 2 Executive Dr., Suite D, Lafayette, IN.

You can call for an appointment or just stop in.  Cost for the Quadravalent vaccination is just $27.  Sorry, but we don’t accept insurance for these shots.

Need More Details

We are happy to answer any questions pertaining to flu shots.  Please give us a call at 765-447-8700, or send me an email at KHathaway@blackbirdclinicalsvs.com.

Flu Season Ahead sign

Get a Flu Shot, If Not for You, Then for Them

Many of us balk at getting a flu shot each year for a number of reasons.  We think we are healthy, so we don’t believe we need to be immunized; we think a flu shot will give us the flu (not true); or we just don’t take the time.  In 2017 49% of adults and 59% of children were vaccinated.

flu symptomsEveryone Needs a Flu Shot

If you don’t think you need a flu shot, those around you would disagree.  Especially if you are around young children or older adults who are more susceptible to catching the flu.

Symptoms of influenza usually appear 1-4 days after exposure. This means you are most contagious during the 24 hours before symptoms appear and may be contagious for up to 5 -7 days after getting sick.

Children and Older Adults are Most Susceptible

Last year’s flu season according to the Center for Disease Control was one of the longest, most wide spread and sever in years. They estimate that flu takes between 12,000 to 56,000 lives a year and in the 2017-2018 season a total of 180 pediatric deaths were reported to the CDC.  This number exceeds the highest number of flu-associated deaths in children of 171 during the 2012-2013 season.  Approximately 80% of these deaths occurred in children who had not received a flu vaccination.

sick childPeople 65 years and older accounted for approximately 58% of reported influenza-associated hospitalizations.  Overall hospitalization rates (all ages) during 2017-2018 were the highest ever recorded.

Flu can be a serious disease, particularly among young children, older adults, and people with certain chronic health conditions, such as asthma, heart disease or diabetes. Babies under six months can’t get the flu shot, yet they are more susceptible to influenza than adults.

So if not for you, do it for them

Getting a flu shot is easy and inexpensive. And if you don’t think you need one, take a minute and consider those who might contract the flu, if you were to expose them to the virus. Here’s what the CDC recommends:

  1. Everyone 6 months of age or older get a flu vaccine by the end of October.
    Young children, pregnant women, those over 65 years of age, and anyone with chronic health conditions like asthma, diabetes or heart and lung disease, are at a higher risk for serious flu complications and should be vaccinated.
  2. If you become ill with flu symptoms, the CDC recommends staying home for at least 24 hours
    after your fever is gone. Try to avoid contact with others when you are sick and cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.  Discard the tissue in the trash.  You can find more details at Taking Care of Yourself.Kimi Hathaway, President/Owner

Blackbird Clinical Services Offers Low Cost Flu Shots

It is easy and fast to get your flu shot at Blackbird Clinical Service’s office located off S.R. 26 at 2 Executive Dr., Suite D, Lafayette, IN.

You can call for an appointment or just stop in.  Cost for the Quadravalent vaccination is just $27.  Sorry, but we don’t accept insurance for these shots.

To Receive More Details

We are happy to answer any questions pertaining to flu shots.  Please send me an email at KHathaway@blackbirdclinicalsvs.com or give us a call at 765-447-8700.

Certified Lab Services

Health insurance claim form

Using Your Health Insurance Could Be Costing You More

In 2017, 84 percent of large employers offered high deductible health insurance plans to their employees and 35 percent of those companies only offered high deductible plans, based on a 2016 Kaiser/HRET survey.

The trade-off for the lower premiums associated with these plans is substantially higher out-of-pocket costs that are incurred before a portion of your medical costs are covered by insurance.

Finding the Low Cost Provider

Health insurance claim formThe onus is now on the patient to manage their medical expenses. The Kaiser Family Foundation found individuals are paying an average of $2,295 and families $4,364 in deductible costs. Now that the first several thousand dollars are coming out of our pockets, it becomes more important to shop around for healthcare services.

Get Tests at Lower Cost Locations

When a health insurance company negotiates with a hospital on how much a procedure or test will be covered, they consider a number of factors.  All of which often make obtaining routine services at a hospital the most expensive option.

If there are outpatient locations in your network, or even private labs outside your network, they are very often considerably less expensive than going to a hospital for the same services.  In a local example the cost of getting a CAT scan at the hospital was over $1400.  The charge for the same CAT scan at an outpatient clinic was $269.

health checkupsUsing Your Health Insurance May Not Always Be Optimum

Most of us believe that large insurance companies negotiate the best rates for their clients.  This is not always the case.  It is worth checking with local labs that do routine bloodwork and other tests to see what they charge. It is not uncommon to find that the hospital’s negotiated rate with an insurance company is higher than the same test from a local lab.

What About My Deductible?

For those with high deductible plans who see a doctor infrequently, chances are most of your medical costs will be out of your pocket. In this situation, shopping for the least expensive option will only save you money, even if you use out of network providers.

If you expect to have surgery, or some other medical procedure, it is more likely that you will reach your deductible.  In this case it may not be as advantageous to use services that are not run through your insurance. If your deductible has been met, it’s also possible your health plan will cover enough of any subsequent medical expenses to make submitting a health insurance claim the preferable way to go.

Blood draw vialsDon’t Shortchange Your Healthcare

Many routine and preventative health services are now included in all insurance plans. These include annual physicals, colonoscopies, mammograms, and vaccinations which are intended to keep you well or catch problems early. Don’t neglect these important tests because you believe with a high-deductible medical plan that you will have to pay for them.  Be sure to know what is offered at no charge in your plan.

High deductible health insurance plans have pushed many of us to manage our healthcare more closely. Dealing with insurance companies and hospitals can be frustrating, but many insurance companies and hospitals now have phone and online resources that provide cost information.  Take advantage of these and stay healthy.  It’s the most important thing you can do for yourself and your family.

Kimi Hathaway, President/OwnerLab Services Blackbird Clinical Provides

The costs of Blackbird Clinical Services lab services are often less expensive than lab services offered through local hospitals or clinics.  We perform the most common lab tests (see below), along with others.

CMP, CBC, Lipid Panel, TSH, Hemo A1C, PSA, Hepatic Function, Renal Function, Total Testosterone, Rheumatoid Factor, Iron Total, STD Panel, OB Panel and Allergy Panels

Please contact me, Kimi Hathaway, at KHathaway@blackbirdclinicalsvs.com with any questions regarding our blood work and lab services.

opioids crop

Can You Read the Warning Signs of Opiate Abuse?

The addiction to prescription opiate drugs used for pain management has become an epidemic, with estimates of anywhere from 26 million to 36 million people believed to be abusing opioids in the United States.

Primarily used in the treatment of chronic pain these drugs are highly addictive.  Even when taken as prescribed they can lead to abuse and addiction.

Common Types of Prescription Opiates

Most individuals who abuse opiates began using them as prescribed by their doctor, but as they quickly develop a tolerance, they start abusing the drugs.  Some of the common types of prescription opiates include:opiod pills

  • Codeine
  • Fentanyl
  • Hydrocodone
  • Meperidine
  • Methadone
  • Morphine
  • Oxycodone

Recognizing Opiate Abuse

With the prevalence of opioid abuse, many employers, parents and caregivers are searching for the warning signs that an opiate problem exists. Detecting drug abuse early is the most effective way of preventing an addiction from developing.

Not everyone who uses painkillers becomes addicted. However, a person who abuses drugs in large amounts or over extended periods of time is more likely to fall victim to an addiction.

The most common physical and behavioral signs of opiate abuse are:

  • Having trouble staying awake, or falling asleep at inappropriate times
  • Flushed, itchy skin
  • Experiencing euphoria, blurred vision and lightheadedness
  • Withdrawing from social activities that were once enjoyed
  • Sudden and dramatic mood swings that seem out of character
  • Impulsive actions and decision-making
  • Needle marks on arms and legs from intravenous (injected) use
  • Constricted, “pinpoint” pupils
  • May have constipation, nausea and vomiting
  • Engaging in risky activities, such as driving under the influence
  • Visiting multiple doctors in order to obtain more prescriptions

opioid-abuse signs

The hallmark characteristics of addiction include intense drug cravings and a strong desire to obtain or use the drug – despite the negative consequences that may occur.  Aside from dangerous health risks, opiate abuse can also interfere with your personal life and close relationships with family and friends.

The Consequences Can Be High

The consequences of opiate abuse often include:

  • Losing a job due to prioritizing substance use over work responsibilities
  • Financial issues stemming from spending too much money on new prescriptions
  • Criminal charges for possessing painkillers without a prescription
  • Damaged relationships with family members, friends and co-workers

If You Suspect Opiate Abuse

If you suspect a co-worker or family member to be abusing opioids, it’s important to get them into a treatment program.  Signs of opioid abuse can often be present very early, and they tend to only get worse over time.  If not controlled, addiction can lead to death from overdose.

When confronted about their abuse, many times the accused will deny they have a problem, feel insulted, get angry, or accuse you of not trusting them. The goal should be to get an addict into treatment immediately so they can be given the proper help to overcome their dependency on opiates.

Kimi Hathaway, President/OwnerHow Blackbird Clinical Services Can Help

Blackbird Clinical Services is a certified drug testing service that can help any employer set up a pre-employment and random drug testing program.  Our experience and knowledge regarding these tests ensures that those abusing drugs are not able to prevent detection by using different avoidance techniques.

Just give us a call at 765-447-8700 and we’ll be happy to arrange a time we can talk about setting up a program to identify opiate abuse at the workplace.

Blood-glucose-finger-prick-test

Detecting Diabetes Early with A1C Testing

A1C testingThe Center for Disease Control reported 1.5 million Americans were diagnosed with diabetes for the first time in 2015 (the most recent numbers).  As the number of Americans with diabetes or prediabetes grows, it becomes more important that individuals with this disease become aware of their condition and take the appropriate steps to stay healthy and manage their blood glucose levels.

Diabetes Fast FactsIn 2015, 30.3 million Americans, or 9.4% of the population, had diabetes of which 7.2 million were undiagnosed.  In addition 84.1 million Americans age 18 and older had prediabetes based on their fasting glucose or A1C level.  Nearly half (48.3%) of adults aged 65 years or older had prediabetes.

Early Detection Decreases Long Term Risks

Diabetes increases your risk for many serious health problems.  Early detection and treatment can decrease the risk of developing the complications of diabetes.

With the correct treatment and recommended lifestyle changes, many people with diabetes are able to prevent or delay the onset of complications which can affect your skin, eyes and feet.  Diabetes can also cause high blood pressure, kidney disease and stroke.  Diabetes remains the 7th leading cause of death in the United States.

Benefits of A1C Testing

Getting out in front and managing your elevated blood glucose levels minimizes the occurrence of complications and allows most individuals to lead normal lives.  Testing provides an average A1C value based on a person’s glucose levels for the previous two months.  An A1C value of 5.7% to 6.4% is considered pre-diabetic, with 6.5% or greater indicating a person has diabetes.

Who should be tested?

Blood-glucose-finger-prick-testThere are a number of symptoms that may indicate you are pre-diabetic or diabetic. These are …

  • Urinating often
  • Feeling very thirsty
  • Feeling very hungry – even though you are eating
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Blurry vision
  • Cuts/bruises that are slow to heal
  • Weight loss – even though you are eating more (type 1)
  • Tingling, pain, or numbness in the hands/feet (type 2)

Kimi Hathaway, President/OwnerIf you experience any of these symptoms, it is recommended you see a doctor immediately.

Blackbird Clinical Services Offers A1C Testing

For a limited time Blackbird Clinical Services is offering FREE instant/finger stick A1C testing.  Contact Blackbird at 765-447-8700 and request a free A1C test and we’ll schedule an appointment for you.  If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to call.

 

woman with scale crop 370

It’s Not Just About Watching the Scale

woman holding scaleHaving a healthy body weight is a challenge for many, many people.  Trying to maintain your ideal weight takes a combination of eating right, exercising regularly and being active.

But determining if you are at a healthy weight is not always about just the number on the scale.  There are other means available to help each of us assess what weight is ideal for our height, age, gender and body type.

How Much Should I Weigh?

The CDC estimates 3/4 of the American population will likely be overweight or obese by 2020. The latest figures from the CDC as of 2014 show that more than one-third (36.5%) of U.S. adults age 20 and older and 17% of children and adolescents aged 2–19 years were obese.

Individuals who are obese are at a greater risk of developing diabetes, stroke, heart disease, high blood pressure, arthritis and some cancers.  The risk factors for all these conditions go down when our weight is where it should be.

There are several ways to assess your body fat levels.  Learn more by reading further about these measurement processes and what they can tell you. For a great video on this topic go to “How Much Should I Weigh?” 

Body Mass Index (BMI)

Body Mass Index (BMI) is one of the most common means of calculating your body fat levels.

BMI does not measure body fat directly, but research has shown that BMI is moderately correlated with more direct measures of body fat.  For most people BMI appears to be strongly correlated with various adverse health outcomes consistent with these more direct measures of body fatness.

BMI equationBMI is a person’s weight divided by their height (squared). A high BMI can be an indicator of high body fat content.

  • BMI is less than 18.5, underweight range
  • BMI is 18.5 to <25, normal
  • BMI is 25.0 to <30, overweight range
  • BMI is 30.0 or higher, obese range

Determine your BMI by finding your height and weight in this BMI Index Chart.

Waist-Hip Ratio (WHR)

A waist-hip measurement is the ratio of your waist measurement to that of your hips. You measure the smallest circumference of your waist, usually just above your belly button, and divide that total by the circumference of your hips at their widest part.

For example, if a woman’s waist is 28 inches and her hips are 36 inches, her WHR is 28 divided by 36 = 0.77.  Based on the categories below, she would be at low risk of having cardiovascular heath problems.

Below is a breakdown of WHR linked to risk of cardiovascular health problems.

guy measuring waistFor Men ….

  • Less than 0.9 – low risk of cardiovascular health problems
  • 0.9 to 0.99 – moderate risk of cardiovascular health problems
  • 1 or over – high risk of cardiovascular problems

For Women ….

  • Less than 0.8 – low risk of cardiovascular health problems
  • 0.8 to 0.89 – moderate risk of cardiovascular health problems
  • 0.9 or over – high risk of cardiovascular problems

Various studies have shown that people with apple-shaped bodies, who have larger WHRs, have higher health risks compared to people with pear-shaped bodies who have lower WHRs. An apple-shaped person will have more fat accumulating on the waist, while a pear-shaped person has the fat accumulating on the hips.

Although WHR does not accurately measure a person’s total body fat percentage, or their muscle-to-fat ratio, it is a better predictor of ideal weight and health risks than BMI.

Waist-to-Height Ratio

Another measurement that has proven to be a better predictor of future heart disease and diabetes risk than BMI is waist-to-height ratio.  Keeping your waist circumference to less than half your height can help increase life expectancy and overall quality of life. For instance:

  • A man 6ft (72 inches, 183 cm) tall, should keep his waist measurement below 36 inches (91 cm)
  • A woman 5ft 4 inches, i.e. 64 inches (163 cm) tall, should keep her waist measurement below 32 inches (81 cm)

In general it is recommended that women’s waistlines don’t exceed 35”; and men’s should be 40” or less.

Body Fat Percentage

body fat scaleMany experts believe that calculating people’s body fat percentage is the best way to gauge their fitness level because it is the only measurement that includes the body’s true composition.

Any male whose body fat percentage is over 25% or female over 31% is either overweight or possibly obese.

Your body fat percentage is the weight of your fat divided by your total weight. Many gyms and doctor’s practices have devices that can tell you your body fat percentage.

The American Council on Exercise has established these ranges for Body Fat Percentages.body fat % chart

How Can We Help?

Blackbird Clinical Services offers Biometric Testing that will calculate Body Fat % and BMI, along with blood pressure, glucose/blood sugar and cholesterol levels.  To learn more about this service go to Biometric Services and to discuss setting up an appointment go to Wellness Biometric Testing.