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National Cholesterol Education Month

Back in 1913, researchers first discovered the detrimental role cholesterol plays in our health. Despite advancements in cholesterol-busting medications, it continues to be linked with high rates of cardiovascular disease in the United States and across the world. 

To raise more awareness and educate the public about cholesterol and the best practices for cardiovascular disease prevention, September is deemed National Cholesterol Education Month.

Nearly one in three American adults has high cholesterol. Many of them don’t even know it. 

What is Cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a waxy substance found naturally in the blood and, believe it or not, is vital for the normal functioning of the body. Cholesterol is essential for maintaining a healthy body. However, when the cholesterol level in your blood becomes too high, it can cause serious and life-threatening problems.

LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol: This is considered the “bad cholesterol” — it carries cholesterol from the liver into the bloodstream, where it can stick to the blood vessels.

HDL (high-density lipoprotein) cholesterol: This is the “good cholesterol” that, on the other hand, carries the cholesterol in the blood back to the liver, where it is broken down.

Research has indicated that high cholesterol can increase the risk of:

  • Heart attack
  • Strokes
  • Atherosclerosis
  • Transient ischemic attacks
  • Peripheral arterial disease

Cholesterol is predominantly produced in the liver, but it can also be found in foods such as red meat, high-fat cheese, butter, and eggs.

Cholesterol Busters

Some of the risk factors, such as age, family history, or other health problems, can’t be controlled, but there are numerous ways to reduce the risk of having high cholesterol. They include:

Diet – There are two types of fats in food, saturated and unsaturated. Avoid foods containing saturated fats, as they will increase the levels of “bad cholesterol” in the blood.

Foods that are high in unsaturated fat and reduce the risk of high cholesterol include:

  • Nuts and seeds
  • Oily fish
  • Oats
  • Fruits and vegetables

 

  • Exercise – Moderate physical activity can help raise levels of “good cholesterol” in the blood. Adding exercise to daily routines, even for short intervals, will help make a difference. Good examples include swimming, cycling, and walking.
  • Stop smoking – Smoking stops HDL from transporting fatty deposits to the liver, leading to high cholesterol and narrowing of the arteries. This can increase the risk of suffering from heart attacks and strokes. The benefits of stopping smoking appear early too. In fact, within a year of quitting, the risk of heart disease is half that of a smoker.

Get Tested

High cholesterol has no signs or symptoms. The only way to know if you have high cholesterol is to take a simple blood test. The Centers for Disease Control recommends adults aged 20 years or older have their cholesterol checked every five years. Testing should be done yearly if there is an established history of high cholesterol. 

Total cholesterol levels less than 200 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) are considered desirable for adults. A reading between 200 and 239 mg/dL is considered borderline high, and a reading of 240 mg/dL and above is considered too high.

The Cholesterol (Lipid) Panel offered by Any Lab Test Now is a convenient way to discover cholesterol levels and track them on a regular basis. A doctor’s order is not needed, so there is no need to take the extra step of going to a primary care physician to get a prescription for blood work. No appointment is necessary at Any Lab Test Now — walk-ins are always welcome. Test results are back within 24–72 hours. Then, they can be shared with a physician who can determine the best course of action, which may include medication and some of the cholesterol-busting actions outlined above. 

Be at Ease

Any Lab Test Now wants you to be at ease when it comes to seeking out any type of lab work, including determining cholesterol levels. 

We provide you a safe and clean alternative location for lab work. Each of our 190+ stores is sanitized several times a day, in accordance with the CDC’s protocols. Any Lab Test Now is a committed partner in helping you manage your family’s healthcare so you can make educated decisions that will directly affect your quality of life. We want to put you at ease during the coronavirus pandemic. We are here to help. 

For more information about Any Lab Test Now, and the tests we offer, visit us at www.anylabtestnow.com.

Managing Chronic Diseases With Lab Testing

Six in 10 adults in the United States are living with a chronic disease. Many of those diseases require routine monitoring to reduce complications and manage their conditions.

Routine lab testing through providers like Any Lab Test Now® is often the starting point for care—driving diagnosis and proper treatment for millions of patients.

Here are some of the chronic conditions that can be managed with regular lab testing.

Heart Disease

Heart disease is a condition that is responsible for one in four deaths in the United States. To effectively monitor this condition, regular testing is critical. For patients at risk of developing heart disease, routine monitoring can help keep track of a wide variety of key markers in the blood that can be used to advance preventative measures, including lifestyle changes that can ultimately reduce a patient’s risk of heart disease.

The Cholesterol (Lipid) Panel at Any Lab Test Now can be used as a baseline assessment of heart health. This panel includes the following components:

  • Cholesterol, Total – total cholesterol is used to help predict an individual’s risk of developing heart disease.
  • Triglycerides – Triglycerides are a form of fat and a major source of energy for the body.
  • HDL Cholesterol – HDL cholesterol is often termed “good” cholesterol. The test for HDL cholesterol measures the amount of HDL in the blood.
  • LDL-Cholesterol (calculated) – LDL is considered to be undesirable and is often called “bad” cholesterol because it deposits excess cholesterol in blood vessel walls and contributes to hardening of the arteries and heart disease.
  • Cholesterol/HDL Ratio (calculated).

Diabetes

Blood glucose testing is part of a daily protocol for the more than 30 million Americans living with diabetes. But there are certain tests diabetics cannot perform at home that are needed to properly manage the disease, which is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States. 

The main diagnostic test is the hemoglobin A1c test, which can provide key information to determine if the diabetes is under control. It measures your average blood glucose, or blood sugar, level over the past three months. 

The A1c test is part of the four-part Any Lab Test Now Diabetes Maintenance Panel. Also included in this panel is:

  • Complete Blood Count (CBC) – Tests for blood disorders such as infection or anemia.
  • Comprehensive Metabolic Panel (CMP) – Can determine how well the kidneys and liver are working, measures electrolyte levels, and the balance of acid and base in the blood. 
  • Diabetic Urinalysis will determine if albumin (protein) is found in the blood.

Thyroid Disease

The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland located in the front part of your neck. The thyroid produces hormones that regulate many important functions in the body, including metabolism, which is linked to weight, body temperature, and energy level. Thyroid blood tests can help determine if hypothyroidism (too few thyroid hormones) or hyperthyroidism (too many) are present.

More than 20 million people in the United States have a thyroid disorder. Blood tests like the Thyroid Panel offered by Any Lab Test Now are one of the most accurate ways to manage thyroid disorders. 

Testing on a regular basis is important if:

  • You are taking medication for a thyroid disorder. Regular testing can fine-tune your treatment so that you feel better.
  • If you have a diagnosed thyroid disorder or have had previous treatment for an overactive thyroid, it is important to have a blood test every 12 months or as advised by your doctor.

Be at Ease

Any Lab Test Now wants you to be at ease when it comes to seeking out any type of lab work, including routine testing to better manage chronic diseases.

We provide you a safe and clean alternative location for lab work. Each of our 190+ stores is sanitized several times a day, in accordance with the CDC’s protocols. Any Lab Test Now is a committed partner in helping you manage your family’s healthcare so you can make educated decisions that will directly affect your quality of life. We want to put you at ease during the coronavirus pandemic. We are here to help. 

For more information about Any Lab Test Now, and the tests we offer, visit us at www.anylabtestnow.com.

A Tale of Two Viruses: Fast Facts About COVID-19 and the Flu

As more people get vaccinated against COVID-19 and the risk of infection lessens, concerns remain about the return of a health threat we have come to expect every year: the flu.

The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat, and sometimes the lungs. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death.

Thanks to public health measures such as social distancing, improved hygiene habits, and mask-wearing, the 2020–2021 flu season slowed to remarkably low levels. The United States recorded about 6,000 deaths from influenza last season compared to 22,000 deaths the year before.

Flu season runs from October through May. Health experts agree that the best way of preventing flu is by getting a flu vaccine each year.

Because each year’s flu vaccine is based on strains that circulated the previous year, health officials are not sure how the 2021–2022 flu vaccine will perform since it is based on far fewer cases than in a common year.

Conversely with fewer flu virus particles circulating, experts believe there is less chance of an upcoming mutation, so it is possible this season’s vaccine will prove extra effective. That is, if people choose to get it.

Each year, just under half the population gets a flu vaccine, even though the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends an annual flu shot for almost everyone over the age of 6 months. 

According to CDC, the following people are at high risk for developing influenza-related complications: 

  • Children younger than 5, but especially children younger than 2 years old
  • Adults 65 years of age and older
  • Pregnant women (and women up to two weeks postpartum)
  • Residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities
  • Also, American Indians and Alaskan Natives seem to be at higher risk of influenza complications

People who have the following medical conditions are also at high risk for the flu: 

  • Asthma 
  • Neurological and neuro-developmental conditions [including disorders of the brain, spinal cord, peripheral nerve, and muscle such as cerebral palsy, epilepsy (seizure disorders), stroke, intellectual disability (mental retardation), moderate to severe developmental delay, muscular dystrophy, or spinal cord injury]
  • Chronic lung disease (such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease [COPD] and cystic fibrosis) 
  • Heart disease (such as congenital heart disease, congestive heart failure, and coronary artery disease) 
  • Blood disorders (such as sickle cell disease) 
  • Endocrine disorders (such as diabetes mellitus) 
  • Kidney disorders 
  • Liver disorders 
  • Metabolic disorders (such as inherited metabolic disorders and mitochondrial disorders) 
  • Weakened immune system due to disease or medication (such as people with HIV or AIDS, or cancer, or those on chronic steroids) 
  • People younger than 19 years of age who are receiving long-term aspirin therapy
  • People who are morbidly obese (Body Mass Index of 40 or greater) 

Taking preventative measures against the flu will be important now that we still continue to contend with COVID-19. Even though there is a vaccine for COVID-19, experts still don’t know how long it will provide protection or when a booster will be needed.

Double Threat 

Did you know it is possible to get sick with both the flu and COVID-19 at the same time? Although both viruses are spread through droplets from an infected person and share similar symptoms, they use different receptors on our cells once inside the body. This allows for a double infection in the same person.

The flu and COVID-19 are both contagious respiratory illnesses that share many of the same signs and symptoms such as dry cough, fever, and shortness of breath. Some of the distinct differences include: 

  • A loss of smell and taste is a symptom connected to COVID-19 and is considered rare among flu sufferers.
  • Nasal congestion and a runny nose are symptoms associated with the flu not seen in COVID-19 patients.
  • Flu symptoms come on rapidly, whereas symptoms for COVID-19 can take upwards of 14 days to appear.

It is important to know which virus is at play when feeling sick. Many of the mass testing locations across the country have been shut down. Any Lab Test Now® remains one of the testing locations people can turn to in order to find out if they are possibly dealing with a COVID-19 infection or the flu. Come in for a Comprehensive Metabolic Panel, which is an all-around test typically included in an annual physical exam. As the world reopens and students head back to school, the lasting effects of COVID-19 are unknown. This general test can provide some insight regarding your overall health. 

Be at Ease 

Any Lab Test Now wants you to be at ease when it comes to seeking out any type of lab work.

We provide you a safe and clean alternative location for lab work. Each of our 190+ stores is sanitized several times a day, in accordance with the CDC’s protocols. Any Lab Test Now is a committed partner in helping you manage your family’s healthcare so you can make educated decisions that will directly affect your quality of life. We want to put you at ease during the coronavirus pandemic. We are here to help.

For more information about Any Lab Test Now, and the tests we offer, visit us at www.anylabtestnow.com.

COVID-19 and the Vaccine-Generated Antibody Test

Have you received one of the Pfizer, Moderna, or Johnson & Johnson vaccines in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic? If so, you may be wondering if your body has developed antibodies.

Select Any Lab Test Now® locations are now offering the Vaccine-Generated Antibody Test to help you determine if you have antibodies.

Use our location finder to locate an Any Lab Test Now near you.

Want to learn even more about antibodies? See our simple infographic below! You can also read more in our CEO’s COVID-19 update!

Diet Check – The Key Protein that Could be Making You Sick

Gluten-free has been a buzzword for several years. From bread to pasta to desserts, a gluten-free lifestyle is one of the most popular diet trends in the United States. One in five people claim that they reduce or eliminate gluten in their diet.

Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, or rye. While some remove gluten from their diet as part of a growing trend, there are a whole group of people who depend on this eating regime as a form of treatment for a chronic autoimmune disease called celiac disease.

Celiac disease is a disorder in which eating gluten triggers an immune response in the body and creates inflammation and damage to the small intestine — blocking the absorption of essential nutrients. It is also not to be confused with an allergy or an intolerance. It is much more serious and is similar to other autoimmune conditions such as diabetes or rheumatoid arthritis. 

One in 100 people worldwide have celiac disease. Eighty percent of Americans suffer from it and don’t even know it. Symptoms of celiac disease can build over time. The disease can present itself at any age, from infancy to even well into your senior years.

Symptoms of Celiac Disease

It can be hard to separate the symptoms of celiac disease from common tummy troubles. Not to mention that there are some 200 symptoms that can be associated with the disease — making diagnosis tricky. 

In young children, some of the first signs of celiac disease can include slow growth, weight loss, diarrhea, constipation, and possibly a bloated looking belly. 

In adults, the most common symptoms include weight loss, chronic diarrhea, abdominal cramping, bloating, gas, weakness, and fatigue. 

Some of the less common but more significant symptoms can include leg numbness, muscle cramps, anemia, joint pain, ulcers in the mouth, and seizures. Celiac disease can also cause a skin disorder called dermatitis herpetiformis, which appears as small blisters on the elbows, knees, and feet.

Making this disease even more complicated is the fact that a significant portion of people will have few or no symptoms of the disease that is silently ravaging the body.

Time to Get Tested

If you suspect you have celiac disease or you’ve been dealing with health issues that don’t seem to be improving, you should get tested. Preliminary testing for celiac disease requires a simple blood test — like the one offered at Any Lab Test Now®. The Celiac Disease Panel is accurate, affordable, and available without a doctor’s prescription. You don’t even need an appointment at Any Lab Test Now in order to get tested. Once you get your results, you can share with your doctor.  

Treatment for Celiac Disease

The only treatment for celiac disease involves adherence to a gluten-free diet. Thanks to the trendiness of this eating style, there are a wide variety of foods available in grocery stores. Even restaurants cater to gluten-free lifestyles.

Gluten-free means no wheat, rye or barley, or any foods made from these grains, such as most pasta, cereal, and many processed foods. People with celiac disease can use potato, rice, soy, amaranth, quinoa, buckwheat, or bean flour instead of wheat flour. 

Once gluten is removed from the diet, people report feeling better within a matter of days. The small intestine begins to repair the existing damage, and the diet will protect it from further harm. 

Be at Ease

Any Lab Test Now wants you to be at ease when it comes to seeking out any type of lab work, including getting tested for celiac disease. 

We provide you a safe and clean alternative location for lab work. Each of our 190+ stores is sanitized several times a day, in accordance with the CDC’s protocols. Any Lab Test Now is a committed partner in helping you manage your family’s healthcare so you can make educated decisions that will directly affect your quality of life. We want to put you at ease during the coronavirus pandemic. We are here to help. 

Find your closest Any Lab Test Now store at www.anylabtestnow.com.

Educate Yourself About Kidney Disease During National Kidney Month

Kidney Disease: A Dangerous Illness That Can Hit You With No Signs or Symptoms

An estimated 37 million adults in the United States are believed to have chronic kidney disease. The National Kidney Foundation reports that approximately 90 percent of those adults don’t know they have it. This is especially concerning during the coronavirus crisis since kidney disease puts you at greater risk for developing life-threatening complications from COVID-19. 

It is also reported that people with kidney failure had the highest rate of hospitalization for COVID-19 among all Medicare beneficiaries, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). 

Other staggering statistics include:

  • Due to certain risk factors, one in three Americans are at risk for kidney disease.
  • 660,000 people live with kidney failure.
  • 100,000 people are waiting for a kidney transplant.

Kidney disease can strike anyone, young or old, at any time. Risk factors for kidney disease include: diabeteshigh blood pressureheart diseaseobesity, and family history.  Lifestyle changes and a healthy diet can sometimes slow the progression of the disease when caught in the early stages and sometimes can prevent kidney failure. 

Understanding Kidney Function

You have two kidneys; each one is about the size of a fist. They are located on either side of the spine near the lowest point of your ribcage. The main function of the kidneys is to remove waste products and excess fluid from the body through urine. The kidneys also regulate the body’s salt, potassium, and acid content.

Other ways your kidneys keep you healthy include:

  • Activates vitamin D for healthy bones.
  • Directs production of red blood cells.
  • Regulates blood pressure.
  • Keeps blood minerals in balance.

As part of an interrelated system, the kidneys are prone to damage if any disease alters the flow and/or chemistry of blood entering the kidneys or causes direct injury to the kidneys themselves.

Causes of Kidney Disease

Kidney disease occurs when the kidneys cannot function properly. The abnormality usually appears as a protein in the urine. It is also marked by decreased kidney function for three months or more. 

Symptoms of poor kidney function include:

  • Swelling in face, hands, abdomen, ankles, and feet
  • Blood in urine
  • Puffy eyes
  • Difficult, painful urination 
  • Increased thirst 
  • Fatigue

Diabetes is a major risk factor for kidney disease. This is when sustained high levels of blood glucose from uncontrolled diabetes can damage the kidneys and could lead to kidney failure.

Hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, is another risk factor. This condition can damage blood vessels in the kidneys.

Glomerulonephritis is an inflammation of the glomeruli, which are structures of blood vessels in your kidneys. These structures help filter your blood and remove excess fluids. If there is damage to these structures, your kidneys will stop working properly. 

In addition to kidney failure, kidney disease can cause a number of other health issues, including:

  • Nerve damage
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Weak bones
  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • High blood pressure
  • Kidney failure
  • Anemia

Monitoring Kidney Function 

Chronic kidney disease can progress silently over many years, with no signs or symptoms or with ones that are too general for a person to suspect as related to kidney function. However, there are tests available to help you diagnose and manage conditions affecting your kidney function. 

Any Lab Test Now® can be a critical partner for you in your quest to take control of your kidney health. We offer several tests that can help screen for problems. 

One of those tests includes a Renal Function Panel. This is a group of tests performed together to evaluate kidney (renal) function. The test measures the levels of the following substances in the blood to determine the current health of your kidneys.

Minerals:

  • Phosphorus – This mineral is vital to energy production, nerve and muscle function, and bone growth.
  • Calcium – One of the most important minerals in the body. This mineral aids in the proper functioning of muscles and nerves, the formation of bones, and a healthy cardiovascular system.

Protein:

  • Albumin – This protein makes up about 60 percent of the protein in the blood. One of the main functions of albumin is transporting hormones, vitamins, and ions like calcium throughout the body.
  • Electrolytes – These are essential minerals that are vital to normal body function including such as nerve conduction and muscle function. They are also vital to regulating the amount of water in the body for proper acid-base balance.
  • Sodium
  • Potassium
  • Chloride
  • Carbon Dioxide (Total CO)

Waste Products:

  • Blood Urea Nitrogen (BUN) – This is a waste product that is formed from the metabolism of protein, which is then carried to the kidneys and eliminated in the urine.
  • Creatinine – This is also a waste product produced by the body’s muscles and also eliminated by the kidneys.

Carbohydrate:

  • Glucose – This carbohydrate supplies energy to the body. The level of glucose in the blood is used in the diagnosis and treatment of carbohydrate metabolic disorders (i.e., diabetes).

Be at Ease

Any Lab Test Now wants you to be at ease when it comes to seeking out any type of lab work, including determining your kidney function.

We provide you a safe and clean alternative location for lab work. Each of our 190+ stores is sanitized several times a day, in accordance with the CDC’s protocols. Any Lab Test Now is a committed partner in helping you manage your family’s healthcare so you can make educated decisions that will directly affect your quality of life. We want to put you at ease during the coronavirus outbreak. We are here to help.

Find your closest Any Lab Test Now store at www.anylabtestnow.com.

African American History Month Spotlight: Vitamin D Deficiencies and COVID-19

Vitamin D deficiency is now recognized as an epidemic in the United States. When it comes to people of color, the situation is most concerning. 

It is estimated that 82 percent of Blacks and 63 percent of Hispanics are suffering from a vitamin D deficiency, compared to 31 percent of Caucasians.

According to recent studies, most Americans with darker skin tones do not have optimal vitamin D. Several reasons could lead to a deficiency. However, the main reason for people of color is due to the fact that darker pigmentation reduces vitamin D production on the skin. A lack of this important vitamin can lead to a number of serious health issues, not to mention increasing the risk of contracting COVID-19.

What is Vitamin D?

Our bodies need a certain amount of vitamin D to maintain a healthy, functioning immune system. Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that maintains skeletal health. It is often referred to as the “sunshine vitamin” since our bodies naturally produce it when we are exposed to the sun. 

For people with lighter skin tones, only 15 to 20 minutes of sun exposure is needed to produce more than 20,000 IU (500 mcg) of vitamin D. However, it can take three to six times longer for people with darker skin tones to produce the same amount.

Melanin is a pigment that gives everyone their skin, hair, and eye color. The more melanin you have, the darker your skin tone will be. Melanin also acts as a natural sunscreen and protects the skin from sun damage. While that natural SPF is a great thing, the downside is melanin can reduce a person’s ability to make vitamin D from sun exposure by up to 99 percent.

Complications with Vitamin D Deficiency

Deficiency of vitamin D has been implicated in the development of numerous conditions, including autoimmune diseases, diseases of the heart, lungs, metabolism, or kidneys, as well as diabetes and cancer. 

Statistics show people of color are more likely to experience these health complications than Caucasians. Women of color are also more likely to suffer issues during pregnancy and increased fatal outcomes due to a lack of proper vitamin D levels.

There is also growing evidence that proper amounts of vitamin D can lower the risk of viral respiratory tract infections, including COVID-19. In a recent study at the University of Chicago, patients with a vitamin D deficiency were almost twice as likely to test positive for COVID-19 compared the patients whose vitamin D levels were normal.

Other Low Vitamin D Factors 

In addition to skin tone, there are several other factors that can influence your vitamin D levels. 

  • LocationThe further away from the Equator you live, the less vitamin D-producing UVB light reaches the Earth’s surface during the winter. 
  • Air quality The burning of fossil fuels, wood, and other materials scatter carbon particles into the air and absorb UVB rays, diminishing vitamin D production.
  • WeightStudies show that being obese is correlated with low vitamin D levels and that being overweight may affect the bioavailability of vitamin D.
  • AgeOlder people have lower levels of melanin in the skin that converts into vitamin D. Research also suggests older people are less efficient vitamin D producers than younger people.

Know Your Levels

Having your vitamin D blood levels tested is the only way to be certain. Vitamin D testing is not part of a standard doctor visit. However, it is a blood test that is offered by Any Lab Test Now®.

No fasting is required, and you do not need to visit your doctor first to get the test done. Test results generally take between 24 to 72 business hours.

Click here to learn more about Any Lab Test Now’s Vitamin D testing

Be at Ease

At Any Lab Test Now, we understand that people may have concerns about going to a healthcare facility during the coronavirus pandemic. You can be at ease knowing that we are providing you a safe and clean location for your lab work. Each of our 190+ stores are sanitized several times a day, in accordance with the CDC’s protocols. When you get your test results, you can easily make a telemedicine appointment with your physician and share the details. Any Lab Test Now is a committed partner in helping you to make educated healthcare decisions that can benefit your quality of life.

Find your closest Any Lab Test Now store at www.anylabtestnow.com.

Don’t Let Your FSA Money Go to Waste

2020 is almost over.  Don’t let your FSA money go to waste!  

Due to the pandemic, many people are finding themselves with a higher-than-usual balance in their flexible spending accounts (FSA) at this point in the year.

The coronavirus has turned 2020 upside-down. Fewer people have been visiting doctors’ offices. Elective surgeries were postponed. Other services, including daycares, which are eligible for FSA dollars, closed down.  This has many worried about the tax-free dollars they haven’t used and stand to lose.

For example, during last year’s open enrollment, a parent may have put aside $2,500 in pre-tax income in a flexible spending account to help pay for childcare for the year ahead. When daycares closed due to the pandemic, that money wasn’t spent. Even if the daycare reopened, it is likely the parent is concerned about how to spend the money by the end of the year so as not to lose it.

There are plenty of ways to spend your money wisely and still meet the deadline for flexible spending accounts while gathering some vital information that will help you take control of your health. We are talking about lab tests, which are covered under your FSA.

Here are five tests from Any Lab Test Now you could take that would show a baseline you could share with your physician.

Annual Check-Up Panel

If you weren’t able to make it to your doctor for an annual physical and blood work due to COVID concerns, this is the test for you. The Annual Check-Up Panel evaluates your overall health by establishing a baseline for a number of very important tests, including your blood counts, kidney function, liver function, electrolytes, total cholesterol, triglycerides, HDL, LDL and thyroid function. Fluctuations in these could signal problems.

Cholesterol Tests

The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends all adults get their cholesterol checked every four to six years. If you have a family history of high cholesterol, it is a good idea to get tested annually.  If untested, high cholesterol can go completely undetected until an emergency event such as a heart attack or stroke. High cholesterol can lead to plaque building up in your arteries, which will eventually cause damage to your body. If you do have high cholesterol, you can get started on medication or a diet plan to help reverse it.

Basic Nutritional Panel

Dairy-free, gluten-free, vegan, keto – the list of alternative eating lifestyles is growing. Many people choose diets that avoid specific foods. While it’s possible to get a wide variety of nutrients when eating this way, removing a food group from your diet can result in deficiencies of necessary nutrients. This panel will test for a variety of nutrients and vitamins, including iron and vitamins B12 and D, three of the most common deficiencies in the United States.

Vitamins, Minerals and Nutrition Lab Tests

Most of us realize we need vitamins and minerals to keep our bodies healthy. But, unless you know the specific and sometimes unusual signs, you may not realize is what vitamins and minerals your body is deficient in. Signs can include hair loss, lack of energy and slow wound healing. The qualified professionals at Any Lab Test Now can help you determine which test is most appropriate for your diet and lifestyle.

Allergy Tests

Allergies can develop at any point in your life. Allergies usually first appear early in life and become a lifelong issue. However, allergies can start unexpectedly as an adult. A family history of allergies puts you at a higher risk of developing allergies at some point in your life. At Any Lab Test Now, you can get tested and determine what is causing your allergies to act up.

Be at Ease

With all the options we have to offer, you’ll get the most out of your FSA dollars! And with your test results in hand, you can get the proper medications and start making lifestyle changes to ease your symptoms.

You can also be at ease when it comes to seeking out any type of lab work at Any Lab Test Now.

We provide you a safe and clean alternative location for lab work. Each of our 185+ stores is sanitized several times a day, in accordance with the CDC’s protocols. Any Lab Test Now is a committed partner in helping you manage your family’s healthcare so you can make educated decisions that will directly affect your quality of life. We want to put you at ease during the coronavirus outbreak. We are here to help.

Find your closest Any Lab Test Now store at www.anylabtestnow.com.

 

Food Sensitivity Testing: Your Body and Your Diet

Have you ever felt “off” after eating a meal? Maybe you’ve experienced an upset stomach, acid reflux, heartburn or some less-than-pleasant symptoms that send you rushing to the restroom. It might be time to figure out if you are sensitive or even intolerant to certain types of foods.

There are three types of health issues associated with food — food allergies, food sensitivity and food intolerance. It is important to know the differences.

Food Allergies

Food allergy symptoms are immediate and can range from minor to life-threatening. A food allergy is an immune response to a specific food, which triggers a histamine reaction with potentially severe symptoms like anaphylaxis or hives. People who suffer from common food allergies typically know about their allergens based on the extreme reactions and immediate response times.

While most food allergies start in childhood, many adults develop an allergy to a food they’ve eaten before with no issues.

The most common food allergies in adults are peanuts, fish, shellfish (shrimp or lobster) and tree nuts (almonds, walnuts, pecans and cashews).

People with extreme food allergies require an EpiPen — which contains epinephrine. This injection is given at the first sign of symptoms so the medication can shut down the body’s allergic response.

Food Intolerance

Sometimes confused with a food allergy is food intolerance. The difference is food allergies involve the immune system, while food intolerance involves the digestive system. A food intolerance reaction can occur if you don’t have enough of the specific enzymes needed to break down a food. This can lead to symptoms such as intestinal gas, abdominal pain or diarrhea.

It is estimated that up to 20 percent of the world’s population may have a food intolerance. While there are many foods people can have an intolerance to, here are eight foods that are the most common causes of digestive issues.

Dairy – Lactose intolerance is extremely common. People with this condition have a shortage of lactase enzymes, which causes an inability to digest lactose and results in digestive discomfort.

Gluten – People with an intolerance to gluten have trouble digesting a protein found in several grains such as wheat, barley, rye and triticale. It is known as non-celiac gluten sensitivity. This is different from celiac disease, which is an autoimmune disease related to gluten or a wheat allergy. People can also have a sensitivity to gluten. Testing is the only way to figure out which of the three types is bothering you.

Caffeine – This stimulant is found in a wide variety of beverages, including coffee, soda, tea and energy drinks. Most people can safely consume up to 400 mg of caffeine a day without any side effects. However, people with a caffeine intolerance can experience extreme reactions, such as rapid heartbeat and anxiety, after consuming even the smallest amount.

Salicylates – These are natural chemicals found in a wide range of foods, including fruits, vegetables, teas, coffee, spices, nuts and honey. However, some people are extremely sensitive to these compounds and develop adverse reactions when they consume even small amounts. Reactions can trigger hives and even asthma attacks.

Amines – These are produced by bacteria during food storage and fermentation and found in a wide variety of foods. The most common type of amine associated with food intolerance is histamine. It will build up in the bodies of people who can’t metabolize it properly, causing many symptoms, including stomach cramps and possibly low blood pressure. People with a histamine intolerance should avoid foods high in this natural chemical, such as fermented foods, avocados and citrus.

FODMAPs – An acronym for Fermentable Oligo-, Di-, Mono-Saccharides and Polyols — FODMAP intolerances are common in people who eventually get diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome, a.k.a. IBS. FODMAPs are a group of short-chain carbohydrates found naturally in many foods that can cause digestive distress. Apples, soft cheeses, milk and beer are examples of foods high in FODMAPs.

Sulfites – These are chemicals usually used as a preservative. They are added to foods and beverages to prevent spoilage caused by bacteria. Because a sulfite intolerance is very common in people with asthma, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) mandates that the use of sulfites must be declared on the label of any food that contains sulfites or where sulfites were used during the processing of food.

Fructose – This is a simple sugar found in fruits and vegetables, as well as sweeteners like honey, agave and high-fructose corn syrup. In people with fructose intolerance, fructose isn’t efficiently absorbed into the blood and causes digestive distress.

Food Sensitivity

The terms food sensitivity and food intolerance are often used interchangeably. However, there is a slight distinction between the two.

Food sensitivities involve the immune system, while food intolerances involve the digestive system. And unlike with food allergies, which trigger IgG antibodies, food sensitivities involve immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibodies. Also, food sensitivities can cause reactions hours or days later.

Specific foods may create an immune reaction that generates a multitude of symptoms. The symptoms are not life-threatening, but they can be quite disruptive and include joint pain, stomach pain, fatigue, rashes and brain fog.

Get Tested

If you are struggling to identify which foods are a problem for you, an easy solution is to get tested.

Any Lab Test Now offers a variety of tests to help you determine whether you have a food allergy, food sensitivity or food intolerance.

The Food Sensitivity and Intolerance Panel is a simple blood test that measures the body’s cellular reactivity to the foods in the 100 Food Panel.

Any Lab Test Now also offers the Comprehensive Combination Allergy Panel IgE tests to uncover food allergies.

Be at Ease

Any Lab Test Now wants you to be at ease when it comes to seeking out any type of lab work, including finding out what foods may be affecting your digestive health.

We provide you a safe and clean alternative location for lab work. Each of our 185+ stores is sanitized several times a day, in accordance with the CDC’s protocols. Any Lab Test Now is a committed partner in helping you manage your family’s healthcare so you can make educated decisions that will directly affect your quality of life. We want to put you at ease during the coronavirus outbreak. We are here to help.

Find your closest Any Lab Test Now store at www.anylabtestnow.com.

Understanding Diabetes

Diabetes – The Chronic Condition That Can Strike at Any Age

About one out of every ten people have diabetes. However, one out of every five of those people do not realize they have this potentially deadly condition. In fact, diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States.

To educate people about the disease, November is designated Diabetes Awareness Month. Diabetes can strike anyone, at any age.

Let’s start with the basics. What exactly is diabetes?

Diabetes is a chronic health condition that causes higher than average blood sugar levels. Normally, your body produces insulin from the pancreas to help regulate the blood sugar. Insulin acts like a key to open your cells to allow the blood sugar to enter so you can use it for energy. If you have diabetes, your pancreas either doesn’t make enough insulin or cannot effectively use its own insulin.

There are two main forms of diabetes, with very different causes, symptoms and treatments.

Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes is an auto-immune disease, and while there are treatments to manage it, there is no cure. About 5 percent of people who have diabetes have type 1 diabetes — or insulin-dependent diabetes. In the past, type 1 diabetes was called juvenile diabetes, because patients often found out they had it during childhood, but people of all ages can develop type 1 diabetes.

In type 1 diabetes, the pancreas produces no insulin. The reason? The body’s immune system attacks the insulin-producing islet cells in the pancreas. The islet cells sense glucose in the blood and produce the right amount of insulin to normalize blood sugars. Once the insulin-producing cells are destroyed, a person can no longer produce their own insulin. Without insulin, sugar stays in the blood and builds up.

Complications of Type 1 Diabetes

If left untreated, high blood sugar levels can cause health complications and internal damage.

Blindness is a common diabetes complication. Diabetes is also a leading cause of kidney failure. Many people with diabetes have impaired sensation in the hands and feet, including neuropathy.

Diabetes can also cause digestive problems, erectile dysfunction, and fertility issues. The conditions also increase the risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke. Diabetes can also lead to amputation of toes and feet. In extreme cases, it can also lead to coma and death.

Signs of Type 1 Diabetes

Symptoms of type 1 diabetes often appear suddenly. The most common symptoms are:

  • Increased thirst
  • Increased urination
  • Bed-wetting may occur in children who have already been toilet trained
  • Rapid and unexplained weight loss
  • Extreme hunger
  • Extreme weakness or fatigue
  • Unusual irritability
  • Blurred vision
  • Nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain
  • Fruity breath odor

Treatment of Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes is treated by taking daily insulin injections or using an insulin pump or other device to replace the insulin no longer created naturally. A healthy diet and regular exercise can also help control blood sugar levels.

If you take too much insulin, then your blood sugar can drop to a dangerously low level. This is called hypoglycemia, and it can be life-threatening. If you take too little insulin, your blood sugar can rise to a dangerously high level. Your cells are not getting the sugar, or energy, they need. This is called hyperglycemia.

You will work with your doctor to determine the proper insulin dose and delivery method.

Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes.  About 90 percent of people with diabetes have type 2, or non-insulin-dependent diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is also called adult-onset diabetes, since it typically develops after age 35. Type 2 diabetes is typically tied to people who are overweight, with a sedentary lifestyle. People with type 2 diabetes are able to produce some of their own insulin, but often it’s not enough.

Signs of Type 2 Diabetes

Many of the symptoms of type 2 diabetes are similar to those of type 1 diabetes. The difference is the onset of the condition. Type 2 diabetes usually presents more slowly, and the symptoms are not as noticeable as those for type 1 diabetes. For these reasons, many people mistakenly overlook the warning signs. They also might think that the symptoms are the signs of other conditions, like aging, overworking or hot weather. The complications of type 2 diabetes mirror those of type 1.

A combination of risk factors can increase the likelihood of type 2 diabetes. They include:

  • Being overweight
  • Family history
  • Physically inactive
  • Age 45 or older

Treatment of Type 2 Diabetes

One of the biggest differences between type 1 and type 2 diabetes is the approach to treatment. The majority of treatment programs for type 2 diabetes focus on diet, exercise and weight loss as well as improving ways to better use the insulin the body already produces to normalize blood sugar levels. If blood sugar levels are still high, medications can help the body use its own insulin more efficiently. In some cases, insulin injections are necessary. Unlike type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes can be reversed.

Prediabetes

Prediabetes means that your body is showing signs that could lead to type 2 diabetes. In prediabetes, there is too much glucose in the blood, but not as much as in diabetes.

People with prediabetes often have no symptoms at all. Your health care provider may decide to test you for prediabetes because of your age, weight, family history of diabetes or other health factors.

Not everyone with prediabetes will get diabetes, but the risk increases, especially if they don’t make lifestyle changes.

There are four main ways people with prediabetes can manage their condition:

  • Eating well
  • Getting active
  • Weight loss
  • Medications

Diabetes Testing

Now, with COVID-19 concerns, it is even more important than ever to take control of your health. People with diabetes face a higher chance of experiencing serious complications from COVID-19. If you’ve been concerned that you might have diabetes but are afraid to go to the doctor for fear of contracting COVID-19, Any Lab Test Now provides a safer alternative and a wide variety of testing options.

Any Lab Test Now offers six specialized lab tests you can take and share the results with your doctor.

Diabetes Maintenance Panel – this provides a complete blood count, Glucose-Serum, Hemoglobin A1c, and a Diabetic Urinalysis. This is an effective panel for diabetics, and also for those who want to see if they have diabetes.

Diabetic Urinalysis (Microalbumin) – this tests for the protein albumin in the urine. It’s something that the kidneys usually filter out, so if it shows up in the results, it can point to potential diabetes complications like kidney disease.

Glucose Blood Test – this is the most common diabetes test. Additionally, diabetics self-conduct this test multiple times a day to monitor their blood glucose levels.

Glucose Tolerance Test – this is a way to check how your body metabolizes sugar. First, a blood sample is collected, then you’ll be given a cup of glucose to drink. After that, your blood will be collected again every 30 to 60 minutes. It usually takes up to three hours to complete the test and can confirm diabetes.

Hemoglobin A1c – this test is useful in helping diabetics determine if their disease is under control. It’s a valuable measure of the overall blood glucose levels over a period of several months. The test can also help detect prediabetes and diabetes.

Insulin Lab Test – this test can let you know if your body is producing too much or too little insulin. Too little insulin, also known as insulin resistance, is often associated with type 2 diabetes. If you have prediabetes, this test can be used to monitor whether diet and lifestyle changes are having a great enough impact to reverse or improve your condition.

 Be at Ease

Any Lab Test Now wants you to be at ease when it comes to seeking out any type of lab work, including testing for diabetes.

We provide you a safe and clean alternative location for lab work. Each of our 185+ stores is sanitized several times a day, in accordance with the CDC’s protocols. Any Lab Test Now is a committed partner in helping you manage your family’s healthcare so you can make educated decisions that will directly affect your quality of life. We want to put you at ease during the coronavirus outbreak. We are here to help.