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Returning to Work, Even from Home?

Employers May Still Require Drug & Alcohol Testing

As more and more offices open post-pandemic, there is a good chance that employers might implement new return-to-work policies, procedures, and protocols — and that includes drug testing.

While many employers conduct drug and alcohol testing as part of standard pre-employment screening processes, it is a good possibility testing could be a requirement to return to the office or to monitor those working from home.

Employers’ drug testing slowed down during the pandemic for several reasons, including COVID-19 safety concerns and unemployment. A recent survey found a 61 percent drop or more in drug testing among employers. Conversely, drug and alcohol use increased during the pandemic as people turned to vices to self-medicate or cope with the stress created by the national health crisis.

  • Sales of alcoholic beverages shot up as much as 55 percent in March 2020. Sales remain 20–30 percent higher this year than in March
  • Americans purchased $18.3 billion in cannabis products over the past calendar year, $7.6 billion more than the $10.7 billion in sales the previous year.
  • Data shows a 29 percent increase in overdose deaths from October 2019 through September 2020, compared with the previous 12-month period after falling slightly in 2018 for the first time in decades.

Drug and alcohol screenings are important. These tests help employers provide the safest possible work environment for employees, visitors, and customers. Here are some of the effects drug use can have on returning workers:

  • Greater risk of a workplace accident
  • Lower productivity
  • Increased absenteeism
  • Higher medical costs

Employers need a policy against the use of drugs while working from home or at the workplace — especially now that the pandemic is winding down. Employers should also clearly restate the company drug and alcohol policy to employees to clear up any misconceptions.

Any Lab Test Now® is a direct access lab testing company that can manage pre-employment drug testing, random testing programs, reasonable suspicion tests, post-incident and return-to-duty drug and alcohol testing for employers nationwide.

The most common employment-related drug test is the Urine Drug Test (5-Panel), which checks for the presence of five drug metabolites including:

  • Amphetamine/Methamphetamines
  • Marijuana
  • Cocaine
  • Opiates
  • Phencyclidine (PCP)

The company’s 10-drug panel tests may also include screenings for phencyclidine (PCP), methadone, propoxyphene, and methaqualone.

Any Lab Test Now is also qualified to provide testing for the Department of Transportation as part of its Federally Mandated Urine Drug Test (5-Panel). This test is a laboratory-based test and includes a screen, confirmation, and the review of a medical officer.

The company can also administer the Healthcare Professional Drug Panel, specifically designed to test healthcare professionals for highly addictive prescription medications that are readily available at their workplace. The panel will determine the presence or absence of the most easily abused prescription drugs or their metabolites in the urine.

Be at Ease

Any Lab Test Now wants everyone to be at ease when it comes to seeking out any type of lab work, including drug and alcohol screenings.

We provide 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.

Why Now is a Good Time to Take an STD Test

While Americans were lining up in droves to get tested for COVID-19 during the last year, there was one type of test many people stopped requesting altogether: sexually transmitted disease (STD) tests. Now, health experts fear an undetected spread will lead to a surge in STD case numbers in the future.

In a study from Penn State College of Medicine, researchers reviewed data on more than 18 million STD test results from patients aged 14 to 49 from January 2019 through June 2020; and found screening declines of 63 percent for men and 59 percent for women in the early months of the pandemic. The rest of the 2020 data has not been released yet, but experts expect the numbers will reflect a similar decline.

Despite stay-at-home orders, social distancing, and other pandemic protocols to combat COVID-19, there is growing evidence that people continued to be sexually active with people outside their household. Activity on dating apps soared. One hookup app reported having 11 percent more swipes and 42 percent matches last year, making 2020 its busiest year.

When the pandemic first started, the United States was experiencing record-high rates of STDs, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Rates dropped dramatically toward the end of 2020, but the downturn is a false reflection of the number of people living with STDs. Instead, it reflects the decrease in the number of people who have been tested, not a decrease in the number of people who have contracted an STD. Once testing for STDs returns to pre-pandemic levels, there’s likely to be an increase in diagnosed infections. The fact that some Americans could have been living with an undetected STD could lead to more related health consequences, such as pelvic inflammatory disease, cervical cancer, infertility, and increased risk of HIV.

The best way to stop the spread of STDs is for people to know they have one. Since some people can be infected with STDs without showing symptoms, routine testing is an important part of diagnosis and prevention.

Get Tested

The general rule is that everyone who is sexually active should get tested once a year unless they’ve been in a long-term monogamous relationship and are sure of their partner’s status.

Sexual health is important. There are several STDs you should know about. Click on each of the names below to learn more about the transmission and symptoms.

A Comprehensive STD Panellike the one offered at Any Lab Test Now® tests for all major STDs at one time for one low price. No fasting is required. All test results are kept confidential.

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 STD testing.

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.

Returning to Campus? Here’s What You Need to Know About Immunizations

August is National Immunization Month, and it carries special meaning in 2021; since many students, from kindergarten to college age, are returning to school campuses for the first time since March of 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This commemorative month is an ideal time to make sure everyone is current on the vaccinations that are in place to protect our health.

You may be surprised to learn vaccinations and immunizations are not the same things. Immunization is what happens to the body after a vaccine has been given. It is the process of the body becoming immune to whatever disease the vaccination is designed to prevent.

Vaccinations are one of modern medicine’s greatest achievements and are one of the most successful and cost-effective public health interventions. Currently, two to three million deaths are prevented every year because of the immunization effect of vaccines — this includes deaths from diseases such as diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), influenza, and measles.

In addition to regular immunizations required to start school, kids under age 12 could soon join the rest of the country and become eligible for a COVID vaccine. Whether it will be mandatory for school attendance is still being worked out. For public schools, vaccine mandates are set by states. Private schools operate independently from state requirements and could demand students be vaccinated against COVID as part of enrollment.

The Chronicle of Higher Education database has an ever-evolving list of public and private colleges and universities across the United States that will require students to be vaccinated against COVID-19 in order to register for classes or move into on-campus housing.

Herd Immunity

When a high percentage of the population is immune to an infectious disease, whether from active infection or vaccination, this is considered herd immunity — meaning the herd or the community is better protected.

Active infection of these vaccine-preventable diseases is generally associated with worse outcomes than the vaccination itself, so vaccination to obtain herd immunity is preferred.

When people do not get vaccinated, and immunization rates drop, it increases the risk of an outbreak.

For example, the CDC recorded more than 700 new cases of measles in New York in 2019, becoming the highest number of cases since 1994. The outbreak was traced to communities with poor vaccination adherence and exposure in one way or another to the infectious disease.

To reduce the threat of infectious disease, a certain level of herd immunity needs to be achieved for each one.

Herd Immunity Rates:

  • COVID-19: 70 percent
  • Pertussis: (whooping cough): 92 percent to 94 percent
  • Diphtheria: 83 percent to 86 percent
  • Rubella – 83 percent to 86 percent
  • Smallpox – 80 percent to 86 percent
  • Polio: 80 percent to 86 percent
  • Mumps: 75 percent to 86 percent
  • SARS: 50 percent to 80 percent
  • Ebola: 33 percent to 60 percent
  • Influenza (flu): 33 percent to 44 percent

Antibody Testing

For parents worried about whether their children have developed an immunity to COVID-19 (once they receive the vaccine or have had the virus), there is a special test available.

Select Any Lab Test Now® locations are offering the COVID-19 Vaccine-Generated Antibody Test which can be used to determine if your body has produced antibodies after receiving a vaccine. The test searches for antibodies against the spike protein, which normally will appear within two weeks after receiving your COVID-19 vaccine.

An antibody test can also be helpful to those who either lost their vaccination card or do not have complete or reliable medical records, especially if it’s required by a school system or institution for enrollment. This can aid in identifying the vaccines someone has already received.

Taking the Vaccine-Generated Antibody Test

The COVID-19 Vaccine-Generated Antibody Test is for anyone who’s had no known exposure to the virus and has received an entire series or dosage of a government-approved COVID-19 vaccine. The test should be administered 2-3 weeks after the final dose of your vaccine. A simple blood draw is all it takes, and no fasting is necessary. The test cost varies by location, but it’s around $120. The COVID-19 Vaccine-Generated Test is not covered by insurance, but you are welcome to use a Healthcare Spending Account.

For parents, this test will allow you to gain some peace of mind as your child returns to the classroom. Getting vaccinated helps your child to develop immunity against the virus. Our test can help you to determine once and for all where your child stands.

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 if you’ve developed antibodies from any past infections or vaccines.

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.

Hepatitis Can’t Wait 

Every year on July 28, we observe World Hepatitis Day, to raise awareness about this viral disease that millions of people don’t even know they have — sometimes until it’s too late. This year’s theme is “Hepatitis Can’t Wait.”

People generally know very little about viral hepatitis, a liver disease caused by five different viruses. The infection can go unnoticed, and undiagnosed, until the virus has caused serious liver damage.

  • Viral hepatitis is the seventh leading cause of death worldwide.
  • Nine in 10 people living with viral hepatitis don’t know.
  • Every 30 seconds, someone dies from a hepatitis-related illness.

It is statistics such as these that show why you can’t wait to act on finding out whether you have been infected by this silent killer.

The three most common types of viral hepatitis are hepatitis A, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C.

  • Hepatitis A is an acute infection that does not become chronic or lifelong. Most people with hepatitis A can recover without treatment.
  • Hepatitis B and hepatitis C  can also begin as an acute infection, but both can last longer, with the virus remaining in your body and leading to long-term liver problems.

Let’s take a closer look at each one:

Hepatitis A

This form of the virus can be caused by consuming contaminated water or food.

Hepatitis A does not always cause symptoms. If symptoms do occur, they usually show up two to six weeks after infection. Adults are more likely than children to have symptoms.

Typical symptoms of hepatitis A can include:

  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Lack of appetite
  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Dark urine
  • Unusually colored stools
  • Jaundice

There are vaccines to prevent hepatitis A. However, there are no specific treatments for hepatitis A; most people will recover completely without long-term liver damage in about eight weeks.

Once you recover from hepatitis A, you develop antibodies that protect you from this virus for life. However, you can still be susceptible to hepatitis B or C.

Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B can be contracted through high-risk activities, including sharing contaminated needles, having unprotected sex, being exposed to infected blood from another person, or even sharing a razor or toothbrush with another person. The virus can also be spread from mother to baby at birth.

About 70 percent of adults will develop symptoms with the acute form of hepatitis B. Symptoms common with liver disease typically appear about three months after infection and can include:

  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Stomach pain
  • Dark urine
  • Unusually colored stools
  • Joint pain
  • Jaundice

Just like hepatitis A, once you recover from acute hepatitis B, you develop antibodies that protect you from the virus for life.

However, if you are diagnosed with chronic hepatitis B, which is a lifelong infection, you could develop serious liver conditions, such as cirrhosis (scarring of the liver), liver failure, or liver cancer.

Those with long-term hepatitis B can live with the infection for 30 years or more before symptoms appear, making routine testing for the condition necessary if you participate in any of the high-risk activities listed above.

Hepatitis C

Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is a blood-borne disease and a top cause of chronic liver disease and liver cancer.

HCV is transmitted through contact with infected blood, mainly by:

  • Sharing needles during drug abuse
  • Accidental needle stick
  • Renal (kidney) dialysis
  • Transferred by mother to child during childbirth
  • Contaminated tattoo or body piercing equipment
  • Unprotected sexual intercourse or blood transfusions

It is estimated 3 to 4 million people in the U.S. are infected with hepatitis C, and many have never been tested.

Death from HCV usually arises from cirrhosis and liver cancer. As many undiagnosed infections occurred decades ago, death rates are expected to rise, which is why the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that all people born from 1946 to 1964 be tested for HCV.

New HCV treatments are very effective and can cure many with HCV. But first, you need to be tested.

Early symptoms of HCV, in the first three months, may include:

  • Yellow-colored skin or eyes
  • Weakness
  • Fatigue
  • Poor appetite
  • Nausea and stomach pain.

Chronic, long-term symptoms can include weight loss, poor appetite, fatigue, and painful joints.

Testing for Hepatitis

A simple blood test is all that is needed to find out if you are affective by any form of hepatitis. The Hepatitis Panel from ANY LAB TEST NOW® tests for the three most common variations of hepatitis: hepatitis A, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C. You are not required to fast before getting tested. Test results usually take between 24 and 72 business hours. If you are positive for the hepatitis virus, you can take the results to your physician and begin the proper treatment.

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 the hepatitis virus.

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.

Lyme Disease Could Make a Big Mark This Summer

It will likely be a few more years before we know the full impact the pandemic had on the number of cases of Lyme disease. Reports from labs, like ANY LAB TEST NOW®, that test for Lyme Disease, already show a six percent increase in exposure over the last year — a number expected to increase even more.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that around 476,000 Americans will be diagnosed this year with Lyme disease, the result of a single bite from a tick.

On top of that, there are currently more than two million people in the U.S. suffering from chronic illness associated with Lyme disease.

Thanks to the pandemic, more people have been spending more time outdoors, increasing their risk of contracting Lyme disease. Ticks live in grassy, brushy, or wooded areas, or even on animals. Spending time outdoors, walking your dog, camping, gardening, or hunting could bring you in close contact with ticks. Many people get ticks in their own yard or neighborhood. Ticks can also show up in unexpected places. Researchers in California were recently surprised to find ticks in areas of grass and scrub leading to beaches.

Preventing Tick Bites

It is important to know when ticks are active and what steps you can take to reduce your risk of being bitten by a tick.

Ticks are active from March through November — or anytime the temperature is above freezing. Click here for a map that shows the most active months for ticks in your state.

Before Heading Outdoors

If you are an avid walker and love to venture out into areas where ticks might be active, you should consider treating your clothing and gear with products containing 0.5 percent permethrin.

You can also use tick-repelling products. Look for repellents registered with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE), para-menthane-diol (PMD), or 2-undecanone.

After Coming Indoors

Check your clothing for ticks. Ticks may be carried into the house on clothing. Any ticks that are found should be removed. Tumble dry clothes in a dryer on high heat for 10 minutes to kill ticks on dry clothing after you come indoors. If the clothes require washing first, always use hot water.

Examine gear and pets. Ticks can be transferred into the home on clothing and pets, then attach to a person later, so carefully examine pets, coats, bags, etc.

Take a shower. Showering within two hours of coming indoors has been shown to reduce your risk of getting Lyme disease. Showering may help wash off unattached ticks.

Check your body for ticks. Conduct a full body check. Use a hand-held or full-length mirror to view all parts of your body.

Important: If you do find a tick attached to yourself, you should always save it so you can send it to your local health department for identification and testing to see if it carries Lyme disease.

Early Signs and Symptoms of Lyme Disease

Symptoms of Lyme disease include fever, chills, headache, fatigue, muscle and joint aches, and swollen lymph nodes.

You may also experience a bull’s-eye rash known as erythema migrans (EM), which occurs in about 70 to 80 percent of infected persons. This rash appears between three to 30 days at the site of a tick bite.

Later Signs and Symptoms of Lyme Disease

The following symptoms can occur weeks to months after a bite from an infected tick:

  • Facial palsy (loss of muscle tone or droop on one or both sides of the face).
  • Arthritis with severe joint pain and swelling, particularly the knees and other large joints.
  • Intermittent pain in tendons, muscles, joints, and bones.
  • Heart palpitations or an irregular heartbeat.
  • Episodes of dizziness or shortness of breath.
  • Inflammation of the brain and spinal cord.
  • Nerve pain.
  • Shooting pains, numbness, or tingling in the hands or feet.

Diagnosis and Treatment

ANY LAB TEST NOW offers a simple blood test that will help detect and measure antibodies that the body produces in an attempt to fight the disease. The presence of antibodies cannot always determine if the Lyme disease infection is recent or due to a tick bite in the past, but it can put you and your doctor on the right path to helping you feel better.

If your results are negative and your symptoms are still present, it’s a good idea to perform a repeat test. It can take up to two months for antibodies to develop.

After getting your results at your local ANY LAB TEST NOW, you should see your doctor. The good news is that most cases of Lyme disease can be successfully treated by a few weeks of antibiotics, according to the CDC.

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 Lyme 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.

For more information about ANY LAB TEST NOW, and the tests we offer, visit us at www.anylabtestnow.com.

 

Got the Vaccine? Is it Working?

It is a common question most people ask after they get a COVID-19 vaccine. Is it working? Now, you don’t have to wonder.

The COVID-19 Vaccine-Generated Antibody Test offered at Any Lab Test Now® can be used to determine if your body has produced antibodies after receiving a vaccine.

The test searches for antibodies against the spike protein, which normally will appear within two weeks after receiving your COVID-19 vaccine.  Before we get into the antibody test, let’s take a closer look at the vaccines designed to protect you from a COVID-19 infection.

Current COVID-19 Vaccines

Right now, there are three vaccines available in the United States. Medical experts will say that the best vaccine is the one that is available to you. They suggest you don’t delay getting vaccinated by waiting for a specific brand to become available.

Here is a look at the COVID-19 vaccines currently authorized and recommended by the CDC.

Moderna – Anyone 18 years and older can get this mRNA vaccine. It is given in the muscle of the upper arm in a series of two shots set four weeks apart. Patients are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after the second dose.

Clinical trials suggest the Moderna vaccine is 94.1 percent effective at preventing laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 illness in people who received two doses and who had no evidence of being previously infected.

Pfizer-BioNTech – This shot is also an mRNA vaccine and, as of May 2021, is now available to anyone 12 years and older. A medical professional injects the vaccine into the muscle of the upper arm. This vaccine is given in two doses with a three-week separation in between the first and second shot. Patients are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after the second dose.

In clinical trials, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was 95 percent effective at preventing laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 illness in people without evidence of a previous infection.

Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen – This single-dose vaccine is a viral vector type vaccine and is available for anyone 18 years and older. Like the other vaccines, it is given in the muscle of the upper arm, and patients are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after the shot.

Women younger than 50 years old should be aware of the rare risk of blood clots after vaccination.

In clinical trials, the J&J/Janssen vaccine was 66.3 percent effective at preventing laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 illness in people who had no evidence of prior infection two weeks after receiving the vaccine.

Types of Vaccines

mRNA Vaccines – Called Messenger RNA vaccines, or mRNA for short, these are a new type of vaccine engineered to protect against infectious diseases. The mRNA vaccines teach our cells how to make a protein that produces an immune response inside our bodies. The benefit of mRNA vaccines, like all vaccines, is to gain protection without ever having to risk the serious consequences of getting sick with COVID-19.

The Moderna and Pfizer vaccines are mRNA-type vaccines.

Viral Vector Vaccines

This type of vaccine uses a modified version of a different virus, referred to as the vector, to deliver important instructions to our cells. The benefit of viral vector vaccines is those who get vaccinated gain protection without ever having to risk the serious consequences of contracting COVID-19.

The Johnson & Johnson Janssen vaccine is a viral vector type vaccine.

Facts about COVID-19 mRNA and Viral Vector Vaccines:

Neither mRNA nor viral vector vaccines use any part of the virus that causes COVID-19, so they cannot give you the virus or any other infection.

Neither vaccine affects nor interacts with your DNA. The mRNA never enters the nucleus of the cell, which is where our DNA is kept. The cell breaks down and gets rid of the mRNA soon after it is finished using the instructions.

In the case of a viral vector vaccine, the genetic material delivered in the shot does not integrate into your DNA.

Who Should Not Get Vaccinated?

You should not get vaccinated if you have had a severe allergic reaction or an immediate allergic reaction to any ingredient in an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine or viral vector COVID-19 vaccine. Here is a link to a breakdown of the ingredients for each vaccine.

If you had an allergic reaction after getting the first dose of either of the mRNA vaccines, you should not get a second dose.

An allergic reaction is considered severe when a person needs to be treated with epinephrine or EpiPen© or if they must go to the hospital. An immediate allergic reaction means a reaction within four hours of getting vaccinated, including symptoms such as hives, swelling, or respiratory distress.

Possible Vaccine Side Effects

While not as serious as an allergic reaction, you could experience some side effects from the vaccines. These side effects usually start within a day or two of getting the vaccine and should subside in a few days. They include:

In the arm where the shot was administered:

  • Pain
  • Redness
  • Swelling

Throughout the rest of your body:

  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Muscle pain
  • Chills
  • Fever
  • Nausea

Now that you have a basic understanding of the vaccines and how they work, we can dive into figuring out how to determine if you’ve developed antibodies after having the vaccine administered.

The COVID-19 Vaccine-Generated Antibody Test

The CDC estimates that close to three million Americans are getting vaccinated against COVID-19 every day. Any Lab Test Now offers the COVID-19 Vaccine-Generated Antibody Test to help you find out if the vaccine created antibodies against the virus.

This test offers some peace of mind and reassurance that your immune system is having a positive reaction to the vaccine.

  • How do you take the test? It is a simple blood test; no fasting is necessary, and you share results with your primary care physician.
  • Who can take the test? Anyone who has no known exposure to COVID-19 and received the entire series or dosage of a government-approved COVID-19 vaccine.
  • When can you take the test? Two to three weeks after the final dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
  • How much does the test cost? The cost of the test varies by location, but it’s around $120, which is not covered by insurance but can be paid for with healthcare spending accounts.
  • Where can you take the test? The COVID-19 Spike Protein test is available at select Any Lab Test Now locations across the United States. You can look up the location closest to you here.

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 if you’ve developed antibodies from the COVID-19 vaccine.

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.

 

Summer Season Foods That Help Keep Your Cholesterol in Check

Summer apparently does a body good! Research shows cholesterol levels seem to fluctuate significantly with the seasons. Our craving for fatty comfort food increases in the winter, which raises cholesterol levels. On the other hand, the lowest levels of the dangerous substance register in the summer months. It’s not so much about the heat; it’s what we eat, or don’t eat, when the weather warms up.

Before we get into the summer diet changes you might want to adopt to keep your cholesterol in check  year-round, it is important to know the facts about cholesterol.

What is Cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance found in all the cells in your body. Your liver makes all the cholesterol you need. Yes, need. Your body needs cholesterol to build cells and make vitamins and hormones. The extra cholesterol in your body comes from foods you consume – such as meat, poultry, dairy products, and tropical oils. Some of those foods are high in saturated and trans fats, which cause your liver to make more cholesterol than it should.

You may have heard that there are two types of cholesterol: low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, which is bad, and high-density lipoprotein (HDL), which is good. Too much of the bad kind, or not enough of the good kind, increases the risk cholesterol will slowly build up in the inner walls of the arteries that feed the heart and brain and lead to serious health issues such as a heart attack or stroke.

Experts say you should not shrug off the potential health effects of the seasonal fluctuations in your cholesterol levels. In fact, it might be a great idea to consider adding a bit of summer all year long when it comes to your eating habits.

Here are some summer-season foods that can help lower your cholesterol levels.

Apricots – This fruit is a great source of fiber. Fiber allows the body to get rid of cholesterol. The high beta carotene content in apricots also helps prevent LDL cholesterol (the bad one) from oxidizing and clogging arteries. Fresh apricots are in season during late spring and throughout the summer. You can easily import this healthy fruit into your winter diet by eating dried apricots, which will provide the same health benefits.

Raspberries – Also a fantastic source of cholesterol-busting fiber, these little berries are packed with tons of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals including vitamin C, vitamin B2, folate, niacin, magnesium, potassium, and copper. While considered a summer staple, raspberries are grown and distributed across the country well into November.

Avocados – While popular in summer salads and side dishes like guacamole, this green goodie is usually available all year round. Research suggests that adding an avocado a day to a heart-healthy diet can help improve LDL cholesterol levels in people who are overweight or obese.

Asparagus – This high fiber vegetable also contains compounds called saponins, which have repeatedly been shown to have anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties. Their intake has also been associated with improved blood pressure, improved blood sugar regulation, and better control of blood cholesterol levels. If you can’t find fresh, you can substitute canned or frozen asparagus.

Of course, you can’t lower your cholesterol levels by eating one or two of these foods on a random basis. Health experts recommend following a balanced diet combined with regular exercise.

Check Your Levels

Regular testing is an easy way to keep track of your cholesterol levels. Any Lab Test Now® offers the most advanced cholesterol panel available. The Lipoprotein Particle Profile Plus (LPP+) measures the size and density of your LDL cholesterol to provide you with the clearest picture of your cardiovascular risk.

You don’t need a doctor’s order to get your cholesterol checked, and you can walk in for same-day testing at any of our locations. Once you have your results, you can consult with a physician to find out if treatment is necessary. To learn more about the LPP+ screening, click here.

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 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.

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

5 Signs You Need a Thyroid Test

Millions of Americans have a thyroid condition and don’t even know it. Are you one of them?

The thyroid is a hormone-producing gland that regulates the body’s metabolism, which is the rate at which the body produces energy from nutrients and oxygen. The thyroid affects crucial body functions, such as energy level and heart rate.

The gland is located in the lower part of the neck, below the Adam’s apple, and it wraps around your windpipe and has a shape that is similar to a butterfly or a bowtie.

When your thyroid doesn’t work properly, it can impact your entire body. The general term for this is thyroid disease, which means the gland is either overproducing or underproducing important hormones.

There are a variety of symptoms you could experience if you have a thyroid disease. Here are five signs you might need a thyroid test.

Changes in Weight

Considerable and unexplained fluctuations in your weight could be the result of either hyperthyroidism (an overactive thyroid) or hypothyroidism (an underactive thyroid). In hyperthyroidism, your thyroid gland produces too much of the hormone thyroxine, which causes your body’s metabolism to speed up, leading to weight loss. In hypothyroidism, your body is unable to produce enough thyroxine, which causes the metabolism to slow down, leading to weight gain.

Skin Issues

Thyroid disorders can also cause changes in your appearance, including dry, red, itchy, thinning or irritated skin, brittle hair, swelling in your joints, a puffy face, or swelling at the base of your neck. If you notice these changes along with one or more of the other issues mentioned here, it may be time to have your thyroid checked.

Mood Swings

Hormones don’t just affect your physical appearance. It can also play a factor in your overall mood and mental wellness. Hyperthyroidism may cause you to feel anxious, nervous, and irritable, whereas hypothyroidism can cause depression.

Fatigue

Another sign of thyroid problems is a lack of energy. Hyperthyroidism can make it difficult for you to fall asleep at night, leading to fatigue. The lack of thyroxine caused by hypothyroidism can deplete your body of all its energy. Both conditions can also cause muscle weakness, which triggers your body to feel tired and worn down.

Temperature Troubles

Sensitivity to heat and cold can also be a symptom of thyroid trouble. Hyperthyroidism may cause you to feel overheated and lead to excessive sweating. Hypothyroidism has the opposite effect, leaving you feeling cold all the time. When the body’s thyroid is working properly its cells will produce 65 percent energy and 35 percent heat. However, those with a thyroid condition will either be producing too much or not enough thyroxine. This change in hormone levels will confuse the body into producing either too much heat and not enough energy or vice versa.

Thyroid Testing

If there’s a bright side to hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism, it’s that treatment is usually simple, involving taking daily medication to balance your hormone levels.

Finding out your hormone levels is easy. It is limited to a simple blood test like the one offered at Any Lab Test Now®. Our Basic Thyroid Panel screens for thyroid disease and can determine whether your body is producing too much or not enough of the needed hormones. No appointment is necessary since walk-ins are always welcome at Any Lab Test Now. There is no need for a doctor’s order either.

The results of your thyroid screening will serve as a blueprint for your physician to prescribe the right dose of synthetic hormone medication. You can continue to follow up with Any Lab Test Now for additional testing to find out if the treatment is working.

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 the health of your thyroid.

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.

Three Health Conditions That Affect Men, Too

There are many health conditions and diseases that are exclusive to women. Think about it. Men will never face ovarian or cervical cancers. Putting the differences in anatomy aside, genes and hormones also contribute to the reason why some health conditions attack women more often than men. However, there are some medical disorders typically associated with women that CAN affect men!

To observe Men’s Health Month, we’re focusing on three health conditions that affect women more, but men can be at risk as well.

Osteoporosis

Every year, more Americans learn they are suffering from osteoporosis, a disease that reduces the density of bone, causing them to weaken and be more vulnerable to fractures. Although women are at greater risk, men get osteoporosis too.

One in three women are at risk, but so are one in five men. While women experience rapid bone loss following menopause, by 65 to 70 years old, men lose bone mass at about the same rate. Other fast facts about men and osteoporosis include:

  • One in four men over the age of 50 will break a bone due to osteoporosis.
  • Each year, about 800,000 men will break a hip.
  • Men are more likely than women to die within a year after breaking a hip.

Interestingly, many of the same factors that put women at risk for osteoporosis apply to men too. A family history, drinking too much alcohol, smoking, not exercising, or a hormone imbalance can increase a man’s chances of developing osteoporosis.

Osteoporosis is considered a silent disease because there are no symptoms. However, there are several signs to watch out for:

  • Change in posture – including bending forward or stopping
  • Loss of height – getting shorter by an inch or more
  • Shortness of breath – caused by a decrease in lung capacity due to compressed disks.
  • Bone fractures
  • Pain in the lower back

Any Lab Test Now® can help evaluate a man’s risk of developing osteoporosis with a simple blood test. The Osteoporosis Risk Panel includes 10 different tests to determine one’s risk for this debilitating disease. The outcome of this test will give a better evaluation of bone health and how the body processes the minerals needed to create bone.

Hypothyroidism

This condition is more common in women; however, plenty of men get it too. Hypothyroidism points to an underactive thyroid gland. The thyroid gland is shaped like a bow tie and sits just below the skin in the front of the neck. It acts like your body’s energy company, pumping the thyroid hormone out into the blood and ultimately to all the organs in the body. When the thyroid is not working up to its capacity, the result takes a toll on a person’s metabolism and can affect any of the organs.

The symptoms of hypothyroidism in men are about the same as in women. The most common symptoms include:

Men may also experience a loss of interest in sex or trouble achieving an erection.

If a man has any of these symptoms, they should consider getting a screen. Any Lab Test Now offers the most reliable form of testing for determining hypothyroidism. The Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) test checks the body’s production of TSH and helps look for hypothyroidism. If the results point to hypothyroidism, a follow-up with a physician is recommended to begin the necessary treatment, which generally requires a thyroid hormone replacement medication.

Bladder or Urinary Tract Infections (UTI)

Infections of the bladder, or UTIs, primarily occur in women. However, men are not immune. UTIs occur when bacteria build up somewhere in the urinary tract. The incidences of UTIs in men increase with age. As a result, men with an enlarged prostate, kidney stones, or an abnormal narrowing of the urethra are particularly susceptible to a bladder infection.

Men need to be aware of the symptoms and how to determine whether they have an infection.

The most common symptoms of a bladder infection include:

  • Frequent urination
  • Cloudy urine or bloody urine
  • Strong urge to urinate
  • Burning or tingling sensation during urination
  • Low-grade fever

The test for a UTI involves a urine culture, which looks for the presence of a single type of bacteria. This test is offered at Any Lab Test Now. If you do in fact have a bladder infection, your primary physician may recommend treatment that involves antibiotics, which are typically very effective.

Do Not Skip Health Screenings

Studies show that men are less likely than women to look after their health. They are 25 percent less likely to have visited their doctor in the past year and almost 40 percent more likely to have skipped recommended health screenings. Whether a screening is needed for any of the conditions listed above; or any number of other health concerns, Any Lab Test Now offers men an alternative and easy solution to help take control of their health. For an overall picture of your health, our Comprehensive Male Panel is also highly recommended. During Men’s Health Month, find how you’re doing in terms of cholesterol, testosterone, prostate health, and more.

Just like all the tests at Any Lab Test Now, a doctor’s order is not necessary. Walk-ins for same-day testing are always welcome. Test results come back quickly and confidentially so treatment can begin as soon as possible, if needed.

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.

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

DOs and DONTs to Help Cope with Having Arthritis

Achiness, stiffness, and swelling in your joints may be a sign of arthritis, a group of diseases that cause inflammation of the joints.

Often thought of as an old person’s disease, arthritis affects more than 50 million adults of all ages and an estimated 300,000 children. It is most common among women and occurs more frequently as people get older.

Symptoms can be mild, moderate, or severe and can progress or get worse over time. Severe arthritis can result in chronic pain, inability to do daily activities, and make it difficult to walk or climb stairs.

Many people believe the pain associated with arthritis is something they must live with.  But there are some do’s and don’ts you can follow to reduce your discomfort.

Don’t Smoke

Smoking, while not recommended, can really have an adverse effect on an arthritis sufferer. It slows cartilage cell production and raises the levels of blood toxins, which leads to cartilage loss. Smoking also increases carbon monoxide levels in the blood, which could indirectly affect cartilage repair.

Do Low-Impact Exercises

Even though it may be uncomfortable at first, get up and get moving. Choose exercises that strengthen the muscles supporting your knee and boost flexibility. Yoga, walking, swimming, and resistance exercises help strengthen these muscles.

Don’t Be Sedentary

Believe it or not, too much rest can weaken your muscles, which can worsen joint pain. Simple stretches and walking around the house can help flex those muscles and help beat the pain.

Do Watch Your Weight

If you are overweight, the extra weight will add to the strain on your knees. Losing weight and keeping at a healthy weight will help prevent and ease the pain.

Don’t Wear the Wrong Shoes

Select comfortable footwear that reduces stress on your back and knees. Ladies, this means it may be time to retire the high heels. Shoes with cushioned insoles can help. Some doctors will also recommend orthotics — custom-made insoles — which can reduce the ill effects of your condition.

Do Eat to Avoid Pain

There are certain foods you can add to your diet that are proven to reduce inflammation, thus reducing the pain and swelling of arthritis. These foods include:

  • Fish
  • Nuts
  • Ginger
  • Turmeric
  • Green tea
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Green vegetables

Testing for Arthritis

While pain and swelling in your joints will alert you to a potential issue, there is more to knowing if you have arthritis than you may think. A blood test is required for you to know for certain. Any Lab Test Now® offers the  Arthritis Screening Panel, which can determine whether you have arthritis or some other related health issue.

The screening includes the Rheumatoid Factor (RF) test, which is primarily used to help diagnose rheumatoid arthritis and other forms of arthritis and other conditions that cause joint pain, inflammation, stiffness, and others. It is commonly ordered with other tests like the CRP (C‐Reactive Protein) and a CBC.

Unlike most blood testing, no appointment or doctor’s prescription is needed. Once you get the results, you can share the details with your primary care physician or seek out the care of a rheumatologist who specializes in treating arthritis.

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 arthritis.

We provide you a safe and clean alternative location for lab work. Each of our 190+ stores are 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.