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Use Your FSA On These 5 Tests

A Flexible Spending Account (FSA) is a tax-advantaged account, to be used for medical expenses only. An FSA is different from a Health Savings Accounts (HSA) in that the money must be used within the calendar year. Unused funds left at the end of the year are returned to your employer, who can use it to offset the inevitable costs of administering benefits or may simply split it amongst the employees in the FSA plan.

This means that, if you have money left in your account, now is the time to put it to good use. Any Lab Test Now offers a variety of tests that can provide insightful information about your health and family history.

Allergy Tests

If you find yourself suffering from itchy eyes, blotchy skin or a stuffy nose, you may have allergies.  Some common allergens are pollen, grass, house dust and pet dander. At Any Lab Test Now, you can get tested and determine what is causing your allergies to act up. With test results in hand, you can get the proper medications and start making lifestyle changes to ease your symptoms.

Food Sensitivity and Intolerance Tests

If you experience a scratchy throat, hives or body swelling after eating, you may have a food sensitivity or intolerance and should be tested. Even if you did not have any food allergies as a child, it is possible to develop them later in life. Intolerance to things like lactose or gluten can have a negative impact on your digestion. By getting tested, you’ll learn how you need to adjust your diet to live more comfortably.

Vitamins, Minerals & Nutrition Lab Tests

Constantly tired, worn down or lethargic? You may suffer from a vitamin or mineral deficiency. Put your FSA to good use and learn more about your body. At Any Lab Test Now, you can talk with a qualified professional to determine which test is most appropriate for your diet and lifestyle. From a B-12 deficiency test to a potassium test to weight management take-home hormone kits, there are a variety from which to choose.

Cholesterol Tests

High cholesterol often runs in families. If you have a family history of less-than-stellar cholesterol counts, it is a good idea to get checked! Oftentimes, high cholesterol doesn’t come with any symptoms. In many cases, it goes 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. Lifestyle changes and proper medication can help reduce the risks, so get tested today!

DNA Tests

Love history? Curious where your family came from or which relatives share a common maternal or paternal ancestor? Ancestry and lineage testing can tell you which family member is on your mother or father’s side, where your family line originated, and how you came to be. It’s a fascinating process that analyzes your mitochondria or, in men, the Y-chromosome, depending on the specific test you choose.

Those are just a few of the tests offered at Any Lab Test Now. There are many more tests, such as blood tests, drug and alcohol tests and thyroid lab tests, that may be beneficial for you. Any Lab Test Now is committed to providing patients with a top-of-the-line experience, so stop in today to talk more about what test is right for you. Available tests may vary between locations, so find your nearest Any Lab Test Now location at AnyLabTestNow.com.

 

Back to School: Time for Your Student’s Proof of Immunizations

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It’s that time of year again! The start of August means it’s back to school for college students all across America, and for many students, it also means back-to-school titers and immunizations. If your child needs any proof of immunizations before returning to school, or before heading off to school for the first time, look no further than Any Lab Test Now.
Colleges, universities and technical programs often require proof of certain immunizations before your student can attend. Luckily for you and your student, Any Lab Test Now offers convenient and affordable options for obtaining your proof of immunization.

Titers
A titer is a type of blood test that measures the presence and amount of antibodies in your blood. It can be used to determine if you are immune to a disease.
If you think your student has received an immunization in the past, but can’t find the proof to show your school, titers are an easy way to verify your child’s immunity to certain diseases. Any Lab Test Now offers a popular three-in-one titer for measles, mumps and rubella — some of the immunizations most commonly requested by schools and other institutions. The MMR Titer will verify whether or not you are immune to these three diseases, and we’ll even have the results ready to send to your school within 48–72 hours.
Some schools may additionally require proof of immunization against the varicella-zoster virus, which you may know better as chickenpox and shingles. A VZV Titer is also available at Any Lab Test Now and is a great option for students needing a quick, low-cost proof of immunization before entering school.

Talk to the experts at Any Lab Test Now to learn which testing options are right for your needs.

Are You Pre-Diabetic? You Need To Read This: November Is Diabetes Awareness Month

With nearly 30 million people in the U.S. suffering from diabetes, it’s a problem that affects about 10 percent of the population. The American Diabetes Association estimates that 86 million people are at risk of developing the disease, and 3 million are already suffering from pre-diabetes.

Diabetes is a metabolic disease that affects the body’s ability to produce insulin. Without the proper amount of insulin, the body’s blood sugar levels remain abnormally high, and you don’t get the energy you need. Pre-diabetes is the precursor to Type 2 diabetes. At this stage, blood sugar levels are high but not high enough to be classified as Type 2 diabetes.

While diabetes often presents with symptoms like excessive thirst and hunger, extreme fatigue, frequent urination, blurry vision, cuts and bruises that heal slowly, and tingling in the feet and hands, pre-diabetes often doesn’t come with any outward symptoms. The only way to truly diagnose pre-diabetes is to get tested. Tests like Hemoglobin A1c detect pre-diabetes and can also diagnose diabetes or monitor diabetes to make sure it’s managed properly.

Any Lab Test Now can help you take charge of your health by determining whether you are in a pre-diabetic state. A Diabetes Maintenance Panel can be done to monitor any existing diabetic conditions over time, as well as keep an eye on possible complications.

Without proper management, pre-diabetes may turn into Type 2 diabetes within 10 years. Diabetes increases your risk for many other health problems, including nerve damage, blindness, stroke, skin infections, kidney disease, high blood pressure and heart disease.

But it’s not all bad news. With the correct treatment and proper management of diabetes, these complications can be prevented or delayed. While diabetes is often a lifelong disease, it can be managed with medication, diet and exercise for a full, healthy life. So if you or a loved one is showing some of the signs of diabetes, these tests can help you and your doctor determine if the disease has developed or if you are at risk of developing full-blown diabetes.

This November, don’t let Diabetes Awareness Month pass without a fight.  Get tested.  Know your numbers.  Take Control of Your Health®.

Stressed And The Holidays Aren’t Even Here Yet? Check Your Cortisol Level.

Woman having migraine headache. Stress and depression.From a baby’s cry to fast-paced work projects, people are faced with stresses on a regular basis. In response to these daily demands, the body releases a naturally occurring steroid hormone, called cortisol. Cortisol helps regulate muscles, cardiovascular function, digestion and other systems. This gives you the extra energy and mobility you need to fight through a stressful situation. As your cortisol levels increase, you may experience increased appetite, cravings for sugar and weight gain. Then, as the stressful situation comes to an end and you no longer need the extra energy, cortisol levels should return to normal.

Prolonged stress, however, means that cortisol is being produced regularly. When this happens, it can build up in the body without an outlet for release. This keeps your internal systems heightened and on high alert which can cause damage or fatigue. Risks resulting from chronic increased levels of cortisol are serious and include:

  • Lower immune function
  • Lower bone density
  • Learning and memory issues
  • Weight gain, particularly in the abdomen
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart disease
  • Depression

Is your cortisol level high?
Hormone testing, including the Saliva Cortisol Test or the Total Cortisol Test, can determine if your cortisol levels are too high or too low. Because cortisol levels naturally adjust throughout the day, the test may be required both early in the morning and again in the afternoon for the most accurate results.

What should I do about high cortisol levels?
Normal cortisol levels typically range from 6 to 23 micrograms per deciliter. Higher cortisol levels may be an indicator of Cushing disease or long-term, unmanaged stress. Low cortisol levels may be an indicator of Addison’s disease or hypopituitarism. In either case, your doctor will help you understand your test results and recommend any additional treatment options.

Stress management techniques may also prove effective in reducing higher than normal cortisol levels. From healthier eating and increased physical activity to meditation and deep breathing, stress management techniques provide your body with an outlet for releasing built-up cortisol and help bring your levels back into a healthier range.

If you regularly find yourself under stress, even if it is stress that stems from a positive experience, consider a  Saliva Cortisol Test or the Total Cortisol Test to live a healthier life and avoid long-term health issues.

Safety in the Ring! Why do Combative Sports Fighters Have to Be Tested Every Year?

When mixed martial arts fighters discuss what they do to prepare for a match, the focus tends to be on the intense training they undergo to make sure they are totally ready to take a pounding and keep on swinging, ultimately to defeat an equally strong and prepared opponent. With such an exciting and dangerous sport, the last thing a fan would think about is whether each fighter is complying with the *shudder* regulations. But it’s because this sport is so exciting and dangerous that regulations need to be a big part of the conversation.

Most state athletic commissions require testing for combative sports fighters to compete. They require drug testing, as well as additional blood tests for diseases such as HIV and Hepatitis B and C. This is to protect the fighters, as well as to keep competition fair. There have been cases in unregulated fighting environments of horrible injuries and unfair competition due to the lack of rule enforcement. These are potentially life-ruining situations. If a fighter competes while infected with a bloodborne illness, the results can truly be tragic. As cumbersome as they may be, regulations are in place to prevent serious injury and death.

For fighter testing, the bloodborne infection aspect may not make sense at first blush. But with sports like MMA, which tend to get bloody, there is a real risk of passing on an infection. However, it’s not just a hazard to an opponent. The body of someone affected by a disease that attacks the immune system is generally weaker and easier to exhaust than that of a healthy person, so having a disease like HIV is a serious handicap in a fight.

Fighters have to be tested every year in order to comply with most state requirements. This is to monitor fighters’ health and keep them from passing on diseases they might not know they have. But if a fighter’s manager or agent has concerns, officials recommend getting the tests as often as necessary. The Fighter Panel at Any Lab Test Now is an easy tool to get all of your state-mandated testing done, with a fast turnaround. So protect yourself and your opponents, and be sure to get tested!

Did You Know Some Employers are Now Testing for Nicotine? Here’s Why

Today’s labor market is competitive, and employers are constantly looking for ways to differentiate potential employees who may otherwise be practically identical. These tactics range from test questions to personality quizzes, but some companies are taking things a step further and asking future hires to take a nicotine test. Hospitals, transportation companies and utility services are leading the way in testing employees’ saliva for tobacco and tobacco-product use, and other substances to help make hiring decisions.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States. It costs the nation billions in health care expenses, and smokers are expected to die about 10 years earlier than nonsmokers. There isn’t an organ in the body that smoking doesn’t damage in some way. Despite this, many choose to continue smoking. Public health experts are beginning to feel that if a person’s health isn’t enough to motivate them to quit, maybe they can be incentivized by money. For workers everywhere, the penalties for not quitting, and the rewards for quitting, could soon be hitting you in the wallet.

Many employers, faced with rising health insurance costs for smokers and the higher rates of chronic diseases in employees who smoke, are offering carrot-stick bargains — either quit smoking and receive a small bonus and free smoking cessation tools, or continue smoking and lose a small percentage of your paycheck each month; or in some cases, lose out on the job offer. Being tobacco-free makes a job applicant a more natural choice for an employer trying to save money on insurance costs and promote a healthy office environment.

Testing for illegal drugs has been a pretty widespread practice for years, but with the relative ease of oral fluid testing, employers can now ask a candidate for a swab and know whether the applicant smokes, dips or chews. The payout for the employer can be twofold: they can offer new potential employees smoking cessation tools to help them get healthy, and they can potentially receive a federal insurance subsidy for testing their employees. It’s been demonstrated time and again that the healthier the workforce, the more productive it is, so having a group of employees who are entirely tobacco-free could increase productivity dramatically, while reducing insurance costs.

The oral swab test, or even a urine specimen test, offered by Any Lab Test Now identifies the amount of cotinine, a byproduct of nicotine, in the bloodstream. This substance sticks around for an average of three days — longer in heavy smokers — so going cold turkey for the day isn’t going to cut it. By offering a quick, inexpensive way to test for cotinine, Any Lab Test Now is making it easier for employers to make hiring decisions based on important health criteria. Companies now realize that an investment in the health of each employee is an investment in the business itself, and the advantages of nicotine testing far outweigh the costs.

Why Becoming A Bone Marrow Donor Is So Important

September is National Blood Cancer Awareness Month, and this means it’s time to start thinking about what you can do to help the thousands of people every year who suffer from this disease. Every three minutes in the United States, someone is diagnosed with blood cancer — more than 175,000 new cases each year. More than 55,000 people will die from blood cancer in this year alone. A bone marrow transplant is many of these patients’ best hope for survival, but only about 30 percent of patients are able to find a matching donor within their families. The other 70 percent have to rely on donations from strangers, and sometimes there just aren’t enough to go around. Around 3,000 people die each year while waiting for a match. By donating bone marrow this month or becoming a part of the bone marrow registry, you could save someone’s life.

Blood cancer encompases all malignancies of the blood, bone marrow or lymph nodes that affect normal blood cell production or function. As the diseased blood cells multiply, they cause life-threatening damage to the immune and circulatory systems. There are many different types of blood cancers, including leukemia, lymphoma and multiple myeloma. Patients with any of these types of blood cancer require bone marrow transplants for the best chance of beating the disease.

Any Lab Test Now is proud to support Delete Blood Cancer in its mission to provide help to those suffering from blood cancer. We have partnered with Delete Blood Cancer to encourage our local communities to become a part of the bone marrow registry, and we encourage you to do the same. We also collect specimens on behalf of Delete Blood Cancer and hold Swab Parties periodically throughout the year to build awareness of the need for bone marrow donors.Did you know that it only takes a simple swab from the inside cheeks of your mouth to be entered into the registry?  Yes, it is that simple.  And, did you know that about 75% of bone marrow donations are through a process similar to collecting platelets? With just one donation and a few hours of you time, you could give someone suffering from blood cancer an entire lifetime.

Are you concerned about your own health? At Any Lab Test Now, we have several cancer screens that may help you get the answers you need. Talk to your doctor or our experts at Any Lab Test Now to find out which test is right for you.

Signs of Menopause and Tests to Tell if You’re There

As women get older, they are faced with the inevitable — menopause. The average age for a woman to go through menopause is 50, but it can begin as early as her 30s or as late as her 60s. This can be an alarming time for some women, full of changes and new things to get used to, but it doesn’t have to be scary. There are many ways to help cope with the challenges of menopause, as well things to be excited about as you enter a new phase of your life. If you think you may be approaching menopause, here are some signs to look out for:

Probably the most obvious sign of menopause is beginning to have irregular periods once you reach a certain age. Once a woman hits menopause, her periods will stop altogether; so during the time before menopause (perimenopause), periods will become lighter and less frequent — only occurring once every few months. However, it is still possible for a woman to become pregnant during perimenopause. If you are approaching menopausal age and haven’t had your period in several months, you may want to take a pregnancy test, just to be sure.

Hot Flashes
Hot flashes are the most common symptom of a woman entering menopause. Hot flashes are sudden feelings of warmth, typically centered around the face, neck and chest. They may also cause redness of the skin and profuse sweating, leaving you chilled afterward. In some women, hot flashes can occur only a few times a day, and for others, they can happen several times an hour.

Night Sweats and Trouble Sleeping
Women entering menopause may also experience night sweats, which are essentially hot flashes that occur during sleep, causing excessive perspiration. Additionally, some women experience insomnia around the time of menopause due to changing hormone levels as well as other age-related sleep disturbances, such as an increased likelihood of sleep apnea.

Mood Changes
Many women approaching menopause experience mood changes. This can include feelings of moodiness, depressed moods, anxiety, stress or a decreased sense of well-being. This may be the result of changing hormones, significant feelings of stress due to other perimenopausal symptoms or any number of reasons in an aging woman’s life.

Weight Gain, Thinning Hair and Dry Skin
A few other signs that you are entering the menopausal stage of your life are weight gain due to a slowed metabolism, thinning hair and dry skin. However, these things can sometimes be seen in aging people regardless of gender or menopause. If you are experiencing these signs in addition to any of the ones listed above, you may want to get your hormone levels tested to find out for sure if you are approaching menopause.

At Any Lab Test Now, we have several tests that might help you to determine if you are entering menopause. Our Menopause Screening Panel is your best resource for discovering if you are going through menopause. You may also consider getting a Saliva Hormone Test, which can help determine if you have any hormone imbalances that could be affecting your daily life. Taking steps to manage a hormone imbalance can be a huge relief to a woman during menopause, especially if she is experiencing any severe symptoms. Once you have the answers you need, you can finally have some peace of mind about what is happening to your body and start to enjoy this new phase of your life!

PSA Testing – Why You Need To Get Checked

You feel young and healthy; you’re in your 30s or 40s and still in the prime of your life. You get regular medical checkups, but anything more comprehensive than that hasn’t really crossed your mind. You’re too young to be thinking about special screenings and tests. After all, 40 is the new 30, right? Well, you might want to think again. Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death among American men. But the good news is it’s 100 percent treatable if caught early. Most men don’t think about getting tested before the age of 50, and while Medicare and other insurance plans cover screenings for men 50 and up, the younger guys are left out in the cold. And for some, getting tested earlier could have saved their lives.

The prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test is the best way to catch prostate cancer in its earlier stages. In a nutshell, PSA is a substance made by the gland cells in the prostate (both normal cells and cancer cells). The PSA blood test will measure your PSA levels, and if they are elevated, it may indicate prostate cancer or prostatitis (an enlarged prostate). Most men have a PSA level under 4 nanograms per milliliter when they are healthy. However, the risk of prostate cancer increases as your PSA level increases. If your PSA level is about 4 but below 10, you have about a one in four chance of having prostate cancer. But if your PSA level is above 10, your chances increase to around 50 percent, according to the American Cancer Society.

Here are a few reasons why men should consider being screened earlier for prostate cancer:
You Have a Family History. Like many other forms of cancer, prostate cancer tends to run in families. If you have a father or a brother with the disease, your chances of developing it are almost double. Actually, if you have a brother who developed prostate cancer, your chances are even higher than if your father had it. Your risks go up the more family members you have that had or have prostate cancer. If you have a family history of prostate cancer, you should definitely be getting tested early and regularly.

To Establish a Baseline. No matter what age you are, all men should get a PSA test. It’s important to establish a PSA “baseline,” so that you can, over time, monitor any changes in your PSA levels. Get tested even if you are below the age of 40 so you know what your normal PSA level is. Then doctors can use that for comparison in the future. Proactive blood testing like this can help you monitor your levels and possibly detect and treat disease before it’s too late.

For Continual Monitoring. Since the exact cause of prostate cancer is unknown, there are no current guidelines for preventing prostate cancer. You may be thinking, “If I can’t be proactive in preventing prostate cancer, what can I do?” The answer is simple; you need to keep an eye on the situation with regular testing. The probability of finding prostate cancer early is high because the disease usually progresses very slowly. If you are at a higher risk, start getting regular tests at the age of 40. If you are at a lower risk, start getting regular tests at the age of 50. Get tested every year after the age of 40 if you have more than one risk factor for prostate cancer or your PSA levels naturally sit a higher level.

Not only can prostate cancer be caught early, but it has amazing survival rates when you do catch it early. For those who catch the disease while it is still in the prostate, the five-year survival rate is 100 percent. Even if you catch the cancer after it has spread to the surrounding areas of the prostate — but before it spreads elsewhere — the five-year survival rate is still 100 percent. However, if the cancer isn’t caught until it travels to distant parts of the body beyond the prostate, the five-year survival rate drops to just 28 percent. So, if you’re above the age of 40 and have one or more risk factors, it’s important to get tested regularly to keep an eye out for the beginnings of prostate cancer.

Talk to our medical assistants at Any Lab Test Now about getting a PSA Test today! Now is the time to take control of your prostate health. If you wait, it could be too late.

Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over

Driving while intoxicated is no laughing matter. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, someone dies every 51 minutes in the U.S. due to alcohol-impaired driving. And sadly, it is not always the drunk driver who suffers the consequences. About 17 percent of traffic deaths among children are caused by an alcohol-impaired driver.

Driving under the influence endangers you and everyone around you, not to mention it puts you at risk for criminal charges and a lifetime of regret. If you have had more than one drink or your blood alcohol content (BAC) is higher than .08 percent (the legal driving limit), JUST DON’T DO IT. During Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over this month, we are urging people to make safe driving decisions or — you guessed it — you’re going to see some flashing blue lights in your rear view mirror.

Any alcohol you drink is absorbed by your stomach and enters your bloodstream where it circulates through your body before making its way to the liver. There, enzymes in the liver break down the alcohol slowly, and the alcohol your liver can’t process fast enough continues to circulate through your bloodstream. In the average person, the liver can process one ounce of liquor or alcohol in one hour. This is why your BAC increases when you have more drinks than your liver can process in a certain amount of time. The higher your BAC, the more “drunk” you feel. Once your BAC is above .08, you will start to experience loss of motor skills, your reaction time decreases, your judgment becomes impaired and your ability to process information decreases, among other side effects. This is why it is so important that drivers stay off the road until they are sober.

Drunk drivers are a serious danger to themselves and everyone around them. Remember, if your BAC is above the legal driving limit DO NOT DRIVE. Stay safe, drive sober … or you’ll get pulled over.

Concerned about the alcohol consumption of an employee or loved one? Here at Any Lab Test Now, we have several types of alcohol tests for whatever your needs may be.

An Alcohol Screen (Saliva) tests for the presence of alcohol in the saliva. This test may be used as an alternative to a breath alcohol test by non-DOT (Department of Transportation) employers. You may also wish to get this test done if you are a parent who suspects your child has been consuming alcohol. This test is also commonly used by schools requiring an alcohol screen for certain events such as dances.

A Breath Alcohol Test is used to detect the presence of alcohol in the breath. This test is required for certain situations by DOT testing regulations as well as by other employers. Parents or schools may also want to use this test to check if children or students have been consuming alcohol.

A FAEE Hair Alcohol Abuse Test checks for the presence of Fatty Acid Ethyl Esters (FAEEs), a metabolite of ethyl (drinking) alcohol, in a person’s hair. This test is capable of detecting alcohol consumed over long periods of time and can accurately determine if an individual is alcohol dependent. This test can be used to differentiate between social drinkers and those who consume alcohol excessively. Results from this test may be requested as evidence in court or provide answers if you have concerns about the alcohol usage of a loved one.

An Alcohol Test, ETG (Ethyl Glucoronide) (Urine) is used to detect the presence of the ethyl alcohol metabolite, ethyl glucuronide, in urine. The detection period is typically up to 80 hours after ingestion. This is not an under the influence test. It may be used by programs that require this test, as well as used by court systems for persons who have had a DUI. Employers who have a zero tolerance policy for alcohol use also use this test. This test is also frequently used by parents who would like to know if their child has recently ingested alcohol.

An Alcohol Test, ETG (Ethyl Glucoronide) (Hair) is used to detect the presence of the ethyl alcohol metabolite, ethyl glucuronide, in hair. This test can detect the ingestion of ethyl alcohol within the past seven to 90 days. This test is not an under the influence test. People who request ETG testing may be in a program that requires them to have this test. It is sometimes used by the court system for persons who may have had a DUI in the past. Employers that have a zero tolerance alcohol usage policy may be interested in this test, as well as employers that have substance abuse programs in place that require enrollees to be tested. It is also frequently used by parents who would like to know if their child has recently ingested alcohol.