Using Your FSA Dollars Wisely With Any Lab Test Now

If you are using a Flexible Spending Account — often termed an FSA — then you’re already showing a healthy respect for your bottom line. Using pre-tax dollars to pay for out-of-pocket medical expenses just makes good sense. Making sure you use every cent of those dollars is the smartest move you can make. As the year winds down, the clock is ticking on those FSA dollars that you either need to dole out or ditch. So what’s a smart money shopper to do? Any Lab Test Now® offers you several of our best options. These tests will provide you with comprehensive, vital information that will help you take control of your health — and spend your money wisely!

1.ANNUAL CHECK-UP PANEL

The Annual Check-Up Panel is the perfect panel for evaluating your overall health. That’s because it helps you establish 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. If you weren’t able to make it to your doctor for an annual physical and blood work, this is the test for you.

2. BASIC NUTRITIONAL PANEL

As more and more of us adopt alternative eating lifestyles, nutritional deficiencies are going to increase. Add that to nutrient shortfalls caused by common medications and you end up with an otherwise healthy person who is malnourished! 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.

3. WEIGHT MANAGEMENT TAKE HOME HORMONE KIT

According to the CDC, 39.8 percent of adults in the United States are obese. Much of the blame is placed on over-eating and sedentary lifestyles, but many of us are not aware of the strong connection between our hormones and our weight. If you are struggling with obesity and just can’t seem to lose weight, then you owe it to yourself to determine if your hormones are playing a part. The test identifies specific hormonal imbalances that contribute to excessive weight gain and obesity.

Any Lab Test Now is cost-effective and convenient. If one of our “best buys” above doesn’t suit you, take a few minutes to browse through our list of hundreds of quality lab tests available. From allergy testing to DNA, Any Lab Test Now offers you quality and convenience. With all the options we have to offer, you’ll get the most out of your FSA dollars!

Take Control of Your Nutrition in the New Year

With the new year upon us, many people have set resolutions to embark on a journey to a healthier, happier life. In fact, eating healthier is one of the most popular New Year’s resolutions each year. Unfortunately, it’s often quite difficult to follow through with those goals. According to Business Insider, 80 percent of resolutions fail by the second week of February, and only 8 percent of people successfully keep their resolutions for the entire year. The key to success is setting up realistic goals with actionable stepping stones. Instead of thinking of your new diet as a restrictive, miserable experience, view it as a lifestyle change for the better.

Eat at Home

Eating at home can be a fun (and economical) approach to hitting your weight loss goals while still getting the nutrients your body needs to thrive. By cooking your own meals, it’s easier to control your portion sizes. ABC News reports that American serving sizes have grown over the past 20 years, contributing to the obesity epidemic. Consuming smaller portions combined with a higher intake of fruits and vegetables will help you hit your wellness goals in no time – and your wallet will thank you, too!

Drink More Water

According to Harvard Medical School, drinking fluids is vital to your health for a multitude of reasons. Every system in your body, including your brain, muscles and heart, needs water to function. Fluids carry nutrients to your cells and flush bacteria from your body. Without proper hydration, your body may have trouble fully processing nutrients. Unfortunately, for many health enthusiasts, drinking enough water can be challenging! It’s recommended to drink 1 – 1.5 liters of water per day – no easy feat! Luckily, there are some techniques you can use to increase your water intake. Try setting an alarm on your phone to periodically remind you to drink water. There are also apps that can help you track how much you drink in a day. Finally, buying a new water bottle can help keep you motivated. Through proper hydration you’re likely to see an improvement in your digestion, energy and even in your skin.

Get Your Nutrition Levels Tested

Before you begin a new and improved healthy diet, it’s important to consult a healthcare professional. You should understand what exactly your body needs and adjust your diet from there. Nutrition tests are a great option for learning more about your body. They can provide you with your current nutrient levels so you can better develop a proper meal plan that will set you up for long-term success. Even if you are eating generally well, you may still be missing out on important vitamins, minerals and nutrients. By adjusting your meal plans to fit your specific body’s needs, you’ll be feeling your best in no time.

The best part? You don’t need to spend hours trying to make an appointment or sitting in a waiting room to get your nutrition tested—you can stop by your local Any Lab Test Now location and be seen promptly. Any Lab Test Now offers an extensive nutritional panel called the MicroNutrient test. This test will provide a snapshot of your current nutritional status and how you can improve it in the upcoming year. To learn more about the MicroNutrient , find your local Any Lab Test Now location at AnyLabTestNow.com.

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.

 

Understand the Impact of Nutrients on Your Body

Understand the Impact of Nutrients on Your Body

Do you know what’s happening in your body when you eat? What you eat and how well your body digests it can have a far-reaching impact on your health and everyday wellbeing, so it’s important to know what’s happening internally. There’s a lot of information that can be revealed when you take time to be tested for nutrient absorption, which is why nutritional testing at Any Lab Test Now is important.

What is Nutritional Testing?

By analyzing blood chemistry, these tests reveal more than simple digestive trouble. The cellular composition of your blood, including levels of hemoglobin, red and white blood cells and platelet counts, can give you helpful hints about health conditions you might be experiencing. Nutritional testing can also examine levels of vitamins, minerals and enzymes in your blood and compare these to normal levels to find any deficiencies. Finally, the density of many of the components of your blood can tell you if your organs are functioning properly and if you’re getting enough fluids.

Nutrition-Related Health Concerns

Nutrition plays an important role in keeping your body balanced and full of energy. When not properly balanced, your body can experience a variety of discomforts and long-term health issues. A few examples include:

  • Fatigue
  • Achy, weak or crampy muscles
  • Low hormone levels
  • Chronic inflammation
  • Organ malfunction
  • Abnormal heart rhythms
  • Anemia
  • Memory loss

Micronutrients

Micronutrients are vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Unlike nutrients like calcium and potassium, these are only needed in small amounts, yet being deficient in one or more of these nutrients can also be harmful to your body. To gather even more information about your digestive health, try tests like the micronutrient test and the comprehensive male or female panel. These tests will give you a better picture of how well-balanced your diet is. Too little of a certain micronutrient may lead to long-term health issues, such as poor organ function, poor immune function or any number of chronic diseases.

Nutrition is the backbone of your physical health, so it makes sense that you would need to check up on it every once in a while. By getting a nutritional panel at Any Lab Test Now, you can answer any questions you might have about your nutrition, as well as potentially find solutions to nagging health issues. So walk-in to your local Any Lab Test Now to see how a Nutritional Panel can help you stay healthy!

Five Recommended Tests for the New Year

Each January, people across the country resolve to get fit and improve their health. From increasing exercise and reducing stress to taking vitamins and eating right, people understand the importance of taking care of their bodies and minds. Taking care of oneself is a goal that has positive impacts on every area of life.

Of course, any time you set a goal, it is important to figure out how you will track your progress and measure the impact of the actions you take to reach the goal. When it comes to goals related to good health, there are tests that can help you evaluate where you are today and what your personal areas of focus should be.

In 2017, the top five suggested tests for men and women are:

Basic Check-Up Panel – This grouping of tests helps you evaluate your overall health. From liver function to blood pressure, this panel gives you a high-level view of your health today so that you can better pinpoint what is working well, what isn’t, and identify areas for improvement.

Comprehensive Female Panel – This is the most comprehensive panel for women. Not only does it evaluate your overall health, as in the Basic Check-Up Panel, but it also measures hormone levels, nutrition status and thyroid function.

Male Panel – Like the Basic Check-Up Panel, this gives you a good overview of your health. In addition, however, it evaluates adrenal functions that are specific to men and testicular health.

Nutritional Panel – Often, health and wellness issues can stem from having too much or too little of a nutrient in one’s body. Evaluating and monitoring the level of various nutrients in your body is a good first step to making sure your body has what it needs to perform at its best.

Cortisol Total Test – Cortisol is the hormone your body releases in response to stress. When cortisol levels are too high for an extended period, they can contribute to health issues. Monitoring your cortisol level is a good starting point if your goal is to reduce stress.

When it comes to good health, making the decision to take control is step one! Step two is learning about how healthy your body is today so that you can find specific areas for improvement. From there, you can establish a plan that meets your personal health needs. Then, when 2018 rolls around, you are sure to find yourself fitter and healthier!

The 5 Best Tests to Use Your FSA On

altn-dec-newsletter-sized-fsaHSA and FSA accounts can help you budget for your healthcare, and ensure you always have the money you need to pay for any unexpected health events. But if you still have money in your FSA, it will expire at the end of the year. Instead of letting your money vanish, put it to use by getting some testing or immunizations you’ve been putting off. Wrap up lingering health concerns now so you can start fresh in the new year.

Allergy Test
The holidays coincide with peak cold and flu season, but if your sniffles won’t go away, you might look into allergy testing. Up to 50 million Americans suffer from allergies. If you experience emotional or physical reactions after you eat, or if you frequently have symptoms like a stuffy nose or trouble breathing, you might have an allergy to something you ate. The Allergy Test goes through as many as 45 different foods and 45 environmental triggers to identify the root of your symptoms.

Intolerance Test
If you’ve been noticing symptoms that aren’t associated with an allergic reaction, then you might have a food intolerance. If you experience fatigue, gas or diarrhea, depression or anxiety, weight gain or a general chronic discomfort, you may want to get a food intolerance test. This becomes especially important as you grow older, because you can develop new food sensitivities or intolerances later in life.

Blood Cortisol Test
If your stress levels are through the roof, the holiday season will likely only make it worse — it can seem like your to-do list never ends! To see if your stress is starting to cause problems for your body, get a blood cortisol test. High levels of cortisol are dangerous, because over time they can lead to high blood pressure, inflammation, compromised immune response and weight gain.

Thyroid Test
The holiday meals sure are delicious, but do you know what isn’t so great? The holiday pounds. If your weight gain tends to stick around a bit too long after the holidays, you should get your thyroid tested. Your thyroid controls metabolic activity, which is vital for maintaining a healthy weight. Poor thyroid health is associated with symptoms like fatigue, short attention span, weight gain and numbness or cold intolerance. Thyroid disorders can also cause conditions like osteoporosis and heart disease.

Proof of Immunizations
Are you traveling for the holidays or early next year? The first thing on your list should be to make sure your immunizations are up-to-date, which you can do by getting a proof of immunization test. These tests ensure that you have gotten the immunizations you need and provide valid paperwork to prove that you are immunized, which can be helpful if you’ve lost any documentation.

Don’t wait for the new year to address your lingering health concerns. If you have an FSA that is going to expire soon, get the important lab tests you need before 2017! For more information, visit your local Any Lab Test Now.

The Top 5 Things To Avoid This Holiday Season

What do you do when your food won’t treat you right? From causing digestive problems or headaches to giving you long-term health concerns, sometimes the simple act of eating what we love can make us feel horrible. And while there are about 40 foods that are known to cause reactions for people, the five on this list are the most notorious trouble-makers. If you don’t feel so hot after consuming some of these foods, you might want to avoid them over the holidays. And if you’re not sure what food is making you feel ill, visit your local Any Lab Test Now for an ALCAT test that will pinpoint your food sensitivity!

Dairy
Dairy foods are notoriously hard to process. According to Medline Plus, a division of the U.S. National Library of Medicine, about 30 million Americans have some degree of lactose intolerance by the time they reach age 20. The most common symptoms of lactose intolerance are gas, bloating, diarrhea and cramping, beginning within 30 minutes of consuming dairy. You can work around lactose intolerance by consuming different types of dairy products, by consuming them in smaller amounts or by consuming products made with soy or nut milks. You can also use supplements of the enzyme lactase to help you digest dairy more easily. The ALCAT panel offered by Any Lab Test Now can help you pinpoint whether your digestive distress is caused by lactose intolerance.

Food additives
Food additives can be any substance, natural or man-made, that brings about a certain change to taste, texture or nutritional content. These can include vitamins and minerals, flavorings, colors, preservatives and chemicals that change the acidity or texture of foods. The adverse effects of food additives can be as varied as the additives themselves. Eight additives are responsible for most adverse reactions: sulfites, parabens, nitrates, BHT and benzoates, which are preservatives; monosodium glutamate (MSG) and aspartame, which are flavor enhancers; and tartrazine, a yellow dye. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, some symptoms of adverse reactions can be hives, difficulty breathing, digestive troubles and nausea.

High Saturated Fat
Foods that are high in saturated fat can contribute to high cholesterol and heart disease. High cholesterol is a gradual, chronic condition that makes your heart work a lot harder to pump blood throughout your body, but doesn’t present very many noticeable symptoms at first. But foods with high saturated fat contents can also cause some immediate digestive distress if you’re sensitive to it. Inflammation is a likely result of eating too many foods high in saturated fat, because they irritate your stomach as you digest them. You can experience heartburn, coughing and even shortness of breath after eating these foods. Foods like butter, fatty meat products, lard and full-fat dairy products, and foods made with any of those products, are all foods you might be sensitive to. In addition to the ALCAT panel, which will let you know if these foods irritate your digestive system, the lipid panel or Lipoprotein Particle Profile at Any Lab Test Now can show you your risk of high cholesterol and heart disease.

Wheat
A growing number of people are being diagnosed with wheat sensitivity or celiac disease. Celiac disease is a relatively recent discovery in the field of digestive health, and many who have struggled their whole lives with confusing symptoms are finally getting the answers they’ve sought. According to Beyond Celiac, while about 3 million Americans suffer from celiac disease, it is estimated that six times that amount have some form of gluten sensitivity. Gluten sensitivity involves an immune response a few hours or days after eating gluten and the symptoms can include confusion, joint pain, numbness of the arms, legs or fingers, and headache.

Red Wine
Some people have reactions when they drink alcohol that go beyond the typical symptoms of drunkenness. Experiencing anything from trouble breathing to flushing and headaches, people with a sensitivity to alcohol do not enjoy a night of drinking as much as some others might. The sensitivity could be brought on by the alcohol, or by a specific drink, like red wine. Additionally, the alcohol could simply be triggering a food sensitivity, rather than causing the reaction itself. The only way to know for sure is to get tested!

The holidays are a time for fun, family and of course, lots and lots of food. This holiday season, don’t let your food sensitivities make mealtimes a pain. Visit your local Any Lab Test Now for a lipid panel and ALCAT food panel to find out what foods don’t sit right with your body!

What’s the Difference Between a Gluten Intolerance and Celiac Disease?

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Gluten Intolerance Vs. Celiac Disease

Digestive issues. Unexplained fatigue. Headaches. Pain. Mood issues. If this sounds like an average day in your life, you’re not alone. About 15 percent of people in the U.S. have some form of gluten intolerance, and you could be one of them. While there could be other causes, these symptoms can point to a gluten intolerance, which goes undiagnosed in patients 99 percent of the time.

Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye and barley, and it is a HUGE part of the American diet. Odds are, you’ve been eating gluten all your life, and this could be the cause of these daily, unexplained discomforts.

So, what is gluten intolerance?

Gluten intolerance is a broad category of food intolerance that covers a range of conditions, including celiac disease — the most severe of the gluten intolerances — non-celiac gluten sensitivity and wheat allergies.

Celiac Disease Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity Wheat Allergy
What is it? A hereditary autoimmune disorder A sensitivity to gluten An allergy to the gluten protein when wheat is ingested
What happens when gluten is ingested? An autoimmune response that causes severe damage to the small intestine and long-term health problems A stress response is triggered by the body, often resulting in uncomfortable GI symptoms An immune response is triggered causing a temporary reaction by the body

As you can see in the chart above, a gluten intolerance can be anything from a mild irritation to a life-altering disease. Regardless of where you fall in this range, it is important to recognize your symptoms so you can protect your health.

Depending on the severity of your intolerance, symptoms may include:

  • Digestive issues including gas, bloating, diarrhea and constipation
  • Unexplained skin rashes
  • Unexplained fatigue, especially after eating a meal containing gluten
  • Mood issues like anxiety, mood swings, depression or ADD
  • Migraine headaches
  • Hormone imbalances
  • And many other possible symptoms

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms listed above, it may be a sign you should get tested for a gluten intolerance. At Any Lab Test Now, there are many options to choose from.

Want to test for celiac disease?

  • Try our Celiac Disease Panel. As celiac disease can often be difficult to diagnose, this test can help to differentiate between celiac disease and other inflammatory bowel diseases.
  • Or try our ALCAT Gut Health Profile, which can also help you diagnose celiac disease or discover the possibility of a non-celiac gluten sensitivity.

Or if you feel that you may have a wheat allergy, you can find out with these tests:

The sooner you know the cause of your symptoms, the sooner you can start doing something about them. Talk to the experts at Any Lab Test Now to find out which test is right for you and start your journey toward a happier, healthier life.

The Types of Food Sensitivity You Need To Know

It’s estimated that 15 million Americans have a food allergy, according to Food Allergy Research and Education. Furthermore, it’s estimated that food intolerance is prevalent in approximately 5 to 12 percent of the population. With so many people undiagnosed currently, you would be right to worry about whether you have a food sensitivity. Here’s what you need to know.

What is a food allergy?

This is an immune system response in your body that reacts to the introduction of a specific food as if it were a threat. This response can take place within minutes or hours, but it happens relatively quickly after you consume the food. Symptoms can be mild or severe, and they can even be life-threatening if the reaction leads to anaphylaxis. Watch out for these symptoms:

  • Itching in your mouth or swelling
  • Gastrointestinal symptoms, such as vomiting, diarrhea, or abdominal cramps and pain
  • Hives or eczema
  • Tightening of the throat and trouble breathing
  • Drop in blood pressure

What is a food intolerance?

This occurs when you have difficulty digesting a certain food. You might be able to eat a little bit of the food without symptoms, or you might not be able to eat it at all. Unlike a food allergy, symptoms take longer to develop. They start a few hours after consumption of the food and can last hours. Since food intolerance deals with digestion, symptoms tend to be relegated to the digestive tract. Watch out for these symptoms:

  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Vomiting
  • Bloating
  • Irritable bowel
  • Fatigue and general sick feeling

How can you know for sure if you have a food sensitivity?

A lab test can tell you if you have a food allergy or a food intolerance. But the tests for these two conditions are different. Therefore, it’s crucial to get the right lab test.

If you think you have a food allergy …

IgE and IgG tests can accurately inform you whether you have a true allergy to a substance. However, you must have been exposed to the irritant recently in order to detect the antibodies. These tests are commonly performed with exposure to the suspected allergen on the skin, but blood tests can be performed as well.

If you think you have a food intolerance …

An ALCAT test can detect intolerances and sensitivities accurately and regardless of recent exposure to the irritant. Essentially, the blood sample(s) taken are exposed to suspected or common irritants, and the cells’ reactions are studied to determine the body’s reaction. Any Lab Test Now is equipped to handle a wide range of ALCAT tests to help you determine if you have a food sensitivity.

The first step is testing. Then you can talk to your doctor about possible treatment options. Knowledge is key to know the proper treatment, and Any Lab Test Now can help you gain that knowledge!

National Folic Acid Awareness Week

Everything your body does relies on a B vitamin to help make it happen. From your metabolism to your brain function, to the growth and maintenance of your circulatory and nervous systems, none of it would happen if B vitamins weren’t there to help out. This group of vitamins was deemed so vital to Americans that in 1998, the U.S. government passed a law to require that flour products be fortified with them to help ensure that the population could get enough of the nutrients in a normal diet. Among infants, young children and women of childbearing age, folate, or folic acid, is among the most important B vitamin, Vitamin B9, because of its role in cell division and the formation of the nervous system. In honor of National Folic Acid Week, here are some facts you may not have known about folate’s role in the body.

Folate regulates cell division and aids in the construction and maintenance of the circulatory, nervous and digestive systems. It is most important during periods of time where cells are dividing rapidly, such as during growth spurts or development of organ systems. The best sources of folates are meat, beans and legumes, shellfish and whole grains. Fortification of refined grain foods have made things like breakfast cereals and refined flour into great sources of folic acid, and this has led to a dramatic decrease in the amount of folate deficiencies diagnosed in the U.S.

There are many reasons that one can be deficient in folic acid, although luckily, simply not consuming enough is no longer a prominent cause. Instead, illnesses like alcoholism, Crohn’s disease and certain genetic disorders are more likely causes. Many medications will also limit the amount of folate your body can absorb from food. If you have a condition that keeps your body from absorbing folate, it’s crucial that you discuss ways to supplement your intake with your doctor, because a folate deficiency can impact every area of your life.

The first symptoms of a deficiency are exhaustion, mental fogginess and depression. These start out relatively mild and are easy to reverse if they are caught quickly. A more chronic deficiency can cause folate deficiency anemia, which causes the red blood cells to grow abnormally large and unable to carry oxygen. This ends up leading to chronic fatigue, and your hair can even start turning gray. Folate deficiencies are especially dangerous for infants and pregnant women, since a lack of folate can cause the nervous system and spine to develop improperly in utero. It is estimated that between 11 and 19 percent of people in the United States do not consume enough folate in their diets. At Any Lab Test Now, there are a wide variety of lab tests available to help you determine your body’s folate levels, including the Vitamin B12/Folate Test, the Hematocrit lab test  which evaluates your red blood cell levels, our Anemia Panel, or the MTHFR Test, which can reveal a genetic disorder that hinders your folate absorption.

Folate is an integral part of the development and maintenance of bodily systems, and it’s absolutely crucial for growth and circulation. Fortification of refined foods have brought the U.S. into an era of unsurpassed health, but there are still a relatively large amount of people who struggle to get all of the nutrients they need. This National Folic Acid Week is the perfect time to look at your consumption and your folic acid levels, to see if you’re in optimal health. Stop in at an Any Lab Test Now location today to get your levels tested and find out your status!