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.

 

Foods to Avoid During the Holiday Season

It’s time to deck the halls, light candles and visit with friends. From fancy cocktail affairs to cozy kitchen gatherings, people from coast to coast are getting together and bringing out their favorite fare during this season. While a little bit of nibbling can be okay for most people when done in moderation, overdoing the treats can cause serious health concerns.

What Foods to Avoid

Consumed mindlessly or in large quantities, any food can wreak havoc on your health. However, during the holiday season, these seem to be more frequently available than at other times of the year:

  • Tempting beverages. Alcoholic beverages, in general, can cause a variety of health concerns, such as cirrhosis of the liver or increased blood pressure, and alcohol consumption increases during the holiday season. Beyond concerns about over-consumption, seasonal favorites like eggnog, buttered rum and mulled cider tend to have significant amounts of fat and sugar that should be avoided.
  • Fatty meats. Prime rib, pot roast and the darker cuts of turkey will weigh you down with their high saturated fat content. (And this doesn’t even take the gravy into account!)
  • Rich, creamy sauces. Drenching mashed potatoes and topping green beans, these sauces certainly add appeal to your veggies, but they also increase the amount of fat, sodium and sugar in the dishes.
  • Extra candies. Candy canes are traditional sweets, but they are simply loaded with high fructose corn syrup that rubs up against your teeth, so be aware! And, there are other sugary culprits too: bowls of peppermints, Grandma’s fudge, and Auntie’s peanut brittle pop to mind.

From avoiding cardiac issues to maintaining hormone balance, food plays a critical role in your overall health and well-being. That’s why it’s important to become more aware of what you’re eating during this festive season.

How to Stay Holly Jolly

Of course, being careful doesn’t mean that you should skip out on all the fun! Instead, try these suggestions for taking part in the festivities without sacrificing your overall health.

  • Pick your favorites. Have a taste of the favorites you crave, but limit it to just a bite or two and be selective about which you choose.
  • Select healthier options. Grab a few nuts instead of heavy hors d’oeuvres. Enjoy a salad instead of the green bean casserole. Try gingerbread or pumpkin pie at dessert time instead of pecan pie or cheesecake.
  • Drink water. Before you leave for the festivities, drink a glass of water. This will help to control your appetite so you don’t over-graze.
  • Investigate alternatives. Instead of butter in baking, consider apple sauce. Instead of heavy cream, use low-fat milk. Try whole-grain rice instead of mashed potatoes. A quick search online will offer plenty of alternatives to help you cut down on fat, sugar and sodium in your cooking.
  • Try tracking. Since this time of year can be so hectic, consider keeping a food log or using a calorie counter app. Using one can help you become more aware of the choices that you’re making at each gathering, and help you remember all the fun items you’ve already nibbled on.

Know Your Body

While most people can sample a sweet treat or delve into a fatty dip once in a while, there are cases where a stricter diet is still advised. For instance, people who are managing their diabetes or have specific food sensitivities may need to bring extra caution to their diet as they join in the fun! If you want to know where you stand as the holiday season approaches, walk into your local Any Lab Test Now for a screening. Doing so will allow you to indulge a little bit while still knowing that your body can handle the impact of the food you’re enjoying.

Which Allergens Are You Fighting off This Spring?

Spring is in the air. Literally. And if you are one of the 50 million Americans that suffer from allergies, you’ve probably already gone through a few tissue boxes, nasal sprays and home remedies these past few weeks. While you may have gotten good at learning how to tend to your allergy symptoms, do you know exactly what is causing your constant runny nose or itchy eyes this season?

What causes spring allergies?

Usually, when you think of allergies, you think of spring. They just seem to go together, right? Well, it’s because just like the flowers are beginning to bloom, so are all the allergies. The biggest spring allergy trigger is pollen; tiny grains released into the air by trees, grasses and weeds for the purpose of fertilizing other plants. When a person who is allergic to pollen breathes in the grains, their immune system sees the pollen as a foreign invader and releases antibodies to attack the allergen. This leads to the release of histamines in the blood which causes the runny, nose, itchy eyes, and congested head symptoms we are all too familiar with.

Some of the most common outdoor spring allergy offenders are:

Trees: including Alder, Ash, Aspen, Beech, Box Elder, Cedar, Cottonwood, Cypress, Elm, Hickory, Juniper, Maple, Mulberry, Oak, Olive, Palm, Pine, Poplar, Sycamore, and Willow.

Grasses and weeds: Bermuda, Fescue, Johnson, June, Orchard, Perennial Rye, Redtop, Saltgrass, Sweet Vernal and Timothy.

How do you find out which spring allergen is causing your symptoms?

Receiving a Regional Environmental Allergy Testing Panel can help you hone in and identify exactly which type of tree, grass or weed is causing you to be stuffy and congested during spring. This panel tests for allergies associated with 39 different grasses, weeds and trees. It also tests for possible indoor triggers including animal dander and house dust mites. Once you know which allergen is causing symptoms, you and your doctor can work together to design a treatment plan customized for your specific allergies. Enjoy the spring this year and contact your local Any Lab Test Now® to get started in Taking Control of Your Health®.

Food Allergies Are Sneaky; Here’s Why

Do you think you have a food allergy? If so, are you sure that’s what it is? Some people mistake having food allergies with a food intolerance or sensitivity. Here’s the difference.

An allergy happens when your body creates antibodies to protect itself from something your body sees as harmful. The next time your body comes in contact with that particular something, histamines, which are produced in response to foreign intruders, are released causing allergic reactions.

Intolerances are different because they can vary depending on the situation, while an allergy reacts the same each time. Intolerances are a result of your body’s incapability to process certain substances.

The right lab test will answer your questions and get you on track to ease your symptoms. Check out our Gut Health Profile test. This measures your gut health on the genetic, antibody and cellular levels and will let you know exactly what’s going on inside your body, including Celiac Disease or gluten intolerance. To make sure you take the correct test, talk to one of our ANY LAB TEST NOW® medical assistants.

Don’t be deceived by the perception of a food allergy. If you’re not sure, make yourself sure and Take Control of Your Health®.