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How to Use My FSA?

When it comes to flexible spending accounts or FSAs, the phrase “Use it or Lose it” is typically first to come to mind. However, it may be a surprise to learn just how much Americans actually lose in unused contributions. It’s estimated that more than $400 million is forfeited every year in FSA/HSA funds! That’s because we either miss or forget our spending deadlines. An FSA is a great deal if you use it wisely. It allows you to put away pre-tax dollars for eligible healthcare services and products — including everything from co-pays to prescriptions.

Typically, you must spend all the money in your FSA account by the end of the year or risk losing it. However, we are getting a little extension thanks to the COVID relief bill implemented late last year. This bill allows the FSA money you accrued in 2020 to still be available to you until December 31, 2021. In addition, the money you accrue in 2021 will be available to you until December 31, 2022. With the extended deadlines, you can plan out how to spend your FSA dollars on services that can directly impact your health rather than rush to spend the money on boxes of bandages and containers of calamine lotion you don’t necessarily need.

One of the services many people don’t think of using their FSA money on is lab testing. Over the past year, many of us put off an annual check-up from our primary care doctor so as not to risk exposure to COVID-19.  You don’t have to wait until your next doctor’s visit for your next overall health assessment. Any Lab Test Now® has a wide variety of tests — all of which fall under the FSA guidelines — that can track different aspects of your physical well-being.

The Comprehensive Male and Female Panels are two of the best choices for men and women looking to take their health into their own hands and be smart about FSA spending. Both panels include a Complete Metabolic Panel (CMP) and a Complete Blood Count (CBC); two blood tests that offer vital health information. These tests are essential to understanding your electrolyte and hydration status, kidney function, liver function, and blood cell values. Each panel provides information for you to self-monitor your health and discuss with your doctor to better understand your body and learn to manage your healthcare proactively.  

Here is a look at what else each panel includes.

Comprehensive Female Panel:

No matter what stage of life you are in, the Comprehensive Female Panel will help you recognize and address hormone imbalances and the overall condition of your health.

The Comprehensive Female Panel includes the following tests:

  • Cholesterol (Lipid) Panel
  • Estradiol
  • Testosterone (Free and Total)
  • TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone)
  • HbA1C (Hemoglobin A1C)
  • Progesterone
  • DHEA-Sulfate
  • FSH (Follicle Stimulating Hormone)
  • LH (Luteinizing Hormone)

Comprehensive Male Panel:

An important aspect of the Comprehensive Male Panel is the inclusion of the test for prostate cancer, which is one of the most common types of cancers among men.

The Comprehensive Male Panel includes the following tests:

  • PSA (Prostate-Specific Antigen)
  • Cholesterol (Lipid) Panel
  • Testosterone (Free and Total)
  • TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone)
  • HbA1C (Hemoglobin A1C)
  • DHEA-S (Helps in the evaluation of your adrenal gland function)

Be at Ease 

Fasting is required for both the Male and Female Comprehensive Panels. What isn’t required is an appointment. You can walk into your nearest Any Lab Test Now location to have these tests, and any other lab tests that may be beneficial to you, completed and covered by your FSA dollars. 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 preferred CDC 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 help every customer feel at ease as we continue to navigate through the pandemic. We are here to help!

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

Checking Hormones to Battle Exhaustion, Boost Holiday Cheer

Chalking up weight gain, low energy and fatigue as normal signs of weathering the holiday season may be a mistake.

Making the holidays a magical time of year is a big responsibility. Baking cookies, buying presents and non-stop holiday cheer can be exhausting for anyone. But the holidays might not be to blame for excessive exhaustion and weight gain. A lack of enthusiasm for the season could all be attributed to a problem with a small, butterfly-shaped gland located at the base of your neck.

The thyroid gland communicates with the pituitary gland in the brain to release hormones that affect metabolism, growth and even body temperature, according to WebMD. The main hormone produced by the thyroid is thyroxine, or ts4. Thyroid level imbalance in your body may make you more susceptible to everything from osteoporosis and heart disease to infertility and fatigue. Thyroid disease typically develops slowly, making it difficult to diagnose.

Getting Thyroid Tested at ALTN

Get your energy back and truly enjoy the spirit of the holiday season by making your health a priority. A visit to your nearest Any Lab Test Now location can get to the bottom of your fatigue and weight fluctuations. Any Lab Test Now provides walk-in medical testing without a trip to the doctor’s office. With more than 170 locations nationwide, determining if your thyroid is producing the correct amount of hormones is as simple as getting a quick test. A certified medical assistant can administer the Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) test, which checks your body’s production of TSH and helps screen for thyroid disease, hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism.

Signs of Hypothyroidism

Hypothyroidism, or underactive thyroid, occurs when the thyroid does not produce enough ts4 hormone. Many of the symptoms of hypothyroidism are often shrugged off as signs of aging or stress. Approximately 4.6 percent of the U.S. population suffers from hypothyroidism, according to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Thyroid imbalances are more common in women and often occur after pregnancy or middle age. Women are five to eight times more likely to suffer from thyroid imbalances.

The most common signs of hypothyroidism are:

  • Feeling Tired
  • Weight Gain
  • Depression
  • Feeling Cold
  • Joint Pain
  • Hair Loss
  • Dry Skin

Other symptoms include memory loss, constipation and carpal tunnel syndrome, according to WebMD.

There are a number of causes of hypothyroidism, including an inflamed thyroid, autoimmune disease and iodine deficiency. Approximately 5 percent to 9 percent of women suffer from postpartum thyroiditis after giving birth, but the condition is temporary, according to Cleveland Clinic.

Signs of Overactive Thyroid Production

Hyperthyroidism, which is less common, occurs when the thyroid gland produces too much thyroid hormone. Graves’ Disease, an autoimmune disease, is the main culprit for hyperthyroidism, the American Thyroid Association reports. Some of the symptoms of an overactive thyroid are weight loss, nervousness, irritability, persistent vomiting, fast heart rate and frequent bowel movements. Treatment for hyperthyroidism varies, but can include antithyroid drugs, radioactive iodine, beta-blockers or even surgery.

Are you tired of being tired? Visit your local Any Lab Test Now to get your diagnosis, revive your energy and get control of your weight before the rush of the holiday season.

The Test Some People Are Scared To Take

Thanks to research and breakthroughs, people with HIV are living longer, healthier lives with one very important caveat: they MUST get tested and diagnosed. The study found that those who are tested and begin treatment early should experience near-normal life expectancies. But testing continues to be a problem. Some recent facts:

  • Approximately 1.1 million people in the U.S. are living with HIV today. About 15 percent of them (1 in 7) are unaware they are infected. (Source: HIV.gov)
  • Rural areas are displaying lower rates of testing and diagnosis than urban areas, according to a new study.

With so many new therapies and drugs available, it’s more important than ever to know your status. Your local Any Lab Test Now can help. When you know your status, you can take the steps necessary to protect yourself and those that you love.

Why people don’t get tested for HIV

HIV is considered a sexually transmitted disease… one that can be spread outside of sexual contact. Because it’s considered an STD, people can feel a certain amount of embarrassment associated with a diagnosis. Any Lab Test Now is a judgment-free zone. We are discreet, and we will ensure your privacy. Here are four other reasons people give for not wanting to get tested, according to avert.org.

  1. I don’t think I can cope with knowing I have HIV. The reality is that not knowing can be hard to live with as well.
  2. If I test positive, people will find out. At Any Lab Test Now, your confidentiality is as important to us as it is to you.
  3. I don’t need an HIV test because my blood has been taken in a hospital before. Your blood should NOT be tested without your consent.
  4. I nearly always use condoms. Condoms are great, but “nearly always” isn’t always!

There is no good reason to not get tested. It could save your life and maybe even the lives of those you love.

About HIV testing at ALTN

There are two parts to the HIV Test at Any Lab Test Now. The first part is an initial blood screen. A negative result means there are no HIV antibodies and p24 antigen in your blood. BUT, if that screen is positive, the lab will run a confirmation test called an HIV 1/2 Antibody differentiation test. This confirmation test will determine an HIV-1 or HIV-2 virus. Results are ready in 3 to 5 business days.

An important reminder!

Having one STD increases your risk of becoming infected with another STD. If you’re considering the HIV Test, you might want to look at upgrading to the Comprehensive STD Panel, which tests not only for HIV, but also several other STD’s including hepatitis B and C.

Over one million people are living happy and productive lives with HIV, but the key is knowing your status. Let Any Lab Test Now help you obtain a proper diagnosis so treatment can begin and you can get on with living your life.

Dealing With Back-To-School Stress: How Will Your Child Cope?

Back-to-school can be an exciting and stressful time for teens. On one hand, they are excited to see their friends, but on the other, they’re facing increasing stress and anxiety when it comes to their daily responsibilities. Any Lab Test Now knows that parents are worried and sometimes unsure of how to respond. We try to make it easier with our discreet and confidential drug testing.

Why Teens Take Drugs

One of the first steps to confronting your fears as a parent is understanding exactly why teens take drugs. The National Institute on Drug Abuse offers us some insight.

  • Teens take drugs to fit in. They want to be accepted in a social circle that includes drug-using peers.
  • Teens take drugs to feel good. Drugs produce feelings of pleasure. The intensity of the euphoria differs by the type of drug and how it is used.
  • Teens take drugs to feel better. Depression, social anxiety, stress-related disorders, and physical pain are just some of the issues facing adolescents. Stress especially plays a significant role in starting and continuing drug use.
  • Teens take drugs to do better. The pressure to perform athletically and academically can be intense. Some teens turn to drug use because they believe it will enhance their performance.

Sometimes there’s no real reason; teens just like to experiment, especially doing those things that they perceive as thrilling or daring.

Take Control With ALTN

Any Lab Test Now is here to help you, confidentially and anonymously. Our knowledgeable and professional medical assistants will help you navigate the choices available if you’re unsure of what test might be right for your family. We offer a wide range of tests that can determine drug use. The options include:

Hair Drug Test – A test of hair strands can determine if someone has used drugs as far back as three months. This test is a good choice for parents if they want to find out if their teen has been using drugs for a longer period, or if they think their child knew they were going to get drug tested and stopped using just to pass the test.

Fingernail Test – It takes two weeks for ingested drugs to begin showing in the fingernails. Nail clippings can determine if your child has used drugs as far back as six months.

Urine Test – If you think your teen has used drugs within the last 24 to 72 hours, this is a good choice.

If you suspect your child may be experimenting or using drugs, it can be very frightening. You don’t have to face those fears alone. The right test from Any Lab Test Now will provide you with the information you need to take control of the situation.

Confidentiality and Trust

Protecting your child’s identity is paramount. All testing at Any Lab Test Now is confidential. No one will have access to the results but you — the parent. You will own the results and can even use an anonymous name if you would prefer. Confidentiality and discretion are of the utmost importance to Any Lab Test Now. We work hard to make an already worrying situation as easy as possible.

Back-to-school can mean back to pressure, stress, and temptation for some students. Let your local Any Lab Test Now help you and your child face the challenges of the coming school year, together.

Presumptive Evidence of Immunity – Why It Is Important To You

So what is “presumptive evidence of immunity” and why should you care about it? In honor of National Immunization Awareness Month, Any Lab Test Now wants you to take a moment to think about measles, mumps, and rubella (also known as German measles). These aren’t diseases that too many of us spend time thinking about because we were most likely immunized against them when we were very little.

But how do you know that an immunization is still effective when you received it so long ago that you can’t even remember it? The CDC recommends that children get two doses of the MMR vaccine with the first dose starting at age 12 to 15 months. The second dose is usually given between the ages of 4 through 6. For most of us, that’s a pretty long time ago! If you received the shot as a child and you still have proof of it, you have “presumptive evidence of immunity.”

That’s not good enough for some people. Some people in high-risk situations may want more concrete evidence. Any Lab Test Now offers you a way to see if your vaccine is still protecting you — keeping you from worrying or from receiving an unnecessary shot. It’s called MMR Titer Testing. Simply put, it’s a blood test that checks to see if you are immune to measles, mumps, and rubella.

MMR Titer Testing

For some people, MMR Titer Testing provides peace of mind; for others, it might be required. No matter which category you fall into, Any Lab Test Now can provide you with certified lab results that will either prove you are safe — or let you know that you need to take action. Who might consider MMR Titer Testing? Turns out, a surprising number of people!

College StudentsAccording to the CDC, students at post-high school educational institutions who do not have presumptive evidence of immunity need two doses of MMR vaccine, separated by at least 28 days.

International TravelersEach year, unvaccinated people get infected while in other countries, bring the disease into the United States and spread it to others. Each year, an estimated 10 million people are affected by measles, and the disease kills almost 110,000 people around the world! Measles, in particular, is so contagious that if just one person has it, up to 90 percent of the people close to them who are not immune will also become infected.

Healthcare PersonnelPeople who work in hospitals and doctor’s offices are at high risk and have to have documented proof of protection.

Women of Childbearing AgeIf you’re thinking about becoming pregnant, you might want to check for evidence of immunity before pregnancy. Another important point: women should avoid getting pregnant for at least one month after getting the MMR vaccine.

If you’ve managed to keep your childhood immunization record then you have presumptive evidence of immunity. Also, if you were born before 1957, you should be covered as well. Otherwise, your local Any Lab Test Now is available to provide you with the proof of protection you need.

Back to the Basics on Cholesterol

When it comes to your health, it can be easy to get caught up in the latest headlines about what’s “good” or “bad.” We can get so caught up in the headlines that sometimes the basics get pushed back and forgotten. But the basics are the bedrock of your health, so let’s talk about cholesterol.

You could be suffering from high cholesterol and not even know it. It doesn’t have any signs or symptoms. It puts you at risk for heart disease and stroke, two of the leading causes of death in the United States. Any Lab Test Now makes it easy to know your cholesterol levels. We can also help you manage the disease. It all starts with knowing your risks… and your numbers.

CHOLESTEROL BOTH GOOD AND BAD

Believe it or not, some cholesterol is not only good to have… but necessary. Blood cholesterol is made by your body’s liver and it helps your body perform important jobs, such as making hormones and digesting fatty foods. Your body makes all of the blood cholesterol it needs, which is why experts recommend that people eat as little dietary cholesterol as possible. Dietary cholesterol is found in stuff like meat, seafood, poultry, eggs and dairy products. Your diet can be a huge risk factor when it comes to your chances of developing high cholesterol.

KNOWING YOUR RISK

When it comes to risk factors associated with high cholesterol, there are some things you can control and some that you can’t. For example:

Certain health conditions increase your risk. Obesity is a well-known risk factor, but so is having Type 2 diabetes.

Your age and gender play a role. As we get older, our bodies can’t clear cholesterol from our blood as efficiently, so just getting older increases your risks. Men tend to be at a high risk, no matter what age.

Genetics can be your friend or your foe. If you have a family history of high cholesterol, you are more likely to have it. Couple that with an unhealthy diet and you’re in for a double whammy!

Your lifestyle plays a huge role. When it comes to lifestyle risk factors, consider the big three — diet, exercise, and smoking. If your diet is high in unhealthy fats, your risk goes up. If you aren’t exercising, you can gain weight, which puts you at an increased risk. Smoking makes an already bad situation even worse by damaging your blood vessels, making them more likely to collect cholesterol’s fatty deposits!

Understanding your risks could make regular cholesterol testing an important part of your life. Any Lab Test Now offers a wide range of cholesterol testing designed to help you know exactly where you stand and whether your efforts to get your cholesterol under control are working.

GETTING YOUR CHOLESTEROL UNDER CONTROL

Our most basic panel is the Cholesterol (Lipid) Panel. This simple test will help you determine if you have abnormal cholesterol or triglyceride levels. With one blood draw, we can provide you with some serious health information that can truly make a huge difference in your life. You don’t need an appointment, but you do have to fast for this test for 10–12 hours prior, so it does take a small amount of planning. It’s worth it!

MANAGING YOUR RISKS

Now that you know your numbers, you and your doctor can make an informed decision about moving forward. You might start with simple lifestyle changes involving your diet and exercise habits. If those efforts don’t work or if your numbers are too high, your doctor may consider putting you on cholesterol-lowering medication. Our Cholesterol Medication Maintenance Panel checks your current cholesterol levels, so you’ll know if your treatment is effective. And since some medications have possible side effects, the panel also checks liver functions.

Any Lab Test Now is constantly updating and reviewing the top-quality tests that we offer. We work hard to strike a balance between keeping up with the latest breakthroughs, but also remembering the basics of good health. If you’re at an increased risk of developing high cholesterol, come in and talk with one of our lab experts. We’re here to help you take control of your health.