Archive for September, 2014

September 29, 2014

Do you like to save money? Medical costs and quality care…

Kitten by Michael Richardson via Flickr (CC BY 2.0) note derivWhen it comes to lowering medical costs – the power can be in your hands! (Would you believe it? Because it doesn’t always feel that way…). The old motto about the customer always being right (customer = patient = you) is true. Shopping around can have a profound effect on the market, both in terms of pricing and level of quality. But this only matters IF you know you have options…

 

Price transparency in medicine is a relatively new concept. With payment of physicians, hospitals and other health-care providers done by insurance, most of us have never known how much a particular office visit, lab test or procedure actually costs. Those times are changing.

 

In the journal Health Affairs, a study titled “Price Transparency For MRIs Increased Use Of Less Costly Providers And Triggered Provider Competition” caught our eyes. (And not just because it was in the New York Times, though it was.) This study showed that when the cost of an MRI was known, going to the less costly provider happened more often. Makes perfect sense to us!

 

Price transparency makes sense because:

 

Reason number one: Patients aren’t always aware they have a choice in where to go for medical tests including imaging. Costs can vary greatly – sometimes by a factor of ten. If you pay a percentage of the cost of the test, the less a test costs, the less you pay. Simple math.

 

Reason number two: The math isn’t always simple though if you can’t get the numbers. Getting accurate pricing information can be a challenge, particularly from hospitals and large health-care enterprises. Does the price include all charges? Sometimes impossible to tell until after the billing starts.

 

We believe getting accurate, complete pricing information on the tests you are about to undergo is your right.

 

Price transparency in medicine – the time has come.

 

 

(Image attribution: Kitten! by Michael Richardson via Flickr Copyright Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0) note: derivative work)

 

 

Diagnostic Imaging Centers blogs on regularly about women’s health at www.mammographykc.com and general radiology at www.diagnosticimagingcenterskc.com. Visit our sites for more helpful information!

 

September 26, 2014

Save a Man’s Heart!

Obesity-waist circumference by Victovoi via Wikimedia Commons Copyright Public DomainHaving seen enough episodes of Grey’s Anatomy (or ER or any of a dozen other TV shows about medical practitioners) you may well know the amount of work a doctor can put in to save a man’s heart. OK, that is television and not real life.  As doctors, we love to save lives! We prefer to do it preventatively and proactively.

 

So… what does it take to save a man’s heart? It is easy; exercise, limited alcohol consumption, no cigarettes and a healthy BMI are the keys. The more items a man follows from this list, the better protection for the heart.

 

Here’s what blew our collective mind:

 

80% = the number of heart attacks in men that are preventable with a healthy lifestyle. Eighty!

36% = the risk reduction of heart attack by not smoking

12% = the risk reduction of heart attack by keep a waist measurement below 37”

3% = the risk reduction of heart attack by exercising on a regular basis

 

These numbers come from a recent study in The Journal of the American College of Cardiology. And also from the land of amazingly great news.

 

Get yourself or your man on the road to your best possible health by engaging in a healthier lifestyle and make those numbers work in your favor!

 

 

(Image credit: Obesity-waist circumference by Victovoi via Wikimedia Commons Copyright Public Domain)

 

Diagnostic Imaging Centers blogs on regularly about women’s health at www.mammographykc.com and general radiology at www.diagnosticimagingcenterskc.com. Visit our sites for more helpful information!

 

September 22, 2014

We Love… Prostate Cancer Networking Group!

PCNGWe love Prostate Cancer Networking Group… and we think you should like them too!

 

In Kansas City, this wonderful organization seeks to help:

 

Men who have, or have had, prostate cancer give valuable support to others through their involvement with the prostate cancer networking group.  Just as men have received support from this group, they can in turn offer other patients and their families patience, strength, and endurance through their experiences with diagnosis, treatment and recovery.

 

Isn’t that just what the doctor ordered? Cancer care reaches far beyond treatments and deeply into the lives of those affected by it.

 

Emotional support isn’t spoken of nearly often enough when it comes to the Big Battle – partly because patients are so focused on physical well-being that repercussions elsewhere in life fall second to simple survival. But to live the best possible life during and after cancer is our wish for all those who fight… and the Prostate Cancer Networking Group is here to fill that gap!

 

As doctors, our biggest hope is to see and end to cancer entirely.  Until then, we work as a team providing care and support needed. Everyone deserves a guide on the road to their best possible health and we appreciate Prostate Cancer Networking Group for filling that role for men with prostate cancer!

 

PCNG meets regularly:

We invite all prostate cancer survivors, their partners and those helping in the fight to join us.”

Meetings held 3rd Wednesday, monthly 6:30 – 7:30 PM

Gilda’s Club Kansas City 21 West 43rd KC, MO

Diagnostic Imaging Centers blogs on regularly about women’s health at www.mammographykc.com and general radiology at www.diagnosticimagingcenterskc.com. Visit our sites for more helpful information!

 

September 19, 2014

Pattern Baldness: Prostate Indicator Light?

Larry David at the 2009 Tribeca Film Festival by David Shankbone via Wikimedia Commons Copyright Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported (CC BY 3.0)If the trashcan is tipped over AND you see the dog racing out of the kitchen, you may assume that one caused the other to happen. It’s a common way of looking at the world.

 

However, the dog may just be chasing a naughty four-year-old from the room… IF something happens about the same time as something else, did one cause the other?

 

In medicine, studies ask this question all the time.

 

A recent study in the Journal of Clinical Oncology suggests there’s a relationship between a specific type of baldness and aggressive prostate cancer. This study proves a relationship, but does not answer the question of cause.

 

As with too many cancers, we don’t know what causes prostate cancer, but we can identify risk factors (age and family history most importantly). This study newly identifies baldness as a risk factor for prostate cancer. With certain types of baldness, the risk of aggressive prostate cancer was increased by 39%. That’s a big increase!

 

What type of baldness was associated with this significant increase in cancer risk? So called male pattern baldness is the type associated with prostate cancer risk. This is the type of baldness you most often associate with older men – hair loss at the crown of the head in conjunction with a receding front hairline. So, should this type of hair loss send you running to the oncologist’s office? No. But knowing the risk of prostate cancer is increased should mean increased vigilance. Regular screening exams are important for those at high risk – and that’s the most important takeaway from this study.

 

No matter what, embrace the hair you have (or don’t) and take care of the rest of your body too. That’s how you stay on the road to your best possible health!

(Image Credit: Larry David at the 2009 Tribeca Film Festival by David Shankbone via Wikimedia Commons Copyright Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported (CC BY 3.0))

Diagnostic Imaging Centers blogs on regularly about women’s health at www.mammographykc.com and general radiology at www.diagnosticimagingcenterskc.com. Visit our sites for more helpful information!

 

September 17, 2014

There’s a Better Way To Calculate Body Fat (and We’ve Got It!)

3D-printed Laughing Buddha (right) by Digital Nuisance via Flickr Copyright Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0)Obesity and its negative effects on our collective health has been covered repeatedly in the news. There are ways of defining being overweight or obese, most based on height, weight and body mass index (BMI). Body composition is another means of analyzing percentage of body fat, and another tool to help guide and follow treatment.

 

Let’s start with the numbers: accurate weight and height are a starting point. Getting your body mass index (which you can do here once you have your height and weight) is helpful in determining whether your weight is appropriate for your height. But to be truly accurate about weight, body fat and its affect on health, knowing what percentage of your body tissue is fat specifically can be helpful. Here is where radiology can help: DEXA is the most accurate means of assessing body composition.

 

DEXA is known most commonly for measuring bone mineral density. This can identify those with osteoporosis or those beginning to show signs of bone loss. Knowing your bone mineral density is increasingly important with age, and preventing fractures is a goal.

 

DEXA (or Dual Energy X-ray Absorptiometry if you want to know the words behind the acronym) is the most accurate method of assessing body composition. A DEXA scan is a medical test and is considered the Gold Standard in body composition testing with over 99% accuracy. This imaging technique using low dose x-rays can evaluate bone density, fat density and lean body mass. DEXA gives a total picture of body composition, useful for planning a course of action and then seeing the success (we’ll think positive!) of those actions.

 

Eating well, exercising regularly, talking to your doctor or consulting with a dietician are all actions that can help you on the way to better numbers. Decreasing body fat percentage while maintaining healthy lean body mass is the goal. Decreasing body fat percentage is as significant as overall weight loss to your health.

 

So start with your numbers and move from there. You have the power to get yourself on the road to your best possible health! And we’re happy to help in any way we can, from sharing healthy recipes to exercise tips and tricks to advising you on your DEXA scores to cheering you on and educating you along the way! If you follow us on Pinterest you’ll see more ideas everyday!

(Image attribution: 3D-printed Laughing Buddha (right) by Digital Nuisance via Flickr Copyright Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0))

Diagnostic Imaging Centers blogs on regularly about women’s health at www.mammographykc.com and general radiology at www.diagnosticimagingcenterskc.com. Visit our sites for more helpful information!

September 15, 2014

Prostate Health: 4 W’s + an H

Elderly_exerciseProstate health awareness is lagging in the national conversation and plaguing men in the United States. We’ve all heard the 1-in-8 statistic for women’s breast cancer… but do you know the number for men’s prostate cancer? Hold onto your hats: this is a 1-in-7 occurrence.

 

What do these numbers add up to? More than a quarter million men in the US will be diagnosed with prostate cancer this year and 30,000 will die from it.

Why is prostate cancer so serious? Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in men (just behind skin cancer), and the second most common cancer-killer for men (just behind lung cancer). If signs and symptoms show up and are handled appropriately, a prostate cancer warrior can turn into a prostate cancer survivor – and join the 2.5 million healthy others in this country.

 

Who is at risk? The answer is every man. For better or worse, prostate cancer occurs mostly in men over the age of 65 (66 is the average age of detection) and is seldom seen in men under the age of 40. Though no one knows for certain what causes prostate cancer, there are certain risks to be aware of for prostate cancer:

 

Main risk factors for prostate cancer:

 

  • age over 60
  • African American men are more often affected and may have more serious (advanced stage) disease
  • genetics plays a role in prostate cancer in a small percentage of cases
  • family history, particularly if prostate cancer is present in a brother or father
  • family history when prostate cancer is seen in a brother or father before the age of 65 is even more important in risk
  • some studies have shown a link to higher consumption of red meat

 

Possible signs and symptoms:

 

  • Most men will be asymptomatic! Or..
  • Blood in urine.
  • Impotence.
  • Pain in bones of the back, chest and hips.
  • Trouble urinating.

Where do we go from here? Because early stages of prostate cancer are not associated with signs or symptoms, regular screenings are imperative. To understand your personal risk and to figure out what steps you should be taking, have a discussion with your doctor.

 

How do we look for prostate cancer? The screening tests include digital rectal exam (DRE) and prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood tests. These two steps are the cornerstone of screening asymptomatic men for the disease. These should begin around the age of 50 for average risk men, possibly earlier for those at higher risk due to family history or for African American men. If either of the screening tests is abnormal, further evaluation by a urologist will likely follow. Prostate ultrasound and biopsy may be the next step. Prostate MRI may be indicated in some men as well, particularly for problem-solving complex cases.

 

For more information, here’s a link to the American Cancer Society prostate health site. Special thanks to Kansas City Urology Care for sponsoring the Zero Prostate Cancer Run/Walk!

(Image attribution: “Elderly exercise” by National Institutes of Health. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons)

Diagnostic Imaging Centers blogs on regularly about women’s health at www.mammographykc.com and general radiology at www.diagnosticimagingcenterskc.com. Visit our sites for more helpful information!

 

September 10, 2014

Diagnostic Imaging Centers Health and Wellmobile Launch

LH at HW launchIf you haven’t heard the radio ads (on Cumulus stations), or read our most recent blogs… We’re embarking on an awesome collaboration:

 

Diagnostic Imaging Center’s Health and Wellmobile!

 

So, what is this magical creation? The Health & Wellmobile is a traveling toolkit full of wonderful educational materials and even some exam opportunities. It will be all around Kansas City at 300-500 events throughout the coming year, appearing at everything from local races, community events, sporting events and even at our clinic locations.

 

We are thrilled to be partners with WINS Wellness/CareWorx, Rawxies, SunFresh Markets, Title Boxing and Hendrick Buick GMC Cadillac on this area-wide initiative!

 

The Health & Wellmobile launched this morning at Union Station downtown and has already made a few appearances about town. Our own Dr. Linda Harrison introduced our project and we’re very proud to be part of this initiative towards a healthier Kansas City!

 

More details in the future as we merrily roll along!

 

If you have interest in learning more – or you want the Wellmobile at one of your events – please do contact us at:

socialmedia.dic (at) gmail (dot) com.

 

 

September 8, 2014

7 Reasons Quitting Makes You a Winner


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Smoking by the numbers…

As physicians we want the best health for everyone. There are ways to work towards your best possible health including healthy diet and weight, regular exercise and getting regular screenings. Tobacco use has a huge impact on health, something we as radiologists see on a daily basis. Smoking kills. It’s an addiction, one of the hardest habits to break, but quitting IS possible and translates to immediate and long-term health benefits.

 

Just how bad is tobacco use?

 

Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the US.  Here are more shocking numbers about the impact of smoking:

 

  • 20.5% of men and 15.8% of women are current smokers.
  • 20% of deaths in the US are due to tobacco-related diseases.
  • 10 people die EVERY MINUTE from tobacco-related illnesses.
  • What kind of illnesses are related? Tobacco use is related to: cancer (lung, esophagus, oral, bladder and more), heart attacks, strokes, peripheral vascular disease, infertility, gum disease, emphysema, impotence and more!
  • Each puff of cigarette smoke contains 7,000 chemicals including 80 known to cause cancer. Did you know smoking brings carbon monoxide, formaldehyde and lead into your lungs with every puff?
  • 11% of pregnant women smoke during pregnancy.
  • Tobacco use contributes to 20-30% of low-birth weight infants and led to preterm delivery in 14% of newborns.

Sobering numbers and still only a small spectrum of tobacco’s impact. The bright spot is that smoking declined from 2005 to 2012 by nearly 3%.  Let’s keep that trend going by stamping out those butts. For more on taking the steps to quitting look here: http://smokefree.gov.

 

Now, on to a healthier you!

 

 

(Image credit: “Spitkid” by Opa – Own work. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons)

 

 

Diagnostic Imaging Centers blogs on regularly about women’s health at www.mammographykc.com and general radiology at www.diagnosticimagingcenterskc.com. Visit our sites for more helpful information!

 

September 5, 2014

Come and Welcome Diagnostic Imaging Centers, P.A.’s Health and Wellmobile with us!

HealhWellmobile_Launch_Evite

September 3, 2014

Head Aches and Head Issues #5: What Caused It?

Ice Cream Headache? by Citizen 4474 via Flickr Copyright Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)Now that we’ve covered when not to image the head in case of aches, and what we do to image the head in case of aches… let’s talk about what causes those aches.

 

The biggest fear people have with overwhelming cranial pain is the dreaded T-word. In the vast majority of cases, relax – it’s not a tumor!

 

Instead, the list of causes can be quite long, which means there are many ways of handling pain before jumping into fear-mode. Which of the following common issues can cause headaches?

 

  • migraines
  • tension headaches
  • stress
  • exercise/sex
  • sinusitis
  • dehydration
  • infections – ear or brain (meningitis)
  • dental problems/TMJ issues
  • blood in the brain (from aneurysm or other bleed, or from trauma)
  • post-concussion

 

Answer? All of the above. So before you let your mind wander to a scary place, relax and know that your doctor can help you narrow down the cause of your headache. The treatment may be as simple as hydration by drinking some water, taking allergy medicine to open your sinuses, or perhaps a little deep breathing or meditation to manage stress. You might be surprised to find a little relief is just around the corner from all that racket in your skull. Talk to your healthcare provider about your headache and they can help guide you to potential treatments.

 

To learn more about the long list of potential causes of headaches and what can be done about them, check out great information from the Mayo Clinic, here.

 

 

(Image credit: Ice Cream Headache? by Citizen 4474 via Flickr Copyright Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0))

 

Diagnostic Imaging Centers blogs on regularly about women’s health at www.mammographykc.com and general radiology at www.diagnosticimagingcenterskc.com. Visit our sites for more helpful information!