Posts tagged ‘fracture’

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!

April 24, 2014

Ankles: Sprains and Pains

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For any building to be upright, it requires a solid foundation. Such is true for the human body: if what’s below the knees goes wonky it can have an effect on the body as a whole. Ankles are incredibly resilient joints but when they take a hit (or a fall or a twist) they can be problematic.

 

Ankle sprains are common, and can be seen in athletes and nonathletes alike. Sprains can result from the ankle turning from a misstep, from stepping down at an angle or from sideways movements. There are clinical rules which help determine who needs imaging- mild sprains may not need to be imaged.

 

Sprains typically result in injury to the ligaments, those soft tissue bands which connect bone to bone. If the ankle is unstable or if symptoms do not improve as expected, imaging with an MRI may be needed. This allows assessment of the bones of the ankle as well as the soft tissues, including the ligaments.

 

A fall from a height may lead to fracture or dislocation (ouch). Plain films of your ankle will be the starting point if fracture is suspected.  If a fracture is complex, CT is excellent at showing the anatomy and helping your surgeon plan treatment.

 

Achilles tendontears are often an event with a distinct injury, sometimes related to a sudden movement and abrupt tensing of the calf muscle (Remember those replays of Lebron James’ injury? Ouch!). Physical exam will often reveal a focal defect in the tendon your doctor can feel. We may want to image to see if the tendon is completely torn and the distance between the torn ends to help with surgical planning. Ultrasound can show this nicely, as can MRI.

 

Tendons about the ankle other than the Achilles can also be injured, torn or inflamed. Injuries to other ankle tendons can also be evaluated with ultrasound, although MRI is more commonly used. Tendons about the ankle include the peroneal tendons on the outer side of the ankle and the posterior tibial tendon on the inside.

 

It’s important to treat ankle injuries, because as a foundation for the body, adding a limp can lead to other problems including back pain (double ugh). If left untreated, ankle sprains can lead to chronic instability.

 

As ever, prevention is the best medicine. Some ankle strengthening exercises can be found here.

(Photo credit: Broken ankle Cast detail by FiDalwood via Flickr Copyright Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0))

April 8, 2014

Bone Density: What Is DEXA?

Diagnostic Imaging Centers DEXA scanner

Diagnostic Imaging Centers DEXA scanner

Dual photon x-ray absorbtiometry? That sounds like something that happened to Bruce Banner (okay, those were gamma rays…). But we promise, you won’t turn green from what is more simply known as a DEXA scan.

 

A DEXA scan is also called a bone density scan. This test is used to test your bone density and determine your risk for future fracture.  This test involves a small amount of radiation and evaluates the density or strength of your bones. It can analyze different bones, but is most often used to evaluate the spine and hip.

 

An exam takes 10 minutes and is easy for most: all you have to do is hold still while lying on your back and our computers will do the rest. On the day of your exam you will be asked to avoid taking any calcium supplements as they interfere with the test. If you have metal in your back or hip like a spinal fusion rod or hip replacement your exam will be slightly different.  For these cases we use another bone for analysis, typically the forearm.

 

The test will calculate a score which estimates fracture risk. All sorts of data are taken into account, from age to gender to race, and your bone density will be compared to a healthy 30-year-old’s average.

 

Bone density results will fall into three ranges: normal, osteopenia or osteoporotic. Osteoporosis is the loss of bone mass often found in the elderly which makes bones brittle or weak and susceptible to breaking. Osteopenia indicates bone density less than expected but not yet reaching osteoporosis levels. While osteoporosis is serious with serious implications for future health, it is also treatable – and treat it is what we want for you! If you show signs of bone density loss there are a variety of medication options and lifestyle changes which can be considered.

 

While a DEXA can’t cure what ails, it can help target and identify what does so that treatment can be started to get you on the road to your best possible health!

(Photo credit: DEXA scanner at the Diagnostic Imaging Centers)

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!