Posts tagged ‘health’

December 31, 2014

Wishing you a safe and happy new year!

DIC blog new years eve

December 23, 2014

Happy Holidays from Diagnostic Imaging Centers!

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December 19, 2014

Avoid the Ahhh-Choos!

Blowing her nose by oddharmonic via Flickr Copyright Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0)As doctors we have become familiar with germs.  When you have them you often need us to help with diagnosis and successful treatment.  We want to help get you on the road to your best possible health!

 

But as the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. And because the flu has no magical (or scientific) cure specifically, this season is all about prevention.

 

So what can you do in order to avoid having to stop by your friendly neighborhood doctor’s office?   You are feeling great and want to stay that way?  Here are a few handy tips:

 

  • Manage your health: Eat well, sleep well and get a good amount of exercise. Everything you do that’s good for you is good for your immune system!

 

  • Manage your germ contact: Disinfect surfaces and keep a safe distance from others when you feel you are coming down with something, or someone in your life is sick.

 

  • Manage yourself: Cover that cough and wash your hands! Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth too, germs love to sneak in through those places.

 

These may sound like simple solutions but old habits are sometimes hard to break. Stay vigilant, and develop good practices.

 

Oh, and if you’ve heard the kerfluffle about this year’s flu shot, keep in mind that while it is less effective than intended due to mutations, it is still effective. Get your vaccine – and get a better shot at staying healthy!

(Image credit: Blowing her nose by oddharmonic 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!

 

December 12, 2014

The ABC’s of Delivery Date Discovery

1024px-Mother_Kissing_BabyWhen is your baby due? This is one of the first  questions you will face from loved ones and strangers alike when you are pregnant. Determining the due date of your pregnancy, or the estimated delivery date (EDD) as we call it, means more than knowing what sign your child will be born under. It is vital to a healthy delivery.

 

An accurate due date is key to preventing pre- and post- term births and their related problems. Premature birth is associated with complications for the baby – postdate births pose different issues for baby and mom. An accurate due date is also key to evaluating fetal growth rate during the pregnancy. Inadequate growth is a serious issue for baby. Timing of obstetric care, especially knowing when it is necessary to induce labor (or NOT!) is best managed when a precise due date is known.

 

So, how does one accurately determine a due date? Traditionally, due date was calculated based on the first day of your last menstrual period (LMP). However, only approximately 50% of women can recall that date accurately. Differences in menstrual cycles and time of ovulation also leads to variability in the age of the pregnancy when based solely on LMP. This leaves a lot to guesswork… Enter: ultrasound.

 

In October of 2014, several groups including the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine, and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine issued guideline recommendations for the use of ultrasound in determining due date. This is most accurately done in the first trimester (prior to 14 weeks).

Ultrasound measures fetal length, from which your due date can be accurately derived.

 

So, once you are pregnant, for the best health for you and your precious baby know your due date with accuracy! Ultrasound in the first trimester can help keep you and your pregnancy on the path to good health.

 

(Image credit: Mother Kissing Baby by Vera Kratochvil 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!

 

November 3, 2014

Happy Monday After Halloween! Things Radiologists Find Scary…

Monsterhigh custom Skeleton&Frankie by gama__ via Flickr Copyright Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)Boo! Did we scare ya?

 

Happy Belated Halloween!

 

Friday was a great day for fun. Little princesses and cowboys  begging for candy and grown-ups telling ghost stories…

 

As radiologists who are used to sitting in dark rooms all the time, it takes a lot to spook us! We ain’t afraid of the dark…

 

We are afraid of some things though. So in honor of Spookiness Fest 2014 we list a few of our scariest things:

 

  • Skipping your annual mammogram! Fear, lack of knowledge of risk, denial – all can be scary reasons to keep women from getting screening that can save a life. Let a compassionate technologist hold your hand through the process. Know that if you have breasts you are at risk. Come to a place that will give you your results immediately so you don’t have to fret.

 

  • Ignoring unusual changes in your breasts. If something feels wrong, get it checked out. Lumps, skin changes like puckering, nipple changes, nipple discharge or leaking – all may be from benign, non-cancerous changes – but we can’t be for sure until you are evaluated.

 

  • Thinking one cigarette won’t harm you. Smoking is the leading cause of preventable deaths and disease in our country. Cigarettes bring carcinogens of many types into your body, doing damage to your lungs, your blood vessels, your GI tract – your whole body. Don’t start smoking, and get help to quit if you do. If you have a long smoking history, see if you qualify for screening with low-dose CT.

 

  • Skipping out on doctor’s appointments. Being healthy requires vigilance. We doctors love to take care of people – we aren’t scary. Illness is.

 

  • Ignoring or not knowing your numbers. Know your resting heart rate, your body weight and BMI (get up off the couch! french fries don’t count as veggies!), your blood pressure, your cholesterol and glucose levels. If they are in the green zone – great! If they are in the scary zone, your medical team can help you fix it!

 

Missing opportunities to take care of yourself – that’s what we find scary! We love our patients and love to see them love themselves. When you take a stand for your best possible health, there’s nothing to be afraid of!

 

 

PS That’s a picture of us… after a long day in the reading room at our office…we promise we aren’t usually that scary!

 

 

(Image credit: Monsterhigh custom Skeleton&Frankie by gama__ via Flickr Copyright Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-ND 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!

 

October 29, 2014

Donuts, Bagels, Claustrophobia and MRIs

1024px-Plain-BagelFor people with severe claustrophobia, MRIs can be intimidating. Even people who are only mildly claustrophobic may find MRI exams stressful – but they don’t have to!

 

The best imaging technologists and radiologists will always work with patients to provide feelings of safety and comfort during MRI procedures.

 

The first step in managing stress and claustrophobia comes in arming yourself with information. Information on how long the exam will take and how you will be positioned in the magnet can help prepare you.

 

Here are a few tips and tricks for the time you may find yourself in a donut-shaped machine:

 

  1. For many with mild claustrophobia, two things will help the most: covering your eyes and practicing visualization exercises. While this may sound “new age”, these sorts of mental exercises have been shown to get people through their MRIs. The best thing is to concentrate on breathing and on visualizing in your mind a calm, open space – one you find restful. Get that picture in your mind – a beach, a meadow, a mountain slope – someplace wide open. Get the smells and sounds in your mind as well. Keep coming back to it – it will work! This in conjunction with talking with the technologist throughout the study will get you through the test in no time.
  2. Because MRIs are loud, ear protection is provided. Some clinics offer music as well, which can be calming.
  3. If the above isn’t working, consider asking for a procedure done on an open bore magnet – the latest in technology is a more open cylinder design, still with a high field strength magnet (our Olathe clinic has such a machine!). True open MRI units may be an option as well, but those may be lower strength magnets and imaging times can be longer!
  4. If claustrophobia is still an issue, you may need to seek some help from your doctor or the radiologist. Some doctors who refer patients with claustrophobia for an MRI will write for a prescription for an anti-anxiety medication, like valium, to be taken prior to imaging. At some facilities, your radiologist will be able to provide medication, often Xanax, but make sure this is discussed with the facility beforehand as it may mean changes in how your prepare for the study, and it will require you to have someone available to drive you – no machine operating after these types of anti-anxiety meds!

 

Armed with this knowledge and the help of caring technologists and staff, you can survive the MRI experience. And with medical imaging comes the ability to diagnose and get you on the road to your best possible health!

Plain Bagel by Evan-Amos (Own work) [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!

 

October 9, 2014

MRI: Not If You’re the Tin Man

Tin Woodman by William Wallace Denslow via Wikimedia Commons Copyright Public DomainWhat are the risks of an MRI?

The main risks of MRI come from the fact that the machine is made up of a giant magnet – which is never turned off.

 

Safety for MRI studies relies on removing any metal on your body and fully understanding the impact of any metal within your body. Many types of metal implants, like joint replacements, are not a problem and patients with them can safely undergo MRI.

 

Some battery operated implants, like most pacemakers and many neurostimulators, can be adversely affected when exposed to the magnet. The safety of any implanted surgical device or metal should be thoroughly discussed before the exam – preferably at the time of scheduling.

 

On the day of the procedure, removing all metal (all hairpins included!) prior to entering the MRI suite is important for the safety of you, the technologist and the machine. No metal in clothing, no metal in pockets, no watches or phones!

 

The other main risk of MRI comes from those studies that require the injection of IV contrast. This allows us to evaluate blood vessels and the vascularity of organs and masses. This contrast contains gadolinium which is a heavy metal. Allergies or reactions can occur, although rarely. Gadolinium contrast materials should be used with caution in those at risk for kidney disease. You will be screened for the possibility of kidney disease, and your kidney function may be evaluated with a simple blood test before we give you the contrast if you have risk factors.

 

MRI is an amazing technology but requires strict safety precautions for everyone. We’ll be writing more about MRIs and the claustrophobic patient in our next post – stay tuned!

(Image credit: Tin Woodman by William Wallace Denslow 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!

 

October 6, 2014

MRI: It’s a Magnet!

Magnet by AJ Cann via Flickr Copyright Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0)Radiology can be confusing. How these exams work can confuse the smartest people. As radiologists, we get lots of questions. Which exams use radiation and which do not?  How safe is the exam?

 

Today we will attempt to answer some of your questions and concerns about magnetic resonance imaging or MRI.

 

MRI – how do we make images?

MRI or magnetic resonance imaging, is one way of viewing the body that uses NO radiation (a plus!). We can create amazing images of all parts of the body with… a magnet! MRI machines are loud, clunky-sounding machines made up of a giant magnet. The noise comes from the second part of the name – resonance, or radiofrequency waves. This combined with computers creates images of the body. And, oh, the things we can learn about you with this technology.

 

The MRI Experience

Having an MRI involves being positioned on a table and moved inside the MRI unit. The inside of the MRI is called the bore and is basically a long tube the size of which varies. We center the body part being evaluated within the bore.  Bore sizes and configurations vary depending on the magnet strength and configuration of the MRI unit.

 

“Open MRI” units have a more open environment for imaging.  They are often used for the claustrophobic patient or larger patients.  The open MRI units can have limitations of longer exam times and lower quality of images. This is because the signal created and used to make the images is directly related to the magnet strength – which is lower for some open magnets.

 

High field magnets or traditional MRI trump an open magnet when we want imaging speed and precision, so it’s highly encouraged when at all possible. It can be done! There are many ways we can help our patients be comfortable while getting the highest possible quality images.

 

Over the next few days we’ll talk more about MRI safety as well as limiting patient discomfort in the machine.

 

In the mean time, cheers to your best possible health!

(Image credit: Magnet by AJ Cann 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 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 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!