Diagnosing Emphysema with Medical Imaging

Emphysema is just one of several conditions under the umbrella term “chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.” COPD is a condition that causes the lungs to have difficulty taking in air. COPD includes conditions like emphysema, chronic bronchitis, refractory asthma, and some forms of bronchiectasis. Emphysema is the deadliest of the conditions and we will explore the symptoms and the diagnosis process. In Louisiana alone, almost 7% of the population is affected by COPD.

What does emphysema look like? To begin, the interior of the lungs are filled with small air sacs called alveoli. These air sacs expand with oxygen when you breathe in and allow oxygen to get into the bloodstream. Emphysema is a condition that causes these air sacs to weaken and ultimately rupture. When they rupture, there is less area for oxygen to be taken in and since emphysema is a chronic condition, these alveolus will continue to weaken and rupture until the lungs are not able to expand and contract on their own.

Emphysema is most notably a result of cigarette or tobacco smoking. The chemicals found in cigarette smoke can total over 7,000 and they are extremely toxic to the entirety of the body, but the lungs take most of damage. Upon inhalation, the hot smoke and toxic chemicals damage the lung tissue and with an addictive habit like cigarettes, the damage happens multiple times a day for years. With every puff, more lung tissue dies and once it is dead, there is no replacing it. That is why long-term smokers account for 80% of all emphysema diagnosis in the United States.

If you are a long term smoker or a former smoker and are over the age of 50, your chances for developing emphysema are much higher. If you suspect that you might be developing emphysema, you might be wondering what are the symptoms. The signs of COPD or emphysema can be confused with other conditions because things like shortness of breath or difficulty catching breath could be misconstrued as part of the aging process or the result of lifestyle choices. You see, as the air sacs are slowly destroyed, air becomes trapped in the lungs and is difficult to expel as well as obtain. Furthermore, if you are experiencing a tightness in the chest that does not seem to pass, these could be the beginning warning signs of COPD and possibly emphysema.

Diagnosing emphysema requires a few different tests. To begin, the doctor will use a physical examination to test things like your vitals and blood pressure. Following a physical, doctors will usually perform a combination of pulmonary function tests to examine the strength and performance of the lungs. Pulmonary function tests include breathing into tubes that can test how much air you are expelling, how fast it is being expelled, and how much air remains after exhalation.

If the results of the pulmonary function test prove conclusive toward symptoms of COPD, doctors will use medical imaging to confirm the diagnosis. A chest X-ray is often performed to see if the lungs have become enlarged because of excess air or if there are structural changes in the lungs. However, diagnosing emphysema cannot be done with a chest x-ray alone. Chest CT scans are also used to diagnose COPD because they can show pockets of air in the lungs which are symptomatic of damage from COPD. All of these procedures are completely painless and require no invasive surgery and yet still provide accurate details and diagnosis.

At Doctors Imaging in Metairie, we assist doctors and hospitals in the diagnosis, treatment and aftercare of sick or injured patients. Our facility offers state of the art medical technology along with decades of professional experience. We have dealt with the concerning statistic of lung cancer and lung-related ailments in Louisiana for many years and our equipment and experience has afforded to be the only American College of Radiology certified Lung Cancer Screening center in the greater New Orleans area. We are committed to keeping Louisiana healthy and making our services fast, affordable and comfortable for our patients.

If you have more questions about medical imaging pertaining to the diagnosis and treatment of emphysema, please take a look at our X-ray Service Page and our CT Service Page for more information about these procedures and what to expect before yours. If you would like to schedule an appointment, you may do so using our Request an Appointment feature or you can call Doctors Imaging’s office in Metairie at 504-833-8111 Monday through Friday to speak to a representative.

Know the Symptoms of Appendicitis in Children

Appendicitis is one of the primary causes of childhood surgery and if parents cannot recognize the symptoms quickly, it can lead to a great deal of pain for children and fear for parents.

What is the Appendix?

The appendix is a small pouch, about 4-5 inches long, that rests on the anterior, right side of the body and connects to the large intestine. The appendix is an organ that most physicians believe serves no function because of the lack of symptoms after removal. Researchers theorize that the appendix might be an organ that can reboot the immune system with healthy bacteria after a bout of infection in the digestive system.

How Does the Appendix Become Infected?

When bacteria is trapped in the appendix, the organ becomes inflamed due to antibodies flooding the organ in the hopes of fighting off dangerous infections. Trapped bacteria can be the result of a hard collection of stool or by pressure on the lymph node in the groin. When the bacteria in the appendix are blocked from leaving, the appendix becomes irritated. This is usually when the abdominal pain begins in children.

If the appendix pain is left untreated, the organ will fill up with pus and bacteria and rupture. A ruptured appendix will cause extreme abdominal pain along with other symptoms such as: fever, vomiting, loss of energy and appetite and will need immediate medical attention. If your child is complaining of persistent stomach ache or pain and it hurts to touch their right side of their body, you can be almost sure that their appendix is infected and needs to be removed.

How is Appendicitis Diagnosed?

Appendicitis in children is often the child’s first experience with any kind of surgery. Broken bones, falls and accidents are typical reasons why children visit the emergency room, so if you can recognize that your child is displaying the symptoms of appendicitis, they will be understandably frightened. Try to keep them as calm as possible until a physician can see them.

Once a physician arrives, they will perform one or all of the following tests to determine the extent of the appendix infection. Often, they’ll begin with a physical examination by pressing gently on the area and checking the child’s vitals. After that, a ultrasound will be performed on the child. Ultrasounds use the power of sound waves in order to image the interior of the body. Ultrasounds are totally painless and can help doctors determine the extent of the infection and whether it can be treated and minimized with antibiotics or if surgery is necessary. They may also recommend having a CT scan performed to determine the presence of appendicitis in children. CT scans use the power of X-rays and computer software to create cross-sectional images of the organs and soft tissues of the body. CT scans can be extremely beneficial in pediatric appendicitis cases in order to rule out other causes of abdominal pain like injury or bleeding.

How is Appendicitis Treated?

There are three treatment option for appendicitis in children:

  • Removal of the appendix with surgery. Small incisions and laparoscopy are usual methods to remove of appendix. The child will stay in the hospital for 1-2 days and be discharged with antibiotics
  • If the appendix is ruptured, surgery is needed immediately. Once the appendix is removed, the child will have to stay in under hospital observation for several days possibly longer than a week to monitor infection or fever.
  • Interval appendectomy is treating an appendix infection with antibiotics. As the infection subsides, surgery becomes more an option rather than a necessity.

If you have more questions about diagnosing appendicitis in children or what medical imaging procedures will be performed, please feel free to look at our Ultrasound Service Page or our Pediatric CT Service Page. You can also call our office at 504-833-8111 to speak to a representative from Doctors Imaging about questions or scheduling an appointment.

Lung Cancer Detection in Louisiana Made Easy

Lung cancer is a devastating condition to suffer. There are as many as 200,000 new cases of lung cancer to be diagnosed in 2015 and as almost 160,000 people will die from lung cancer related complications. This translates to about 1 in 13 men and 1 in 16 women will be likely to develop lung cancer. You can see that lung cancer statistics in the United States are alarming which is why Louisiana doctors are committed to finding innovative ways and techniques to both detect and treat lung cancer.

As a patient, the symptoms of lung and or bronchi cancer can be difficult to see at first. Symptoms of lung cancer could be can be innocuous things like a cough that won’t seem to go away, chest pain with deep breathing or coughing, shortness of breath, feeling tired and weak or hoarseness in the voice. As you can see from this symptom list, these symptoms could be a bad chest cold. That is why lung cancer diagnoses are made when the cancer has become serious or terminal because people are not trained to recognize the signs.

Like most cancers, there can be one reason or several reasons why someone develops cancer. Dangerous lifestyle habits like cigarette or tobacco smoking is one of the most common causes of lung cancer. The Center for Disease Control has named smoking as “the number one risk factor for lung cancer” linking the habit to over 90% of lung cancer diagnoses. Even if you are not a smoker, working or living around secondhand smoke can lead to lung cancer. Cigarette smoke is loaded with carcinogens and other toxic chemicals like tar, nicotine and carbon monoxide that can develop into lung cancer without ever even smoking a cigarette. Other risk factors for lung cancer include radon exposure, a naturally occurring gas that can be trapped in homes and buildings, that rises from the ground. Surprisingly, radon exposure can account for about 20,000 cases of lung cancer. You can have your home or office tested for radon levels and the EPA has a set of guidelines for lowering the radon levels in your dwelling. Other risk factors for lung cancer include family history or genetic issues as well as exposure to toxic substances like asbestos and chromium.

Louisiana is one state in particular that has a high instance of lung cancer. 68 per 100,000 residents have lung cancer and 50 per 100,000 die every year from the condition in Louisiana alone. With statistics like this, it is lucky that lung cancer detection in Louisiana has been made easier and more advanced with the help of local facilities like Doctors Imaging in Metairie. Out of the entire state, there are only 5 medical imaging centers that have received the accreditation of the American College of Radiology’s certificate of being an approved lung cancer screening facility.

Because of the prevalence of lung cancer in Louisiana, detection facilities have to be held to a higher standard. Accreditation from the American College of Radiology comes from outstanding factors like equipment used, experience of physicians and technicians as well as the education of patients concerning their conditions and imaging procedures. Doctors Imaging is the only facility in the greater New Orleans area to receive the accreditation and is proud to be a trusted place for lung cancer detection in Louisiana.

If you think that you may have lung cancer or would like to set up an appointment to discuss preventative measures, please contact Doctors Imaging in Metairie at 504-833-8111 Monday through Friday from 8AM to 6 PM. If you are not within the New Orleans area, you can view a list of ACR accredited lung cancer screening facilities in Louisiana to find a location that is closer to you.

The Dangers of Fake Supplements for Your Long-Term Health

There are different definitions of healthy all across the nation. Some think that gluten-free is best, others think that organic foods is only way to go. Some argue for a paleo diet while others praise the value of ‘everything in moderation.” What most do have in common is the understanding that everyone just wants to be as healthy as possible. It is this popular desire that causes some companies to market ineffective products and fake supplements to consumers. This is where the danger begins.

Because the FDA cannot regulate the supplement industry, there is no check for these supplements and their claims, leaving it up the consumer to decide what is healthy and fits their goals. This would be fine if the advertising and marketing of these supplements was absolutely truthful. In recent news, the New York Attorney General Office tested  “24 different products” from major retailers in their area such as Walmart and Walgreens and found that “all but 5 contained DNA that was unrecognizable or from a different plant than was on the label.” These findings prompted the Attorney General’s Office to send cease and desist orders to the retailers concerning these products.

It is not just what is misrepresented on the bottle, it is what ingredients are omitted that can cause danger too. As one op-ed New York Times writer explains “the FDA estimates that approximately 50,000 adverse reaction to dietary supplements occur every year” because many supplements contain other ingredients that consumers might be allergic to. If it is not possible allergens causing adverse reaction, it could be dangerous chemicals such as “lead, mercury, arsenic and selenium.”

The most popular kind of supplement on today’s market are weight loss supplements. The FDA has seen reports of “increased blood pressure, heart palpitations, stroke, seizure and death” in connection to weight loss supplements. Even famous TV doctor and personality Dr. Oz was under Senatorial constraint after promoting “miracle” and “magical” weight loss supplements on his show, while knowing that these products did not do what they and he claimed they could.

Another supplement controversy is calcium replacement pills. Osteoporosis is a common condition for women and the elderly, so like obesity and weight loss supplements, calcium supplements are marketed to those that live in fear of calcium deficiency. However,  several studies have linked these calcium supplements to negative effects like “increased risk of heart attacks and death from cardiovascular disease.” Some studies have shown that taking a calcium supplement may not be as dangerous if it is combined with vitamin D, a vitamin that helps the body absorb calcium. If not, calcium can be deposited in the arteries, leading to heart disease.

Heart disease is a condition that once began, is difficult to reverse. If you have been taking nutrition and dietary supplements for an extended period of time and are worried about your potential for heart attack or stroke, consult with your physician about having medical imaging procedures such as a Calcium Score Heart Scan to assess your cardiovascular health. If you are noticing adverse reactions while using these supplements, stop taking them immediately and call you doctor with your symptoms. In addition, be sure to do research on any supplement before you begin a regime.

If you’d like to schedule an MRI for your cardiovascular health, feel free to call our offices at 504-833-8111 Monday through Friday 8AM- 6PM or fill out our online form.

Employee Safety and Health Benefits with More Work Injury Medical Imaging

Regardless of what kind of industry or field you work in, worksite injuries are a serious problem for both company and employee. Companies have to work to find the cause of the injury and the employee might be out of work for weeks, months, even years recovering or managing a debilitating injury. Furthermore, if there are court proceedings in order for the employee to gain compensation, proper medical images need to be procured so that a jury can fully understand the extent of injury and the effect it will have on the employee’s quality of life.

Having a work injury can be a very difficult time period for an employee. According to the Department of Labor Statistics, there were as many as “3 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses” in 2013 reported by private industries. While it is the responsibility of both employee and employer to make sure that working conditions are as safe as possible, some accidents cannot be avoided. When they do occur, in order to procure the right treatment and compensation, proper diagnosis has be performed with the help of medical imaging.

At Doctors Imaging in Metairie, our office has handled all kinds of work injury related cases and we are confident that our equipment and professional experience are substantial for all courts and attorneys. Finding a private imaging center will be cheaper than visiting a hospital, take half the time and give you just the same if not better results. We accept numerous insurance plans and we even have flexible payment plans if your settlement case is ongoing but you need to seek treatment.

For your work related injury, come have your imaging performed at Doctors Imaging in Metairie. Our doctors have over 20 years of experience and our equipment is state of the art. We are open Monday through Friday 8 AM to 5 PM and are open on Saturdays for MRI appointments as well. If you have more questions about scheduling an appointment or payment options, please give our office a call at 504-833-8111.

The Dangers of Sleep Deprivation and Insomnia

When we are babies, we spend about 16 to 17 hours a day just sleeping. Our brains are developing at a quick rate and we need sleep to help facilitate this rapid growth. We take a nap during the day until we reach elementary school age because we are still transitioning out of our infantile sleep cycles. Forgoing these naps usually results in mood disruptions and “crankiness”.  As we get older, the naps become intermittent but the danger of sleep deprivation is still a reality.

Sleep is the body’s biological healing system and is critical to healthy brain function. When we are teenagers, we spend the weekends sleeping until the early afternoon hours but as we get older the responsibilities and commitments of life take over, sleep becomes a precious commodity. That isn’t just a quirk of the generations, our bodies are biologically programmed for different sleep cycles at different points in our lives. Let’s discuss the benefits of proper sleeping schedules and the dangers of sleep deprivation and the damage of insomnia.

Sleep deprivation encompasses a number of symptoms. It might the student working part time and staying up late at night to study. It could be the single mother working graveyard shifts and inhaling caffeine to stay awake. It could be the overworked doctor, short-staffed and busy, forgoing steady sleep for the sake of the patients. It might be the laid off father tossing and turning all night thinking about the future. Sleep deprivation happens for a number of reasons and can affect anyone, but the effects can be severe if not treated.

Sleep deprivation affects almost every function of the body: cognitive, vision, digestion, and respiration, all of it because our bodies need sleep. Sleep is when our body does internal repairs. The brain needs to dream in order to filter and clean out the neurological clutter that fills our minds throughout the day. Sleep is necessary for the body to repair tissues and muscles, synthesize hormones and rejuvenate the brain. Lack of sleep can lead to “activation of the sympathetic nervous system, which can lead to a rise in blood pressure and an increase in cortisol secretion” both of these reactions are harmful to the body and the mind.

Thanks to research regarding the benefits of sleep, we can better understand the dangers of insomnia. Insomnia is more than just losing a few hours of sleep because your busy schedule can’t allow it, insomnia is a mental condition in which the mind cannot seem to transition from active mode to sleep mode. Insomnia affects as much as 20% of American adults. Not only does insomnia make the sufferer feel terrible and tired, it can lead to a host of health problems such as “obesity, cardiovascular disease and diabetes.” Medications and therapies like hypnotherapy, meditation, and sleep training can help in some cases.

Complications of Insomnia

Research has shown that insomnia can be caused by a number of reasons: genetic history, allergies, gastrointestinal conditions, neurological conditions, medication and stress. Conditions like sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome and depression are contributed to the insomniac brain. MRI research of insomniac patients reveals that their ability to “modulate brain function and development including gene expression, protein translation and memory function.” These studies help to educate both physicians and patients about the danger of sleep deprivation and hopefully, find more remedies for the sleepless.

Understanding sleep disorders requires medical attention but there are over the counter and holistic approaches that have been shown to improve sleep quality. Working together with your physician to find the right formula is crucial in your mental and physical health. Furthermore, for those that regularly forgo sleep, remember that you are only doing yourself and your work a disservice. Sleep is a necessary function that needs to be regulated and maintained.

For more information about our MRI capabilities for sleeplessness or other conditions, contact Doctors Imaging in Metairie. Our offices are open Monday through Friday 9-6 and open on Saturdays from 9-12. You can call our office at 504-883-8111 or fill out our Request an Appointment Form on our site.

The Better Health You’ll Get When You Quit Smoking

Smoking is one of the worst vices to have. Thankfully, over the past 50 years, the research and education about the dangers of smoking has become widespread. Nationally, there are still some that pick up the habit. For those smokers out there, quitting cigarettes is like the saying “better late than never.” It’s hard but there are ways to do it. Let’s examine them.

Nicotine Patches and Gum

Nicotine is the highly addictive chemical additive in cigarettes that keeps you coming back for more. In a way, it is just as deadly as the dangerous carcinogens found in cigarettes because they allow for just enough to not immediately harm you (you can actually overdose on nicotine) but enough to keep you addicted. Nicotine gum has proven effective at stopping people in the beginning of their transition out of smoking cigarettes. In the beginning, you are taking in about the same amount of nicotine and then slowly decrease your levels in an effort to wean yourself off the habit of smoking. For many smokers, one of the hardest parts of quitting is losing that oral habit, so chewing gum can be helpful in keeping that bit of routine. However, be careful not to give into the cravings when you are using nicotine replacement products. The overload of nicotine to your system can have harmful side effects.

Electronic Cigarettes

The sale of electronic cigarettes or e-cig has exploded in the last 3-5 years. Former smokers can still have the sensation of smoking cigarette without any of the carcinogens or the harmful second hand smoke. They are allowed to be used in most places so if a craving should hit, you can employ it. The e-cig is actually filled with a solution of “propylene glycol, glycerin, nicotine, and flavorings” and then superheated to a breathable vapor. Like the patch and gum, the nicotine in the e-cig solution is supposed to decrease your smoking until you don’t have the urge anymore. Electronic cigarettes have come under fire because of the potential health risks of the chemicals in the solution, some say that it just acts as a stall before actually quitting, but there are solutions that do not use nicotine, do your research and speak to your doctors about your quitting solutions.

Quitting Prescriptions

Some smokers have found relief from the addiction through nicotine replacement therapy found with certain prescription medicines. The two major brands of anti-smoking medications are Zyban and Chantix. Zyban contains the active ingredient Bupropion and is helps to lessen the urge to smoke while Chantix contains Varenicline which helps with nicotine withdrawal and if a smoker does decide to smoke again the medicine blocks the nicotine from cigarettes. These medicines are still in their infancy and have serious side effects such as “nausea, sleep disturbance, constipation, flatulence, and vomiting as well as headaches, abnormal dreams and taste disturbance” as well as some psychological problems.

Weaning oneself off of any addiction is extremely difficult that is why if you are attempted this journey, find support, reach out to an online community and don’t participate in the same activities where you once smoked. The benefits of quitting smoking, no matter when, can be felt immediately. Former smokers report better moods, better digestion, better taste, better sleep patterns and not to mention the long-term health benefits.

LUNG CANCER SCREENING

Doctors Imaging in Metairie has been officially accredited by the American College of Radiology as a Certified Lung Cancer Screening Center. By using low-dose CT capability, radiologists are able to determine the presence of lung cancer better than ever before. Because of our state of the art 64-slice Siemens CT, our radiologists’ experience and highly trained staff, patients of Doctors Imaging can be assured that their lung cancer screening is thorough. Thanks to this accreditation, Doctors Imaging often sees the damage of smoking on the body and encourages the benefits of quitting smoking as soon as possible. We recommend that if you are over 50 and used to or still smoke cigarettes or tobacco, you should consider a lung screening. The earlier lung cancer is detected and treatment begun, the higher one’s chances are of survival.

If you would like to schedule a lung cancer screening CT or you have more questions about CT capabilities at Doctors Imaging, you can Book an Appointment or you can call our office at 504-833-8111 Monday through Saturday.

Stop Smoking and Get Whole Body Benefits

Quitting any addiction is a difficult task. Addiction is a multi-layered process in which there is no quick fix, one magic pill or medicine that will ease the symptoms of withdrawal or the intense cravings. Smoking is one of the worst vices to become addicted to not only because of the terrible health effects but because it a legalized vice. Since there is no one to punish you for smoking, it makes the deterrent to quit smoking even harder to find. The benefits after you stop smoking begin immediately and they are numerous.

New Tastes

When you smoke a cigarette, you are inhaling hot, carcinogen filled smoke. Cigarettes contain as many as 4,000 chemical additives and all of these dangerous ingredients scald the surface of the tongue where your taste buds are. This leads to a loss of tasting sensitivity and taste bud regeneration which is why smokers often do not have the same perception of things like bitterness and sweetness. Upon quitting smoking, many people report the way food tastes different because of the new taste buds that have grown.

Better Skin

Smoking does not just cause harm the internal organs, it wreaks havoc on the skin. The carcinogens and nicotine in cigarettes damages the collage cells of the skin causing a higher prevalence of wrinkles and a general pallor to one’s complexion. Smoking is also extremely dehydrating, making the skin dry and dull. Although we cannot reverse the hands of time, quitting allows for better skin hydration and appearance.

Bigger Appetite

Cigarettes have been known to reduce appetite because they are a stimulant and make the metabolism do a slight jump and hunger pains can be forgotten momentarily. Many of those quitting smoking remark that they feel a sudden increase in their appetite and experience weight gain. It might a combination of loss of an oral habit along better tasting ability, but an increased appetite, within reason, is a small price for a deadly habit. Try adding a light exercise routine to your day to help combat rapid weight gain.

Clear Breathing

The effects of quitting smoking on the lungs is almost immediate. In only a few days, one can feel the difference. When using cigarettes, the smoke that you inhale burns the cilia in the lungs and esophagus. They can grow back unless repeatedly exposed to harmful cigarette smoke. Within 1-9 normal breathing without “smoker’s cough” can return

Mood and Energy (blood pressure)

A smoker’s addiction, though deadly, is nothing more than a series of chemical reactions. Chemicals in cigarettes excite the pleasure centers of the brain and make the body become addicted. Oxygen levels in the body decrease because of damage to the lungs making smokers feel sluggish until they smoke again. Carbon monoxide levels increase because the body is not getting enough oxygen and increase blood pressure. This effect makes smokers vulnerable to strokes but it can also cause a low mood and difficult sleep patterns. Nicotine addiction can be overcome in as little as 2 weeks helping with mood and at 2 months, circulation in the body increases causing better energy.

Stop smoking today and begin to feel the whole body benefits. If you have been smoking for an extended period of time, you should consider having a lung screening. While lung cancer is one of the most prevalent diseases in the United States, the sooner it is caught, the better results treatment can make. Doctors Imaging in Metairie is the only facility in the greater New Orleans area that has been accredited by the American College of Radiology as a certified lung cancer screening center. Because of our equipment, experience and staff, patients trust in the thoroughness and results of our screenings.

If you would like to book an appointment for a lung screening, you can fill out our Book an Appointment form or you can call our offices in Metairie at 504-883-8111 Monday through Saturday.

Lung Cancer Symptoms and Screenings

According to the Center for Disease Control, lung cancer is one of the most aggressive and commonplace cancers in the world. More people die from lung cancer than any kind of cancer and over 200,000 new cases are reported every year. The cancer is fast moving and without catching it in the early stages, survival chances decrease rapidly. That is why it is of the utmost importance for most smokers over the age of 55 to be screened with a CT scan for lung cancer.

Do not be fooled. Lung cancer is caused by factors like smoking cigarettes and tobacco but it is still possible to develop this kind of cancer even without participating in these practices. The commonly reported lung cancer symptoms are:

  • a cough that doesn’t seem to go away
  • coughing blood or bloody phlegm
  • severe, constant chest pain
  • shortness of breath or breathing issues

These issues can be commonly confused with a severe cold or sickness and that may be part of the reason why people do not get properly screened. So if you notice any of these symptoms, be sure to contact your physician about getting a low-dose CT scan to check for cancerous  nodules or  masses in the lungs.

Another reason why lung cancer screenings are not occurring in enough frequency is because the #1 reason for lung cancer in Americans is smoking cigarettes. Smokers in today’s market are aware of the health risks, they are written right on the package of cigarettes, but most feel shame at their habit and thus do not take proper precautions to be checked for lung cancer. Shame and fear of what the results will hold are the top reasons more people do not have lung cancer screenings.

While tobacco itself is a dangerous plant, it is the additives in cigarettes that contribute to the developing of lung cancer. Dangerous substances from cigarette smoking include all kinds of  chemicals like nicotine, tar, carbon monoxide, ammonia, formaldehyde, cyanide and arsenic. And yet, people continue to smoke them despite information about the ingredients. These chemicals were never manufactured to be ingested but because of nicotine, a highly addictive additive, these chemicals are kept at low amounts so that they don’t kill customers quickly, but rather slowly causes diseases like emphysema and lung cancer, all the while making smokers lifelong customers. A sick cycle indeed.

Doctors Imaging in Metairie has the distinct pride of being the only facility in the Greater New Orleans area that has been certified by the American College of Radiology as a Lung Cancer Screening Center. Because of our equipment, experience and other qualifications, we have been able to offer our services and help detect lung cancer and get our patients the treatment necessary. Our computed tomography capabilities are some of the best because we use the Siemens 64 slice CT, one of the best pieces of equipment on the market.

What to do if Your Child Swallowed an Object

Any parent will tell you that children do not come with instruction manuals. They are curious, messy and sometimes the only way they learn to not do something, is to do it. That is why so often, 911 dispatchers and pediatricians get that frantic call from a parent that their child has swallowed something. If you are an expecting parent or the parent to a curious child, there are a few steps that need to followed.

1. Make Sure They Aren’t Choking

Sometimes when kids swallow things, it can end up in their stomach or in their windpipe. If the child is coughing, grabbing at their throat or having difficulty breathing, that tiny piece might be caught in their windpipe. Only try to grab the object if you can clearly see it in the throat, otherwise you may push it further into the windpipe. If they are showing that they are choking or are overwhelmed, give them the Heimlich Maneuver. Here are instruction manuals for both babies and children that are choking.

2. Try to Determine What the Object Was

We understand, you turned your back for one second and that is all it took for your child to ingest something they weren’t suppose to. Not only are children curious, they are quick. For younger children, using the mouth as an exploratory instrument is pretty standard. See if there are missing pieces and parts around where the child was playing. If it was toxic, like household chemicals or batteries, call your local poison control center. Seek medical attention for sharp, metallic or unknown objects that the child may have ingested.

3. Speak to Your Doctor about Ultrasound or X-ray

Typically speaking, if a child swallows something like coins or toy pieces, they usually pass them on their own. However, sharp objects can sometimes cause painful tearing or bowel movements. That is why Doctors Imaging recommends having your child undergo proper medical imaging procedures in order to determine the condition of internal organs after foreign-body ingestion.

For most children and their parents, swallowing something unintentionally can be a scary moment. That is why medical imaging procedures can be more difficult. Scared children are commonly difficult to maneuver. However, most doctors will recommend having X-rays performed in order to track the foreign object. Not all objects will show up on an xray. Ultrasounds are easier to perform because they do not require the child to be separated from parents and does not expose them to radiation. However, X-rays are really the only fool-proof method available to track a swallowed object if it has material that is visible and even if not visible may show some changes in the airway or in the lungs; and if in the digestive system, may help to make sure it does as little damage as possible on it’s way out of the body. For those parents concerned about radiation exposure, some imaging facilities such as Doctors Imaging in Metairie, now utilize digital X-rays which use the least possible radiation and provide even clearer images.

If you have more questions about digital X-rays, please visit our X-ray Services Page or call a representative at Doctors Imaging in Metairie at 504-883-8111.