What Imaging Procedures do Long-Term Smokers Need, Even after Quitting?

Quitting smoking can be one of the most challenging addictions to overcome but also the most beneficial. According the Center for Disease Control, on average 443,000 people die every year as a result of cigarette smoking and another 8.6 million live with a disease attributed to smoking. Cigarette companies have dedicated countless hours and funds toward finding the perfect amount of nicotine to keep consumers addicted and advertising the benefits of cigarettes, but the detrimental effects are still there. If you are one of the lucky few that is able to quit smoking then you have already given yourself a longer and healthier lifestyle. But if you are or were a long-term smoker, then there are still health risks that you should be conscious of, and give proper medical attention to. Below is a list of some medical imaging procedures that former cigarette smokers should consider having performed in order to determine the damaging effects that smoking may have had on their health.

1)  CT-Scan

A CT-Scan can be beneficial for a former smoker in that it examines the organs and structures of the chest cavity. Since the area of the body that is most affected by cigarette smoking is the lungs, examining all areas of the pulmonary system is essential. By using X-ray and computer technology, CT-scans provide cross-sectional images of the lung, liver and heart tissues. CT scans are also useful in diagnosing cancer and guiding biopsy procedures in the event that you doctor finds something that needs further examination. Screening for Lung Cancer with Low-Dose CT is now recommended annually for certain former or current heavy smokers aged 55-80 years. Doctors Imaging offers the test for $99.00 and you can call to schedule after you have a doctors order. If the cost of the test is a problem, call Doctors Imaging and ask to make special arrangements.

2) MRI

Another harmful effect of long-term cigarette addiction is the narrowing and damage to the body’s blood vessels. This is a dangerous effect because it can lead to stroke and heart attack. By having an MRI procedure performed, images of the blood vessels in the heart, brain, kidneys, aorta and extremities can be properly seen and examined.

3) Ultrasounds

Many think that ultrasounds are just for pregnancy, but ultrasounds are non-invasive and so detailed today that they can provide four-dimensional images of the internal cavities. Ultrasounds are useful if you experience chest pains or heart palpitations, both common in long-term smokers, as ultrasounds are beneficial for the examination of the blood flow and heart valve functions.

4) PET-CT Scan

A PET-CT scan is optimal for determining healthy and diseased tissue in the body. Cigarettes are packed with carcinogens, tar, and other cancer causing materials. Quitting is always a preferred avenue but unfortunately that doesn’t mean that the health dangers have subsided. Cigarette smoking is extremely harmful to the tissues of the body because cigarettes change the DNA of the body’s cells and lead to damaged tissues and the possibility of cancer. Having a PET-CT scan can illuminate the potentiality of developing cancer.

The vast majority of these procedures are relatively non-invasive and can provide fast and detailed results. If you have already taken the first step in obtaining a healthier lifestyle by quitting smoking, then do yourself an another benefit, get screened for lung cancer with a CT scan and learn what your body needs to be healthier and live longer.

If you live in the Greater New Orleans area, and are looking for one of the tests mentioned above, then come to Doctors Imaging where concern for your health is our top priority. You can either schedule your radiology appointment online, or talk to an actual person at 504-883-8111.