Checking on Your Bone Health with Medical Imaging

Bones are the foundation of the human body. When our bones hurt or are out of commission, your quality of life quickly decreases. That is why it is so critical to be concerned with the condition of your bone health. Almost every person has broken a bone at least once in their lifetime and is aware of the frustration that comes with being incapacitated, but what about the changes that occur in bones as you age?

People are often concerned with their physical appearance and the health of organs like the heart and liver. While this is equally important, not taking the proper precautions to protect your bones will have serious effects as you become older. Men and women will both experience the loss of bone density throughout their respective lifetimes but the effects are quite different for both genders.]

Bone Health for Men and Women

Women typically suffer from bone degeneration at a rate four times higher than their male counterparts. For women, the common cause of bone density loss is related to the effects of menopause. The body needs estrogen to maintain bone density and when women experience the hormonal change of menopause, they begin losing estrogen. Men need estrogen as well to keep their bone health at its peak and their body creates smaller amounts of estrogen.

Although men do not go through as severe as of a hormonal change as women, they do lose testosterone as they age and thus, lose bone density. Women also typically live longer than men so they have a greater chance of developing bone density loss.

Other Causes for Bone Density Loss

These are the primary reasons for loss of bone density but there are other causes. Calcium and vitamin D deficiencies can cause a loss of bone mass as well as lifestyle choices such as smoking or lack of exercise. For men in particular, certain drugs that treat prostate cancer and seizures can also cause bone loss.

If you are getting older and are concerned with the state of your bone health, there are a few solutions you should be researching. Medical imaging procedures can provide you with invaluable information about your bone health. Osteoporosis affects over 40 million Americans, both male and female, and having procedures like X-rays and MRIs can be extremely beneficial in preventing debilitating injury and finding medication to assist with bone density.

MRIs or magnetic imaging resonance, uses magnetized equipment and computer technology to examine joint and musculoskeletal disorders in the body. In addition, MRIs are also proficient in examining soft tissue like tendons, ligaments and cartilage. As these are the support system for the bones, they need attention as well. MRIs are the best choice if you experiencing a decrease in mobility and spinal difficulties.

X-rays are another common medical imaging procedure that your doctor will likely prescribed if you are experiencing a loss of bone density. When you have decreased bone density, small fractures and breaks can be common, so having X-rays performed with regularity is recommended. X-rays are also the preferred method for determining conditions like bone cancer.

If you are over the age of 50 and experiencing pain or decreased mobility in your bones or joints, speak to you doctor about ordering an MRI and X-ray imaging procedure performed so you can see if you need further medical assistance.

Our Doctors Imaging center is for Radiologists concerned with patient care. If you’re looking for New Orleans, Louisiana imaging exams, then schedule your appointment online today, or call us at 504-883-8111.

How Invasive are Medical Imaging Procedures?

The innovations made within the medical technology field have taken away a vast amount of risk and pain done during these procedures, but sometimes in order to get the best images so that your doctor can make the most informed diagnosis possible requires a bit of discomfort. Depending on the concern or condition, there are a variety of medical imaging procedures that can be performed with various degrees of invasiveness. Luckily most of these procedures do not take long and if you have serious concerns or a condition that would make performing these procedures unbearably painful, you should speak to your doctor about different options and features that can still be performed. For this article, the procedures will be ordered from least to most invasive.

X-Ray

X-rays are painless and not invasive at all. The joints and bone structures of the body are imaged while the patient remains still on the procedure table. If a patient is pregnant or may be pregnant, they should inform their doctor. The radiation used in X-rays is an extremely small amount and a lead shield can protect the fetus if the test is medically necessary, but there may be other avenues of imaging that your doctor can perform instead.

PET-CT Scan

For these scans, your facility or doctor may request that you not eat anything for four hours prior to the exam and drink a lot of water. Contrast material is also used in this procedure. Contrast material will be administered intravenously and will require that the patient remain still for 30-90 minutes so that the contrast material has opportunity to circulate.

MRI Procedure

MRI is extremely low in its degree of invasiveness. Despite the slight prick of IV administration of contrast fluid, some patients experience a sense of claustrophobia entering the MRI machine. If this an issue for you, speak to your doctor about having a friend or family member in the procedure room with you or for more serious cases, your doctor may be able to provide you with a mild sedative.

CT Scans

CT scans are a painless procedure. Some doctors may require patients to not eat at least an hour prior to the examination. Contrast material is also used in CT scans and can be administered either through IV or by swallowing. Some describe a metallic taste in the mouth, or slight itchiness around the injection site. If a patient experiences more serious symptoms, it could be indicative of an allergic reaction or a type of condition that reactions to the contrast fluid.

Ultrasounds

Depending on the area or conditioned being examined, an ultrasounds procedure has varying degrees of invasiveness. None are particularly painful just slightly uncomfortable. Speaking with your doctor about your concerns can help to minimize the unpleasantness. And for determining and monitoring pregnancy, detecting signs of infertility or for examining reproductive organs, some patients may have to undergo a transvaginal ultrasound in which the transducer is placed in the vagina to image organs like the uterus and ovaries.

On the whole, imaging procedures performed today are minimally or non-invasive. If you’re looking for safe and comfortable imaging procedures in the New Orleans, Metairie, or Kenner area, please call 504-883-8111 or schedule your appointment online today.

What Imaging Procedures Should Men Over 50 be Considering?

Heart disease and cancer are the leading causes of death for men over the age of 50 in the United States. Whether this is because of genetic defect, health condition or lifestyle is unclear, but what is perfectly clear is that these two conditions account for more than 45% of the deaths of men between the ages of 45 and 54 (and that number increases to 53% for ages 65+). It is an unfortunate fact that everyone gets old, but more so, visits to your physician can become critical and significant visits if the proper procedures are not performed. If you are nearing or over 50 years of age, even if you feel that you are in good health, discussing these procedures with your doctor can be a great preventative measure to keep you healthy and fit longer.

Your first line of defense in medical imaging procedures could begin with a chest X-ray. X-rays may seem like an archaic medical practice but they are effective in determining many conditions in the chest. A chest X-Ray is inexpensive and may unveil correctable conditions that improve your health. If you are a heavy smoker between the ages of 55 and 80 a low dose lung cancer  CT screen is now considered essential to save lives .

An ultrasound is also a prudent procedure that men over the age of 50 should consider having. Ultrasounds are useful for examining the internal organs and blood flow throughout them. Ultrasounds are used in examining areas like the thyroid and scrotum. In determining conditions like prostate growth or enlargement, ultrasounds may be the first procedure your doctor will order. Ultrasounds are usually painless and non-invasive.

Men over 50  may benefit from a having a CT CALCIUM SCORE TEST. Whether you have lived a healthy, active lifestyle or you spend most of your time eating cheeseburgers and soda, a chest CT scan can be a huge indicator of serious medical problems such as heart disease and cancer. CT scans can help determine problems such as heart tumors, coronary heart disease, and the vascular abnormalities that can lead to heart attack and stroke.

MRIs can provide additional detailed information regarding tumors and cardiovascular disease. MRI scans of the heart structures and blood flow to the surrounding organs can highlight areas containing blockages or diseased tissue. You may feel fine now, but inside, you could be a ticking time bomb and having these procedures done will help to show areas that require attention. A fear of medical procedures, because you’re worried bad news will come back, does not help the situation. Instead, think about how something unfortunate, when caught early enough, can be treated to keep you healthier and happier for years, if not decades longer.

If you’re a man over 50 who hasn’t had imaging procedures performed yet, take the time today to discuss preventive health with your doctor and make an appointment. It just might save your life!