The Truth About Whole-Body Scans

When it comes to health, many people practice preventative lifestyle habits to promote a healthy quality of life and improve longevity. As medicine evolves, new technologies emerge and we can more quickly diagnose and treat conditions and prevent problems.

One such technology is the full-body scan. If you have one coming up or suspect you may need one soon, here are a few things you should know first. 

What is a whole-body scan? 

A whole-body scan “looks” at a patient’s insides to search for early warning signs of cancer, cardiac disease, and other abnormalities. Typically the scan is from the chin to the hips and uses a form of x-ray imaging which produces cross-sectional images. The technological term is “x-ray computed tomography” (CT), or “compurterized axial tomography” (CAT). 

Each of the produced cross-sections can be studied to show body structures in high detail. CT is considered invaluable for diagnosing disease, trauma, or abnormalities in patients presenting with signs or symptoms. CT is used for planning, guiding, and monitoring therapy. The technology is marketed as a preventative or proactive healthcare tool for healthy patients who do not show signs or symptoms of disease. 

An alternative to a CT scan is an MRI scan. For example, a full body MRI scan for cancer uses a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machine. Essentially, it is a giant magnet that uses radio waves to take images of the body’s organs and structures. MRI scans are safe for patients, since they do not use any form of radiation on the body. 

Most medical facilities use proprietary MRI scanning protocols to perform full-body screenings for over a dozen types of cancer. MRI scans are quick, significantly more accurate and considerably less risky than CT scans.

Risks vs. benefits

So far, the Food and Drug Administration has not uncovered any scientific evidence proving that a whole-body scan on a seemingly healthy patient is more beneficial than harmful

Repeat or prolonged exposure to radiation is risky, and the less unnecessary exposure, the better. Whole-body CT scans are questionable for asymptomatic patients due to the known risks of radiation exposure. As with any medical procedure, whole-body CT scans can produce false-positive results that may result in further invasive testing. Or scans can produce no findings and miss some conditions.

The radiation dosage that a patient endures during a typical CT procedure is significantly higher than the radiation doses associated with conventional x-ray imaging. The main risk with radiation exposure from CT procedure is a small yet increased possibility of developing radiation-induced cancer later in life. But for patients already showing symptoms of health conditions, the benefits of a CT procedure typically outweighs the cancer risk of high radiation. 

Full-body scans often show shadows or other things that may not look normal, but are still actually harmless. In the instance of a false-positive, doctors may order further imaging tests, which means more harmful radiation exposure. If imaging isn’t enough, harmless results can also lead to biopsies and surgeries to concretely determine if there is a problem. 

CT procedures are costly, and usually insurance companies do not pay for them. Out-of-pocket costs for the test can range from $500 to $1,000 and in the event of follow-up tests, the costs can be higher.

Medical personnel will explain the scan process and can answer any patient concerns prior to the procedure. And as medicine advances, nurses learn new techniques and further their education to keep up with demand. An RN-BSN program is designed for licensed registered nurses to learn from faculty with real-world clinical experience. Nurses use what they learn in the classroom to provide the best possible care and be a champion for patients.

What You Need to Know about Corrective Chiropractic Care

Being informed that you need to undergo some medical procedure can be quite unsettling. If you do not understand exactly what you will need to go through and why, it gets even worse. It is important to conduct some research and learn about the procedure that has been recommended. That way, your mind will be at peace because you know what to expect.

So, if your doctor has sprung some jargon like chiropractic care, all you need to do is look it up. What is it and what do you expect? Is there medication involved? What about surgery? They may seem like ignorant questions, but no one ever acquired information by shying away from questions.

What you are likely to find out is that every chiropractic experience is different. Additionally, every chiropractor is different. Some chiropractors have a ‘no exam required’ policy while others may advise you to get a full body exam.

Their offices are also different. You might have walked into several that had skeletons and bones all over the place, which you found very disconcerting. You might even have wondered whether one of your bones would end up there. Others do not have one bone in sight.

The chiropractic care service has undergone some changes and you are likely to land on a practice that listens to you and takes the time to take you through the process so that you know exactly what to expect. You can therefore go in with some optimism that you will receive the care and service you deserve. Have a look at some of the things you can expect to find at your chiropractor’s:

1.  X-rays might be recommended.
X-rays give a clear picture of what is going on under the skin, especially in your spine. A cursory examination of hands and posture may not give an accurate picture of any misalignments. If the chiropractor begins the treatment without knowing exactly how the spine is fairing on, things could go horribly wrong. It is always safer to go in with adequate information.

2. There will be a plan.
The chiropractor will want to know what your goals are once they have your examination results. This will help them determine the best way in which they can correct the misalignments in your spine.

3. Home exercises

In order for the treatment to work well, you may be required to do some exercises at home. They will of course guide you on how to go about the exercises so that you do not end up harming yourself. They will also advise you on nutritional issues as well as how your daily activities can be helpful or harmful to your spine. If your activities are not helpful, you may have to change them.

4. Your life is destined to change. 

Things will not go on as usual. Corrective care is meant to make changes in your day-to-day life. In order for your spine to regain its correct structure and stay that way, you may have to change a few activities in your life. 

Furthermore, your body is going to work better and function at a higher level.

All you need to do is to find a chiropractor that will walk the whole process with you, from explaining the process and how it will help you, to giving you the best care that his or her expertise can afford, and you will have a healthy body to look forward to.