Probiotic Powerhouse: How Good Bacteria Can Benefit Your Body

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Probiotics are live microorganisms that are intended to have health benefits. Products sold as probiotics include foods (such as yogurt), dietary supplements, and products that aren’t used orally, such as skin¬†creams.

Although people often think of bacteria and other microorganisms as harmful ‚Äúgerms,‚ÄĚ many microorganisms help our bodies function properly. For example, bacteria that are normally present in our intestines help digest food, destroy disease-causing microorganisms, and produce vitamins. Large numbers of microorganisms live on and in our bodies. In fact, microorganisms in the human body outnumber human cells by 10 to 1. Many of the microorganisms in probiotic¬†products are the same as or similar to microorganisms that naturally live in our¬†bodies.

Why Should You Be Taking Probiotics?

Researchers have studied probiotics to find out whether they might help prevent or treat a variety of health problems, including:

  • Prevent and treat antibiotic-associated diarrhea
  • Promote healthy cholesterol
  • Help aid depression and anxiety
  • Immune system support
  • Soothe symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome
  • Eradicate ulcers
  • Helps melt belly fat

Are all probiotics the same?

There’s preliminary evidence that some probiotics are helpful in preventing diarrhea caused by infections and antibiotics and in improving symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, but more needs to be learned.

Probiotics are not all alike. For example, if a specific kind of Lactobacillus helps prevent an illness, that doesn’t necessarily mean that another kind of Lactobacillus would have the same effect or that any of the Bifidobacterium probiotics would do the same thing.

When Is It Time to Visit a Gastroenterologist?

A gastroenterologist is specially trained to manage diseases of the digestive tract from the esophagus to the anus.In many cases, people who are diagnosed with a chronic digestive condition are under the long-term care of a gastroenterologist. If you are experiencing a recurrence or a flare-up of an existing condition, you should contact the gastroenterologist who has been managing your treatment. If you are experiencing new symptoms, patients are usually referred to a gastroenterologist by their primary care physician. Your physician may recommend you see a gastroenterologist if you are experiencing any of the following symptoms of GI disorders:

  • Rectal bleeding
  • Leakage/underwear stains
  • Bowel movement urges that are hard to control
  • Diarrhea
  • Change in bowel habits
  • Pale-colored stools
  • Dark urine
  • Heartburn (acid reflux)
  • Abdominal pain or bloating
  • Excessive gas or belching
  • Esophageal pain
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite or weight
  • Lethargy

Finally…

The gastroenterologists at Amarillo Diagnostic Clinic have some of the latest tools to diagnose and treat diseases of the esophagus, stomach, small and large intestines, liver and pancreas.  Your gastroenterologist will manage the most simple to the most complex gastrointestinal diseases. Contact us if you have any questions or to schedule an appointment.

(Some information provided by the National Canter for complementary and Integrative Health).

Key Points Your Endocrinologist Wants You to Know About Diabetes

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The Endocrinologist at Amarillo Diagnostic Clinic is thoroughly trained in the management of hormonal and metabolic disorders. With the aid of our experienced staff, our Endocrinology Department can assist in the management of your diabetes, complex metabolic bone disease, or disorders affecting the thyroid, pituitary, and adrenal glands. Patient education services are available for patients in the care and management of these disorders. We also provide dietary counsel for lowering cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

Diabetes

Diabetes is a condition in which the body is unable to properly utilize blood sugar. Carbohydrate foods create blood sugar and the body needs insulin in order to process the sugar into energy for the body to function properly.

Type I diabetes is a condition in which the body’s immune system damages the pancreatic cells responsible for producing insulin. This form of diabetes is treated with insulin replacement by injection since the body is no longer capable of producing enough of its own insulin.

Type II diabetes is a much more common form and is progressive in nature. This form of diabetes causes insulin resistance which means the body still produces insulin but had difficulty utilizing it. There are various medications in pill form to treat Type II diabetes, but because of the nature of Type II diabetes, sometimes the pancreas wears out and insulin replacement by injection is required.

At this time there is no permanent cure for diabetes. Your physician will determine what medications you may need and should be carefully used daily. You should visit your doctor every three to six months so that the efficacy of treatment can be re-evaluated. Good glucose control is essential in order to prevent or retard the onset of diabetic complications. These include, but are not limited to damage to the small vessels of the eye, kidney damage, coronary artery disease, and peripheral nerve damage. These complications can lead to blindness, heart attack or stroke, dialysis, and amputation.

The good news is that with proper self-care and medical expertise you can significantly reduce or avoid these complications altogether. The following will help:

Weight Control

Weight control through diet and exercise is important. If you are overweight, your chances of diabetes increase significantly and you are putting yourself at risk. The Amarillo Diagnostic Clinic has a patient education specialist to assist you in the care and management of diabetes through diet and exercise. You need to exercise on a regular basis, preferably every day for at least 45 minutes. An exercise program should be initiated slowly and built up gradually to avoid injury and build stamina. Go for the distance rather than intensity. Our patient education specialist can assist you in starting an exercise regimen that will work for you. Be sure and obtain clearance from your physician before starting any exercise regimen.

Check Your Blood Sugars

You can do this with a home glucose monitor regularly. Your physician or diabetic educator will prescribe a routine and frequency that best suits your needs, but many doctors ask that you monitor before breakfast and before supper. Please be sure to record your numbers and to bring your results along with your meter when seeing the doctor. He or she will want to discuss those readings with you.

Periodic Checks

Glychohemoglobin is a test developed to give information about your average blood sugar level during the past two or three months. It should be checked every three to six months. The American Diabetic Association recommends that the patients diabetic regimen be adjusted to achieve a glycol hemoglobin of less than 7%. Any contributing risk factor for vascular disease should be aggressively assessed and treated. Cholesterol, triglycerides, low HDL, high blood pressure, and smoking are all factors that need to be addressed. Your physician or educator can help you understand your results and your treatment options. Some medications typically used to treat elevated blood pressure also have a protective effect in preventing kidney complications of diabetes. Any medication prescribed by your physician should be taken only as directed. Consult your doctor before adding or deleting any medication including over the counter meds.

  • Microalbumin: urine testing should be performed yearly to evaluate the likelihood of diabetic kidney involvement.
  • A visit to the Ophthalmologist should be scheduled at least yearly. He or she will evaluate any diabetic retinopathy, cataracts, or other conditions and plan treatment accordingly.
  • You should have a comprehensive medical examination yearly that includes a treadmill exercise test. Underlying coronary artery disease is often more common in an individual with diabetes and needs early intervention.

Sick Days

Sick days require special consideration. Anything your body perceives as stress can and will increase your blood sugar. This stress can be physical or emotional in nature. If you are ill your blood glucose will rise even if you cannot eat. Rules of thumb for sick days are as follows.

  • Stick to your meal plan if you can eat.
  • Take your diabetes medication unless your physician tells you to stop.
  • Check with your doctor before taking any other medication.
  • Drink at least one large glass of liquid each hour. If you are eating, these liquids should be sugar-free.
  • Test your blood sugar every 4 hours.
  • Ask someone to check in on you or have them call every few hours to make sure you are all right.
  • If in doubt, consult your physician. Early and effective management of sick days will reduce your chances of developing diabetic coma.

Finally…

An endocrinologist diagnoses and treats hormone problems by attempting to restore hormone balance within the body’s systems.¬†It is a good idea to compile a list of any existing symptoms before the visit so that none are missed. We are here to help! Contact us if you have any questions or to schedule an appointment.

Understanding Sleep Apnea: How Common Is It?

 

adc-understanding-sleep-apnea-infographicSleep apnea is a very common disorder in which people stop breathing during sleep. People with sleep apnea may stop breathing repeatedly during their sleep, often for a minute or longer and as many as hundreds of times during a single night.
Sleep apnea can be caused by either partial or complete obstruction of the airway (obstructive apnea) or temporary loss of the stimulation from the brain to take a breath during sleep.  As a result, the brain is forced to awaken slightly to restore normal breathing or to relieve the obstruction.  These brief awakenings lead to a substantial decrease in sleep quality.

  • Sleep apnea is very common, as common as type 2 diabetes. It affects more than 18 million Americans, according to the National Sleep Foundation.
  • Untreated, sleep apnea can cause high blood pressure and other cardiovascular disease, memory problems, weight gain, impotence, and headaches.
  • Sleep apnea is seen more frequently among men than among women, particularly African-American and Hispanic men.
  • Because of the lack of awareness by the public and health care professionals, the vast majority of sleep apnea patients remain undiagnosed and therefore untreated.

Think you might have a sleep disorder? We use the latest technology for diagnosing and treating sleep disorders in a comfortable and home-like atmosphere. Our team of sleep professionals is dedicated to providing the highest quality of sleep for our patients. Contact us if you have any questions or to schedule and appointment.

(Some information provided by the National Sleep Foundation).

Precipitating Factors For Each Common Headache Type

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Almost everyone has had a headache. Headaches are the most common form of pain and a major reason people miss days at work, school or take a visit to the doctor. The most common type of headache is a tension headache. Tension headaches are due to tight muscles in your shoulders, neck, scalp and jaw. They are often related to stress, depression or anxiety. You are more likely to get tension headaches if you work too much, don’t get enough sleep, miss meals, or use alcohol.

Other common types of headaches include:

 Sinus Headaches

Sinus headaches include gnawing pain over the¬†nasal area and often increase in severity throughout the¬†day. Pain is caused by acute infection, usually with fever, producing blockage of sinus ducts and preventing normal drainage. Fortunately, sinus headaches are rare…however, migraine and cluster headaches are often misdiagnosed as sinus in origin.

Precipitating Factors: Infection, nasal polyps, anatomical deformities, such as deviated septum that blocks the sinus ducts

Treatment: Treat with antibiotics, decongestants, surgical drainage, if necessary

Prevention: None

Arthritis Headaches

You can point out an arthritis headache by the pain at the back of head or neck which intensifies on movement. It is caused by inflammation of the blood vessels of the head or bony changes in the structures of the neck.

Precipitating Factors: Cause of pain is unknown

Treatment: Anti-inflammatory drugs, muscle relaxants

Prevention: None

Caffeine-Withdrawal Headaches

Skip your morning coffee? Caffeine withdrawal headaches include a throbbing headache caused by rebound dilation of the blood vessels, occurring multiple days after consumption of large quantities of caffeine.

Precipitating Factors: Caffeine

Treatment: Treat by terminating caffeine consumption in extreme cases.

Prevention: Avoiding excess use of caffeine.

Chronic Daily Headaches

This refers to a broad range of headache disorders occurring more than 15 days a month; two categories are determined by duration of the headache (less than four hours and more than four hours).

Precipitating Factors: Typically evolve from transformed migraine. Although not related to chronic tension-type headache, they can evolve from episodic tension-type headache. Can be associated with medication overuse.

Treatment: Depending on the type of CHD, different treatment options exist. It is important to limit analgesic use.

Prevention: Based on diagnosis of headache, how long they last, and the number experienced per month.

Depression and Headaches

Depression seems to be especially closely linked to certain kinds of chronic pain in the body, including migraine headaches, severe non-migraine headaches, and lower back pain.

Precipitating Factors: Causes can originate from a wide variety of complaints that can be categorized as physical, emotional, and psychic.

Treatment: The presence of depression is often subtle and the diagnosis is frequently missed. Depression is a wide spread affliction that can be treated, but first it must be unmasked.

Prevention: Physicians can prescribe tricyclic antidepressants, selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors, or monoamine oxidize inhibitors in the treatment of headaches associated with depression.

 Exertional Headaches

Symptoms of exertional headaches include generalized head pain of short duration (minutes to an hour) during or following physical exertion (running, jumping, or sexual intercourse), or passive exertion (sneezing, coughing, moving one’s bowels, etc.)

Precipitating Factors: Ten percent caused by organic diseases (aneurysms, tumors, or blood vessel malformation). Ninety percent are related to migraine or cluster headaches.

Treatment: Cause must be accurately determined. Most commonly treated with aspiring, indomethacin, or propranolol. Extensive testing is necessary to determine the headache cause. Surgery is occasionally indicated to correct the organic disease.

Prevention: Alternative forms of exercise; avoid jarring exercises

Fever Headaches

Fever headaches include generalized head pain that develops with fever and is caused by the swelling of the blood vessels of the head.

Precipitating Factors: Caused by infection

Treatment: Aspirin; acetaminophen; NSAIDs; antibiotics

Prevention: None

Hangover Headaches

Migraine-like symptoms of throbbing pain and nausea, but it is not localized to one side. Hangovers can last up to 72 hours after drinking, but most are shorter in duration. Again it depends on how much was consumed, how dehydrated you became, nutritional status, ethnicity, gender, the state of your liver, medications, etc.

Precipitating Factors: Alcohol, which causes dilation and irritation of the blood vessels of the brain and surrounding tissue.

Treatment: Liquids (including broth); consumption of fructose (honey, tomato juice are a good source)

Prevention: Drink alcohol only in moderation

Hunger Headaches

Have you ever experienced pain that strikes just before mealtime? Chances are it’s a hunger headache, and it is caused by muscle tension, low blood sugar, and rebound¬†dilation of the blood vessels, oversleeping, or missing a meal.

Precipitating Factors: Strenuous dieting or skipping meals

Treatment: Regular, nourishing meals containing adequate protein and complex carbohydrates

Prevention: Regular, nourishing meals containing adequate protein and complex carbohydrates

Hypertension Headaches

Generalized or ‚Äúhair band‚ÄĚ type pain that is most severe in the morning. It diminishes throughout the day.¬†Very high blood pressure can trigger an event known as malignant hypertension. Malignant hypertension is also referred to as a hypertensive crisis. … In addition to a headache, malignant hypertension usually is also associated with blurred vision, chest pain, and nausea.

Precipitating Factors: Severe hypertension: over 200 systolic and 110 diastolic

Treatment: Treat with appropriate blood pressure medication

Prevention: Keep blood pressure under control

Menstrual Headaches

For some women, Migraine-type pain that occurs shortly before, during, or immediately after menstruation or at mid-cycle (at the time of ovulation). The cause or trigger is thought to be the fall of the level of estrogen. The blood level of this chemical (hormone) falls just before a period. It is not a low level of estrogen that is thought to be the trigger.

Precipitating Factors: Variances in estrogen levels

Treatment: Taking a magnesium supplement might make your headaches shorter and your periods easier. But talk to your doctor before you start using it. It’s also a good idea to limit how much salt you eat before your period starts so your body doesn’t hang on to water in your tissues, which could create extra pressure.

Prevention: Biofeedback; beta blockers (propranolol, timolol); anti-convulsant (divalproex sodium); calcium blockers; and NSAIDs

For many people, finding out what triggers a headache or migraine can help them avoid or lessen the effects of their headache symptoms. Fortunately, we can help. Contact us if you have any questions or to schedule an appointment.

(Some information provided by the National Headache Foundation).

Flexible Sigmoidoscopy: Why It Might Be For You

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A flexible Sigmoidoscopy is a procedure in which a physician looks at the anus, rectum and lower part of the large intestine through a small scope or tube called an endoscope. This test helps find abnormal growths such as tumors or polyps, hemorrhoids, areas of inflammation or bleeding and other conditions.

Why Should I Have a Flexible Sigmoidoscopy?
This procedure can help find abnormal growths such as tumors or polyps, hemorrhoids, areas of inflammation or bleeding and other conditions.

WHAT INDICATORS DO I NEED TO CONSIDER?

WHAT DISEASES OR ILLNESSES CAN BE FOUND?

  • Diarrhea
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Rectal pain
  • Hemorrhoids
  • Infectious diarrhea

Endoscope
A thin flexible instrument used to visualize the inside of your rectum and colon. It can be used to collect a biopsy (small growths and tissue samples) and contains a small camera with a light on the end to videotape and capture images.

Preparation
Your physician or nurse will give you instructions on preparing for this procedure.

You may receive sedation, which will require that you have someone available to drive you home after the procedure. There are some instances in which sedation is not given.

IMPORTANT: Please tell your nurse if you are allergic to: Fentanyl, Versed, Demerol or Phenergan. We ask that you also inform us in advance if your health history has changed in any way since you last saw your GI physician.

Upon Admission

  • Your nurse will take your blood pressure, temperature and other vital signs
  • You will be asked about pain of any kind
  • Your nurse will go over all of the forms that will need to be filled out
  • Your medications and allergies to medications will be reviewed
  • An IV will be started
  • An assessment will be completed

The Procedure

  • Monitors will be placed on you in order that we may monitor your blood pressure, heart rate and oxygen saturation.
  • You will be placed on a small amount of oxygen through a nasal cannula.
  • Medications will be given by physicians orders throughout the procedure (medications most commonly used are Demerol; Versed; Fentanyl; and Phenergan). Please notify your nurse if you are allergic to any of these medications.
  • Your physician may take biopsies, remove polyps or perform treatment during the procedure (specimens will be sent for testing and your physicians office will call you with the results).
  • The procedure will usually take an average of 30-45 minutes.

We require that the person accompanying you remain at the Center during your procedure and to drive you home after your procedure. If you have any valuables with you, we will ask that you give them to the person accompanying you. Remember to ask any questions that you may have at any time.

Recovery
You will remain in recovery for at least 30 minutes. The nurse will take your temperature, vital signs and do an assessment and the physician will talk to you about your procedure. If appropriate, you will then be given fluids to drink.

Discharge
Discharge instructions will be reviewed with you and the person accompanying you and will include all of the following:

  • Do not operate machinery or heavy equipment for 24 hours
  • Do not drink alcohol for 24 hours
  • Drink plenty of other fluids
  • Avoid any foods that are greasy or spicy for the first meal
  • Call your physician if you experience severe abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting or bleeding.

You may be very sleepy at the time of discharge. You are encouraged to go home and rest for the rest of the day. Any special instructions from your physician will be written on the discharge sheet. Your physician will determine if follow-up is needed. Contact us if you have any questions or to schedule an appointment.

Testing Information: Your Muscle and Nerve Function

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Electromyography (EMG) and nerve conduction studies (NCS) are tests that measure muscle and nerve function. In most cases, both tests are performed. NCS is most often done first.

During NSC, mild electrical currents are applied to the skin on some parts of your body. This is done to see how quickly impulses travel between nerves. EMG assesses muscle function. To do this, a fine needle is placed under your skin into the muscle being tested. This is repeated on other muscles. The needle allows the electrical activity in your muscles to be measured. No electrical currents are applied with the needle.

During each test, wavy lines (waveforms) appear on a screen or on paper. these lines show how well your nerves and muscles work. These waveforms help to determine your test results.

Before Your Test

Prepare for your test as instructed. Shower or bathe, but don’t use powder, oil, or lotion. your skin should be clean and free of excess oil. Wear loose clothes. Be aware that you may be asked to change into a hospital gown. the entire test will take about 1 hour. Be sure to allow extra time to check in.

During Your Test

You will be asked to lie on an exam table with a blanket over you. You may have one or both of the following:

Nerve Conduction Study (NCS)

Small metal disks (electrodes) will be attached to your skin on the area of your body being tested. This will be done using water based gel or paste. A doctor or technologist will apply mind electrical currents to your skin. Your muscles will twitch. But the test won’t harm you. Currents may again be applied to the same area. Or, the test may continue on other parts of your body.

Electromyography (EMG)

Most of the electrodes will be removed for EMG. The doctor will clean the area being tested with alcohol. A fine needle will be inserted into the muscle in this region. When the needle is inserted, you may feel as if your skin is being pinched. Try to relax and do as instructed.

After Your Test

Before you leave, all electrodes will be removed. You can then get right back to your normal routine. If you feel tired or have some discomfort, take it easy. If you were told to stop taking any for your test, ask when you can start taking them again. Your doctor will let you know when your test results are ready.

For the safety and for the success of your test, tell the technologist if you have any bleeding problems or if you take blood thinners. You may also be asked questions about your overall health. Contact us to answer any questions you may have or to schedule an appointment.

 

 

Stay Sharp: Test Your Brain Wave Activity

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Electroencephalography (EEG) is a test that measures your brain wave activity (brain function). Your doctor may order this test to check for seizures or other brain problems. For this test, small metal disks (electrodes) are attached to the scalp with glue, or with water-based gel or paste. During the test, wavy lines (waveforms) appear on a screen or on paper. They will be studied to assess your brain function. In some people who are prone to seizures, parts of this test may slightly increase their chance of having a seizure. But the benefits of this test outweigh the risk.

Before Your Test

Prepare for your test as instructed. Wash and dry your hair. But don’t use any hair styling products. Your scalp and hair should be clean and free of excess oil. Take your routine¬†medications, unless told not to. You may be asked to sleeping during the EEG. To help you do this, you may be told to stay up all or part of the night before the test. Or, you may be given medication to help you sleep during the test. If so, someone will need to drive you home after the test. Your test will take about 90 minutes. But allow extra time to check in. Don’t forget to let your technologist know:

  • What medications you take
  • About any seizures you may have had in the past

During Your Test

You will sit in a reclining chair or lie down on an exam table in a softly lighted room. The technologist will measure certain points on your head He or she will use a special pencil to mark the spots where electrodes will be placed on your scalp. Your scalp will be rubbed with a mild abrasive, and electrodes will be attached. You will then be asked to do any of the following:

  • Relax, and open and close your eyes.
  • Breathe rapidly and deeply for a few minutes.
  • Sense a flashing light through your closed eyes.
  • Relax and go to sleep.

After Your Test

When your test is done, all of the electrodes will be removed. At home, wash your hair to remove any remaining glue, gel or paste. You can get right back to your normal routine. If you stopped taking any medications before the test, ask your doctor when you can start taking them again. Your doctor will let you know when your test results are ready.

Remember to avoid caffeine, but eat meals as usual. Contact us if you have any questions or to schedule an appointment. 

The Ultimate Guide: Pulmonary Function Testing

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Some information provided by Johns Hopkins Medicine

Pulmonary function tests measure how well the lungs take in and exhale air.  It also helps to determine how efficiently the lungs transfer oxygen into the bloodstream.  This test is helpful in diagnosing certain types of lung disorders such as asthma and/or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). There are 2 types of disorders that cause problems with air moving in and out of the lungs:

  • Obstructive. This is when air has trouble flowing out of the lungs due to resistance. This causes a decreased flow of air.
  • Restrictive. This is when the chest muscles can‚Äôt expand enough. This creates problems with air flow.

There are many different reasons why pulmonary function tests (PFTs) may be done. They are sometimes done in healthy people as part of a routine physical. Or you may have PFTs if your healthcare provider needs help to diagnose you with a health problem such as:

  • Asthma
  • Allergies
  • Chronic Bronchitis
  • Respiratory Infections
  • Lung Fibrosis
  • Bronchiectasis ¬†(a condition in which the airways in the lungs stretch and widen)
  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) (formerly known as‚Äúemphysema‚ÄĚ)
  • Asbestosis (a condition caused by exposure to asbestos)
  • Sarcoidosis (an inflammation of your lungs, liver, lymph nodes, eyes, skin, or other tissues)
  • Scleroderma (a disease that affects your connective tissue)
  • Pulmonary Tumor
  • Lung Cancer

PFTs are usually safe for most people. However, because the test may require you to breathe in and out quickly, you may feel dizzy and there’s a risk that you might faint. If you feel lightheaded, tell your doctor. The test may cause you to have an asthma attack if you have asthma. In extremely rare cases, PFTs may be responsible for a collapsed lung.

A few pieces of advice are to avoid eating a large meal before testing. A full stomach can prevent lungs from inhaling fully. A person should also avoid food and drinks that contain caffeine, such as chocolate, coffee, and tea, before the test. Caffeine can cause airways to open. Lastly, a person should also avoid smoking and strenuous exercise before the test.

Contact us for any questions or to set up an appointment.

 

Key Benefits of Radiology That You Should Know

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Information provided by the RadiologyInfo.org

At ADC, our Diagnostic Imaging Department is equipped to provide a wide range of radiology services. These services include CT Scans, General and Vascular Ultrasonography, Bone Density testing and EKG’s. All studies are interpreted by independent radiologists who are board-certified by the American Board of Radiology. Listed below are the key benefits of each test and what it can do for the body.

CT Scans

A computed tomography (CT) of the body uses special x-ray equipment to help detect a variety of diseases and conditions. CT scanning is fast, painless, noninvasive and accurate. In emergency cases, it can reveal internal injuries and bleeding quickly enough to help save lives.

Benefits of CT include:

  • Determining when surgeries are necessary
  • Reducing the need for exploratory surgeries
  • Improving cancer diagnosis and treatment
  • Reducing the length of hospitalizations
  • Guiding treatment of common conditions such as injury, cardiac disease and stroke

General/Vascular Ultrasonography

Vascular ultrasounds use sound waves to test the body’s circulatory system to help identify blockages and detect blood clots. A Doppler ultrasound study is a technique that evaluates blood flow through a blood vessel. An ultrasound does not use ionizing radiation, has no known harmful effects, and provides a clear picture of soft tissues that don’t show up well on x-ray images.

Benefits of a ultrasonography include:

  • Most ultrasound scanning is noninvasive (no needles or injections).
  • Occasionally, an ultrasound exam may be temporarily uncomfortable, but it is almost never painful.
  • Ultrasound is widely available, easy-to-use and less expensive than other imaging methods.
  • Ultrasound imaging is extremely safe and does not use any ionizing radiation.
  • Ultrasound scanning gives a clear picture of soft tissues that do not show up well on x-ray images.

Bone Density

Bone densitometry uses a very small dose of ionizing radiation to produce pictures of the inside of the body (usually the lower spine and hips) to measure bone loss. It is commonly used to diagnose osteoporosis and to estimate an individual’s risk for developing fractures. It’s simple, quick and noninvasive. Additionally, it’s the most accurate method for diagnosing osteoporosis.

Benefits of a bone density test include:

  • DXA bone densitometry is a simple, quick and non-invasive procedure.
  • No anesthesia is required.
  • The amount of radiation used is extremely small‚ÄĒless than one-tenth the dose of a standard chest x-ray, and less than a day’s exposure to natural radiation.
  • Bone density testing is the most accurate method available for the diagnosis of osteoporosis and is also considered an accurate estimator of fracture risk.
  • The equipment is widely available making bone densitometry testing convenient for patients and physicians alike.
  • No radiation remains in a patient’s body after an x-ray examination.
  • X-rays usually have no side effects in the typical diagnostic range for this exam.

EKG

Screening tests may include laboratory tests to check blood and other fluids, genetic tests that look for inherited genetic markers linked to disease, and imaging tests that produce pictures of the inside of the body. These tests are typically available to the general population; however, an individual’s needs for a specific screening test are based on factors such as age, gender and family history. An EKG measures the electrical activity of the heart and reveals information on heart rate and rhythm.

The benefits on an EKG may include:

  • Cardiac CT for calcium scoring is a convenient and noninvasive way of evaluating whether you may be at increased risk for a heart attack.
  • The exam takes a small amount of time, causes no pain and does not require injection of contrast material.
  • No radiation remains in a patient’s body after a CT examination.
  • X-rays used in standard CT scans have no immediate side effects.

Staying healthy is one of the most important things that a person can do for themselves. Contact us to answer any questions or to schedule an appointment.

What To Expect When Visiting a Sleep Specialist

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According to the National Commission on Sleep Disorders, millions of Americans are needlessly suffering from undiagnosed or misdiagnosed sleep disorders. While poor sleep can have a negative effect on performance, alertness, memory, concentration and reaction times, it is also being linked to other health issues such as heart disease and depression.

Sleep disorders are a serious health concern. It is especially important for persons suffering from hypertension diabetes, obesity and heart failure to see a sleep specialist for the detection and treatment of sleep apnea as it may prevent heart attacks and strokes as well as minimize underlying symptoms of other diseases. Left untreated, sleep disorders can lead to increased health risks and an overall lower quality of life.

Symptoms of a sleep disorder can include:

  • Insomnia
  • Daytime sleepiness
  • Morning headaches
  • Constant leg movement
  • Gasping episodes at night
  • Overweight/obesity
  • Hypertension
  • Loud snoring
  • Dry mouth, sore throat
  • Forgetfulness
  • Loss of energy

What To Expect?

The first step will be an initial visit with our sleep specialist who will review your medical and sleep history. You will then schedule an appointment for an overnight visit. To help determine if a sleep disorder exists, your physicians will need to know what physiologic changes occur during your typical night of sleep. We do this by recording your brainwave pattern (known as the EEG) as well as your eye movements and degree of muscle tone. Using an EKG monitor, we will measure your heart rate and check for irregular heart beats during the night. Other measurements will include oxygen saturation, snoring, leg movements or jerking and respiratory effort. An intercom in the room will allow communication with the technician should you have any questions or require assistance. Studies will usually begin between 8:00pm and 9:00pm  and will conclude at about 6am. you will then follow up with your physician who will make recommendations for treatment of the disorder.

How To Prepare

 

In order to feel more comfortable with your stay, feel free to bring your toiletries and usual sleepwear and if you prefer, your own pillow. (It is helpful to avoid using hair products or skin lotions on the night of the study). It is recommended that you eat a meal prior to your study and continue to take medications as prescribed (unless your physician specifies otherwise). It is also preferred that you not consume foods or beverages containing caffeine after 5pm.

Finally…

Amarillo Diagnostic Clinic, P.A. is a distinguished group practice of physicians specializing in internal medicine and its major subspecialties and provides a wider range of diagnostic services on site. Each of the physicians at Amarillo Diagnostic Clinic has built their practices around their commitment to superior methods of diagnosis and treatment for their patients. Contact us if you have any questions or to set up an appointment.