The Importance of Screening For Lung Cancer In High Risk Patients

Striking statistics show that even though lung cancer is the biggest killer in America, lung cancer screenings are critically low. Especially for high-risk smokers, low-dose CT scans are vital when monitoring lung health and screening for cancer. If you or  someone you know may be at risk for this deadly cancer, keep reading to increase awareness about lung cancer and how we can fight it.

WHY?

The statistics behind lung cancer are frightening enough to make someone consider a CT scan. As the number one killer in the United States, lung cancer takes the lives of 426 each day with one of the lowest survival rates.

While there are numerous factors that may cause lung cancer, smokers are at the highest risk. Quitting is an important first step, but those who are currently or have been a regular smoker are still at risk.

WHAT IS A LOW-DOSE CT?

Low-dose CT scans are vital for smokers because they can catch lung cancer at its earliest stages. This simple procedure takes images of the lung which can help detect cancer. Screening CT alone could save 15,000 lives if only half the high-risk population was screened.

WHO NEEDS A LUNG CT?

CT scans are life-changing for some, but not recommended for everyone. Those who are at high-risk should undergo regular lung cancer screenings. For those at high risk, patients are covered by Medicare and most health insurance plans. This lifesaving scan can is available the most people with almost no cost. Current smokers and people over the age of 55 are the first that should consider taking advantage of the low costs and undergoing a CT scan.

If you’re at risk for lung cancer, take our advice and undergo a low-dose CT scan. Our radiologist can provide you with personalized results that will help keep your mind at ease or help you fight lung cancer successfully. Call us to schedule and be proactive about your health.

 

 

Sleep – How Important Is It for Your Overall Health?

Is there anything more refreshing than a good night’s sleep? If there’s one thing everyone has in common, it’s that being well- rested is the key to a productive day. But, does the importance of sleep go beyond just feeling better? Scientists are starting to realize that sleep is a vital factor in every aspect of your health. How do your sleeping habits affect your overall well-being?

Sleep is essential for a healthy heart

Your heart never gets to take a break; even when you’re sleeping, it keeps faithfully ticking away. Even so, the time you spend resting provides a valuable “cool down” time for your heart. During sleep, your blood pressure drops, relieving your heart of the strain that built up through the day and allowing it to recover. The longer you sleep, the better your results.

Sleep helps regulate your blood sugar

Your heart isn’t the only organ that benefits from being well- rested. Insulin, the hormone that controls blood sugar, is released by the pancreas. Studies show that as little as one week of bad sleep is enough to damage this balance. Though diabetics, especially, should be wary, no one is immune from the effects.

Being well-rested helps you control weight gain

Maintaining a healthy weight is about more than appearances. Excess weight and obesity are contributing factors in many debilitating diseases. Unsurprisingly, studies show that a lack of rest is a shortcut to weight gain. This, however, is one area where too much of a good thing can be harmful. Though not sleeping enough is dangerous, sleeping more than nine hours every night can also lead to weight gain – so you’ll have to put mind over mattress and drag yourself out of bed eventually.

Rest makes you more productive

We don’t need scientists to tell us that a well-rested brain helps us work smarter and harder. A clear, energetic mind is our most powerful tool when it’s time to tackle the day. Whether you’re trying to be more productive at work, stick to a workout plan or maintain a healthier lifestyle, it’ll take a fresh mind to reach your goals.

Take charge of your health

Making rest a priority is difficult in a hectic world, but the rewards are worth the effort. You are the only one who can write your future, so start making smart choices today. At Southtowns Radiology, we are dedicated to helping you achieve the healthiest version of yourself. From ultrasounds, mammograms, X-rays and everything in between, our three locations in the Buffalo, NY region offer you the tools and guidance you need to reach your goals. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us today, or use our online tool to schedule an appointment.

Women – Take Charge of Your Health

Even though health care is such a politically explosive issue, we can’t deny that today’s health care and medicine is more diverse and effective than ever. Even so, too many women take their health for granted. Don’t be one of them! You can take control of your personal health. Taking charge of your personal health will keep you active and happy no matter what age you are. How can you do it?

Think ahead

Today’s choices determine tomorrow’s success – or failure! If you’re thinking about making healthier lifestyle choices, now is the time to take action. Set goals that are realistic and attainable so you won’t give up. The more specific your goals are, the easier it will be to plan towards reaching them.

Make yourself a priority

What stresses you out the most? When faced with so many demands and so much pressure – both at work and at home – it’s easy to place your own needs on a back burner. If you want to attain your health goals, however, you’ll need to set aside some time and mental energy for yourself.

Knowing yourself: What risk factors should you be watching?

Taking charge of your health means more than making healthy lifestyle choices. If you want to stay healthy throughout your life, you’ll need to pay attention to the medical side, as well. Not only do women as a group have unique health care needs, but your individual health and family history can drastically affect the decisions you need to make. Make sure you stay up to date on all your checkups and preventative screening, especially for conditions for which you are at risk.

Find a provider you trust

Taking control of your health doesn’t mean you have to go it alone. In fact, your journey can be much more comfortable and fruitful if you team up with people you trust. It pays to shop around at the beginning, but working with the same provider long term helps you build confidence and intimacy. In addition, your care provider will come to know your personal needs and health history, helping them make decisions that respect your needs and wishes.

At Southtowns Radiology, we’re proud to be one of the most trusted providers of screening services in the Buffalo, New York area. We believe our clients should be treated like family, and we’d be thrilled to help you take charge of your healthcare needs. We provide radiology, ultrasound and many other screening services at our three locations around Buffalo. Contact us today or schedule an appointment to get started.

Should You Be Worried About Low Bone Density?

Bones are the strongest part of your body. In addition to giving support and protection to your vital organs, you wouldn’t even be able to move without them. While strong bones help us stay healthy and active, low bone density can lead to pain, injury and a host of major health problems. Very low bone density, known as osteoporosis, can drastically affect your health and lifestyle. Since symptoms of osteoporosis don’t appear until massive amounts of bone minerals have already been lost, it’s important to be watchful. How can you determine if your bone density should be a concern?

Causes of low bone density

Though anyone could experience bone density loss during their lifetime, there are a few major risk factors that affect your odds of losing bone density – or even developing osteoporosis.

  • Age. Throughout childhood and young adulthood, bones gradually increase in size and density. By about age 30, however, the process begins to reverse. Even then, the process is usually slow. For the most part, symptoms are not seen in those under 50 years of age.
  • Sex. Women are at much higher risk of developing dangerously low bone density than men are. In fact, though only 1 in 5 men will suffer a bone fracture due to low bone density, up to 1 in 3 women will break a bone due to osteoporosis.
  • Race. Though osteoporosis and low bone density can affect anyone, Caucasians appear to be especially at risk.
  • Hormonal changes. Since bone density is significantly affected by your body’s hormones, changes that upset your hormonal balance can be damaging to your bone structure. Menopause is a major risk factor, as is having one or both ovaries removed. In addition, women who started their period at a very young age are at higher risk.
  • Diet and lifestyle. To build strong bones (or slow their decay), you need a diet that is high in calcium. Also, your body knows when your bones are being used. A sedentary lifestyle will make your bones become weak. In contrast, they respond to exercise by growing stronger. The more you move, the stronger they get!
  • Previous fractures. Breaking a bone doesn’t cause you to lose bone density, but it could indicate the process has already started. If you’re over 50 and recently broke a bone, consider getting a bone density scan.
  • Family history. Studies indicate that genetics play a powerful role in bone density. If a close family member has suffered from osteoporosis, it would be best to get your bone density checked more regularly.

Bone density scans are just one of the tests we offer at Southtowns Radiology. Our team of professionals promises you the most accurate results possible on any screening you choose to perform at one of our three locations around Buffalo, New York. Feel free to contact us with any questions; you can also use our online form to schedule an appointment.

Celebrating Women’s Health Week

For nearly two decades, National Women’s Health Week has helped countless women turn their lives around by making healthy decisions. Starting on Mother’s Day every year, its goal is to raise awareness of common women’s health issues while encouraging individuals and communities to take action. In 2017, Women’s Health Week will start on May 14. Why should you pay attention to this campaign?

Women’s Health Week – More Than Medicine

Advances in modern medicine have saved and improved countless lives, but basic awareness of common issues is still lacking. By empowering women with the knowledge to make smart decisions, Women’s Health Week aims to help every woman in the country attain a happier, healthier life. The campaign builds its message on four pillars of healthy living.

Mental Health Awareness

Studies indicate that women are twice as likely as men to suffer from depression and anxiety. Because of this, one of the primary goals of Women’s Health Week is to help women be aware of their mental health. The Office on Women’s Health recommends that certain stress-relieving activities can reduce or eliminate the symptoms of some mental concerns.

Safe Behaviors

Unhealthy habits can be hard to crack, which is why Women’s Health Week energetically targets them. From smoking to using a phone while driving, simple decisions can affect our lives in profound ways. In contrast, starting healthy behaviors today can protect you from injury and illness throughout your lifespan.

An Active Lifestyle

The many ways exercise positively impacts our lives are still being discovered. No one needs to be reminded that exercise will help you feel better and lose weight, but did you know that moderate physical activity might lower your risk of breast cancer? Women who lead active lives experience benefits far beyond what they set out to achieve.

Regular Well-Woman Visits

Though healthy living is a personal choice, there are some aspects of healthcare that require professional help. Tests and screening, for example, can help women detect symptoms or risk factors before they turn into serious issues. For instance, did you know that 75 percent of women over 40 have at least one risk factor for heart disease? As the most common killer of women in the United States, heart disease deserves our attention and is just one reason women should schedule regular check-ups.

Southtowns Radiology is proud to celebrate National Women’s Health Week alongside the women of our communities. We offer a wide array of screening and women’s health exams, including ultrasounds and mammograms, to women throughout the Buffalo, NY region. Contact us today or schedule an appointment to find out more about our services.

What to Expect During an Ultrasound

Ultrasound technology is one of the triumphs of modern medicine. Accurately diagnosing and treating medical conditions depends on safe and precise imaging techniques. To date, ultrasound is one of the most common and effective imaging techniques available.

How Ultrasounds Work

Ultrasound machines send out high-frequency sound waves that reflect off the structures of your body. The machine then uses these sound waves to create an image you and your doctor can see. Since ultrasounds produce a live, moving image, your physician can see your body’s internal processes while they happen, making ultrasounds the ideal tool for diagnosing many common disorders. In addition, since ultrasounds are non-invasive and produce no harmful radiation or side effects, they are perfect for use during pregnancy and with certain cancers.

How to Prepare for an Ultrasound

Ultrasound prep is different for every test. For some tests, your prescriber might ask you to drink water or other fluids before coming in – they may even want you to have a full bladder for some tests. On the other hand, some tests require an empty stomach, so you might be instructed not to eat or drink for several hours before your procedure. No matter what test you take, make sure you understand your instructions. If you have any questions, you can contact us ahead of time.

What to Expect During the Ultrasound Procedure

Ultrasounds are 100 percent painless, so there’s no need to be nervous beforehand. It may be helpful to wear loose-fitting clothing you can adjust easily; this will help your technician to access whatever area needs to be visualized. You may be asked to change into a patient gown. The technician will start by applying a clear gel to your skin. The gel helps form a seal between the ultrasound transducer and your skin, allowing the sound waves to travel easily. A better seal means a clearer image, so the technician might use a lot of gel.  When the technician obtains the desired images, she will clean the remaining gel off of your skin. You may choose to wait for the images, or we can forward the images to your doctor.

Where to Get an Ultrasound

Clients in the Buffalo, NY region can take advantage of our comprehensive 3D ultrasound imaging at our offices in Hamburg and Orchard Park. If you have any questions about what procedures are right for you, please contact us with your concerns. If your primary care provider has already prescribed an ultrasound or another diagnostic test, you may schedule an appointment at any time.

Are You a Candidate for Cardiac Calcium Scoring?

Heart disease is one of the leading causes of death in the U.S. Because of this, it’s smart to consider your risks for various cardiac disorders. Knowing where you stand will help you make lifestyle and medical decisions that will keep you healthy and active throughout your life. One of the many tests we offer is cardiac calcium scoring. Why might this test be the right choice for you?

Cardiac Calcium Scoring – What Is It?

Ideally, the vessels in your heart will be clean and unobstructed. In many types of heart disease, plaque develops on the inside of the vessels, obstructing blood flow. As the condition progresses, the plaque can harden and become calcified. In cardiac calcium scanning, we take a 3D image of your heart, allowing your doctors to measure the amount of calcium in your cardiac vessels. We will look at your score to determine whether you are at risk for or have already developed a heart condition.

Who Should Receive Cardiac Calcium Scoring?

Even though the procedure is non-invasive and very safe, not everyone should get it. If you don’t have any risk factors for cardiac disease, scanning is usually unnecessary. The biggest risk factors include:

  • high blood cholesterol levels
  • family history of heart attacks
  • diabetes
  • high blood pressure
  • cigarette smoking
  • overweight or obese
  • physical inactivity

On the other hand, if you already know you are at high risk of coronary artery disease, or are already being treated, your doctor may recommend you skip this test. It’s a bit of a Goldilocks situation. If your risk is low, testing is unnecessary; if you’re already being treated, testing is probably not needed. Testing is perfect for those at moderate risk, just right in the middle. If you have several risk factors but are not yet diagnosed, testing could be right for you.

Where Can You Get Tested?

Southtowns Radiology offers CT services at all three of our locations in and around Buffalo, NY. Your tests will be reviewed by the most highly qualified radiologists in the region. You can visit us at one of our offices in West Seneca, Orchard Park or Hamburg. Feel free to contact us or use our online appointment scheduling service at any time.

What Should You Expect During a Breast Biopsy?

Finding a lump on your breast is nerve-wracking for anyone. Fortunately, lumps don’t always spell trouble. Approximately eight out of ten breast lumps turn out to benign. Even so, it pays to get all unusual findings, whether from a self-exam or a mammogram, checked out by a medical professional. Usually, a simple biopsy is all that is needed to rule out cancer. If you’re nervous about an upcoming biopsy, or just curious about the procedure, here’s some information to put your mind at ease.

Question: How do I prepare for a breast biopsy?

Answer: Since most biopsies are done using just local anesthesia, very little preparation is needed. Before the procedure, you can go about your day-to-day activities as you normally would. We recommend wearing a skirt or slacks, instead of a dress. This will keep you from getting fully undressed before the procedure, though we can provide a gown if you need one.

Question: Will it hurt?

Answer: The local anesthesia will make the affected area of your breast numb. You shouldn’t be able to feel a thing during the biopsy. Injecting the anesthesia, however, does require a needle, and it will sting a little bit. Depending on how much tissue we sample during the biopsy, your breast may be sore for a couple of days after the anesthesia wears off.

Question: Will it leave a scar?

Answer: Probably not. And, if so, it will be a very tiny scar. Many breast biopsies only require the use of a thin needle to pull out the tissue needed, which will not leave any scar, at all. If we have to make an incision for a larger needle, the incision will be very short. You won’t even need stitches. A simple butterfly bandage is more than enough to keep your incision closed and clean. We will also send you with an ice pack to keep bruising to a minimum.

Question: How long will it take to get my breast biopsy results?

Answer: About two business days. Southtowns Radiology will forward the results to your physician, who will then talk to you about the results. If we can’t get in touch with your doctor, we will send the results directly to you.

Question: Where can I get a breast biopsy done?

Answer:  You can visit us in our Orchard Park office location for a biopsy. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.

Are You at Risk for Osteoporosis?

Your bones are, quite literally, the framework of your body. Even though you’ve got 206 of them, a single broken bone can have long-lasting, debilitating effects on your health and wellness. The odds of you breaking a bone increase dramatically if you suffer from osteoporosis. Though you might hear people with osteoporosis say they have “thin” bones, it really refers to a decrease in bone density, not size. Could you be at risk for osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis Risk Factors

Not everybody has the same chances of developing osteoporosis. Since planning and prevention are key factors in managing this illness, it pays to educate yourself about your risk factors. Though our understanding of this condition becomes better all the time, these are some of the most important factors that have been identified.

Fixed risk factors

Some risk factors are out of your control. Even so, it is important to know how high your risk is. Some of the biggest fixed risk factors are:

  • Gender plays a significant role in your bone density. Physiologic differences in women make them more at risk than men are. In fact, about 80 percent of those diagnosed are women.
  • Age plays a large role, as well. Since your body’s ability to replace lost bone tissue decreases over time, your risks will increase as you age.
  • Family history. If a close family member has been diagnosed, there’s a good chance you might share the same genetic tendency. Think about getting a bone density test.

Controllable risk factors

There’s good news! Not all of the risk factors are beyond your control. Many of your decisions can raise or lower your chances of developing osteoporosis.

  • Hormone levels change over time, and they play an important role in women’s bone health. While many hormones are important, thyroid hormones and sex hormones are critical for proper bone density. Fortunately, medications and supplements are available to help manage your hormone levels.
  • Diet. Your body is constantly replacing bone tissue. If you don’t eat enough basic bone-building material, your bones will become frail and brittle. Calcium is especially important, but a lack of any of the essential minerals will affect the process.
  • Exercise isn’t just good for muscle strength. Your body responds to the physical stress of exercise by sending extra resources to your skeleton, leading to stronger bones over time.

Do you think there’s a chance you might suffer from osteoporosis? Why not find out where you stand? A bone density scan will give you a definitive answer. Contact us today to learn more, or schedule an appointment to get started as soon as possible.

Why You Should Visit an ACR Accredited Facility

You wouldn’t buy a car without reading its reviews, would you? Most people like to read up on all of their large purchases before spending money. However, shouldn’t excellent reviews be even more important when your health is at stake? When it comes to choosing medical care, listening to client reviews is vital. Good word-of-mouth can tell you a lot about a facility. Still, only the experts can weigh-in on whether a facility truly meets all necessary standards. That’s why we collaborate with the American College of Radiology (ACR) to ensure you receive the best possible care. All three of our clinics are ACR accredited, guaranteeing you excellent care.

ACR Accredited: What Does It Mean?

The ACR is an organization dedicated to advancing the science of radiology. Its directors are at the forefront of their field, and they are uniquely qualified to set quality and safety standards for the entire industry. Also, the ACR also provides training and education for its members. In addition, being ACR accredited guarantees excellent results for you. Here are just a few of the things that our ACR accreditation means for you.

  • Our Facility Has Been Thoroughly Reviewed

Our radiology and imaging services are vital to the community. If our facility and procedures were not up to date, our clients would suffer. ACR accreditation means our facility has been checked and rechecked to make sure your health and safety is put first. For example, an ACR representative may periodically review our images; this review process guarantees that our test results are high quality and accurate.

  • Our Equipment Is Top-Notch

At Southtowns, we offer all types of imaging services. X-rays, MRIs, Ultrasounds, CT Scans … you name it, we’ve got it! The ACR stamp of approval promises  our imaging equipment is new and in top condition. As a result, you can be sure any tests you have done here will be accurate and expertly handled.

Our Staff Is Second to None

Our high-tech equipment would be worthless without the amazing people that run it. When the ACR reviews our facility, they make sure all our employees have received up-to-date training. When you walk through our doors, you can trust you’re in the best hands possible.

We’re excited to show you personally what services our facilities offer. We operate three centers in the Buffalo, NY area. You can visit us in Hamburg, Orchard Park or West Seneca. If you are looking for the best imaging services in the region, contact us to schedule an appointment.