Although we live in our bodies our entire lives, we generally have only the vaguest notion of what is going on inside them. All too often it is
only when something goes wrong that we seek out the experts to tell us what is happening on the inside.
Fortunately, there now exists an array of state-of-the-art machines that go beneath the surface of the skin, using radio frequencies, radiation, magnetic resonance or other cutting edge technology to build detailed images of the bones, organs, muscles and soft tissues that make up our bodies.
KY Imaging, a multiple modality medical service centre, has an impressive inventory of cutting edge imaging machines that can be effectively used to diagnose a wide range of health disorders from sports injuries to heart conditions, and from neurological disorders to brittle bones. The radiologists on staff are all USA trained and board certified and are complemented by a team of resident and visiting doctors who provide expertise in specialties that include orthopaedics, neurology, cardiology, urology and vein care.
Patients’ images and reports are centrally stored on the KY Imaging HIPAA compliant PACS system, which means that physicians are able to view their patient’s results from their own computers, wherever they may be located.
Among the high tech equipment being used at KY Imaging are CAT or CT scans, an open MRI, ultrasound, X-Ray and nuclear stress testing. All these machines however are not only diagnostic tools, they can also be prevention aids, particularly when it comes to progressive conditions that creep up on one unawares, such as osteoporosis.
Osteoporosis is a condition affecting an estimated one in five women in the US, when loss of bone density causes fragile, brittle bones. “Osteoporosis generally affects post-menopausal females when bone density falls below a certain range. Once it does that there is a risk of fractures,” explains Canueth Jones, Senior Technologist at KY Imaging.
In severe cases something as simple as sneezing could cause bones to break.
Although it is a condition typical of elderly people - broken hips and dowager’s humps are common symptoms - bone loss actually begins at around age 35 and is a gradual process. However, after menopause bone loss becomes more pronounced, and can amount to as much as four to five percent of bone being lost each year. There are no symptoms of osteoporosis until bones start to fracture, but by that stage the condition is severe.
It is the drop in oestrogen during menopause that is the most common cause of osteoporosis. Once they have been through the menopause therefore, women are encouraged to go for routine screening for osteoporosis. Osteoporosis can also be caused by nutritional deficiencies,which prevent the body absorbing calcium, arthritic changes or cancers. Men can be affected by the condition, but it is less common and does not usually occur until later in life.
“Bone health awareness is an important health consideration, especially as we grow older.
Serious fractures due to osteoporosis have long term health implications. Reduced mobility due to fracture can lead to an increasingly sedentary lifestyle which also increases the risk of other chronic conditions such as heart disease and diabetes,” says Rebecca Smith, Managing Director of KY Imaging.
A bone density test is an extremely simple and straightforward test that can reveal loss of bone long before it becomes symptomatic. The Dexa scan used at KY Imaging uses X-ray technology to pinpoint very specific areas of both hips and lumbar spine. “With the Dexa scan, it is easy to measure bone mineral density and it is one of the most accurate ways to diagnose osteopenia or osteoporosis,” says Smith.
Bone density varies in people according to age, gender, race and more, explains Jones. There is not therefore a simple number that can be applied across the board to establish the presence of osteoporosis. However, KY Imaging’s systems are linked to a worldwide network and the Dexa results are compared with other results internationally. The system takes into account all the variables to determine whether a person’s bone density falls above or below acceptable levels.
“Once osteoporosis is discovered it can be treated,” says Jones. The procedure takes just a few minutes and the results are available immediately.
“With the Dexa scan it is easy to measure bone mineral density and it is one of the most accurate ways to diagnose osteopenia or osteoporosis”
Rebecca Smith, Managing Director of KY Imaging