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MRI Safety is the Utmost Importance at GWIC

MRI safety importance is a mandatory operational and business initiative at Greater Waterbury Imaging Center.  Magnetic Resonance Imaging, (MRI), is one of the most accurate diagnostic methods available to obtain images of the human body. MRI allows physicians and healthcare professionals to see the internal tissues and organs of the body without invasive surgical procedures and without using radiation. MRI machines use the magnetic properties of hydrogen and its interaction with radio waves and a large external magnetic field to generate detailed images inside the human body.

MRI Safety Importance

The importance of MRI safety cannot be overstated. MR technologists and staff must be fully aware of safety procedures and follow them at all times, keeping the area safe for all who enter the room. An MRI uses a powerful magnet which can pose real risks to people in the room. If an object is highly attracted to the magnet, it can be picked up and pulled into the magnet like a projectile. Along with creating a safe environment, anyone that comes in contact with the magnetic field must be screened for contraindications.

Contraindications include a number of health conditions and medical devices, which could harm the patient if not disclosed.

Patient Screening for MRI

Patient screening is critical prior to entering an MRI machine. There is a detailed checklist of questions that must be asked, all leading up to the most important question, what can go into the magnet? Some items are considered safe, some are unsafe, while others are conditional. MRI providers and technologists must be fully aware of any contraindications, situations that would warrant the MRI unsafe.

Absolute contraindications include any metallic foreign object in the eye, contact lenses referred to as “triggerfish”, which is a new type of contact lens that records pressures in the eye. These things can cause severe eye burn in a patient if undergoing an MRI. Additional absolute contraindications include gastro reflux devices, certain types of insulin pumps, and ​temporary external transvenous pacing leads as well as abandoned intracardiac pacing leads.
Relative contraindications are situations which should be carefully evaluated to determine if the benefit outweighs the risk of MRI. These include patient situations such as shrapnel in the body, pregnancy, spinal fixation hardware, certain cochlear implants, and many other situations which could pose a risk to patient safety.

Everyone in contact with the magnetic field should be screened for contraindications by a knowledgeable MR technician.

GWIC Practices Safe MRI Policies and Procedures

Greater Waterbury Imaging Center is continually updating our policies and procedures to identify and address any threats or concerns. Our MR safety program is constantly evaluated for any new risks as we continue to provide a safe environment for our patients. We provide a secure, gated parking lot where patients are allowed in by the receptionist. Once inside you’ll be given consent forms for the MRI exam, and an additional consent form if you’ll be administered contrast with your exam.

Prior to the exam, our MR technologist performs a thorough health risk assessment by asking a list of questions to alert of any contraindications. While this may seem repetitive, we may ask the same questions to be sure we clearly understand your medical history and any possible risks for MRI. We offer an MRI machine specifically for patients that may be claustrophobic which provides a little extra room to help patients with claustrophobic tendencies and anxiety. We provide earplugs as the noise of the magnets can be loud in the machine, or we can also provide music to help ease patient nerves and cut down noise.

Patients always have a call button to alert a technologist to any problems or needs during the exam. Once complete, our Radiologist reviews the images and dictates the reports that will be sent to your healthcare provider. You can always obtain a copy of your images on disk by calling our office to request a copy. You can learn more by visiting our website as we provide the patient tools like this quick video “What to Expect During Your MRI Exam” to assist with your exam before, during and after to provide your total safety and comfort.

MR technology provides a valuable tool to health care professionals and here at Greater Waterbury Imaging Center, we take your exam seriously and follow all safety procedures meticulously with each and every patient.

Greater Waterbury Imaging Center continually assesses our MRI safety program to identify and eliminate any possible risk to our patients’ health and well-being. We conduct a thorough health screening and evaluation for any possible contraindications associated with MR screening.  Contact us today to learn more about our facility and to schedule your MR imaging with a professional and safe MR provider.

Learn to Prevent Sports Injuries, Strains and Sprains

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May is National Physical Fitness and Sports Month, and a good time to recognize the benefits of participating in sports and a physical fitness routine. While the benefits are numerous to people in all age groups, everyone should be careful to prevent sports injuries, strains and sprains.

Children and adolescents must engage in physical activity to promote bone health, muscular fitness and a healthy heart. Adults who participate in physical activity can actually lower their risk of developing type II diabetes, heart disease and some forms of cancer. Physical activity benefits older adults by improving cognitive functioning and lowering the risk of falling.

No matter your age group, it is never too late to begin a physical fitness regimen with your doctor’s approval. Just be sure to follow proper procedures such as warming up before and cooling down after physical activity and read more to learn how to not strain your muscles and joints.

There are Two Types of Physical and Sports Injuries

If you or a family member are participating in sports or physical fitness regimen, be aware of the types of injuries that could occur and learn how to prevent them. If you experience an injury during physical activity it is either an acute injury or chronic injury. An acute injury occurs suddenly such as an ankle sprain.

Chronic injuries occur from an ongoing sport or physical activity, causing an injury over a long period of time, such as knee problems or tennis elbow. People that sit at a computer screen all day are at risk for developing a chronic condition known as RSI, Repetitive Strain Injury, which encompasses several different conditions caused from repetitive motions. There are many things you can do to help prevent RSI and other chronic physical conditions caused from sports or physical activity.

Symptoms of  Physical and Sports Injuries

Your symptoms will vary depending on the type of injury. Acute injuries often present with the following symptoms:

  • Swelling
  • Sudden and severe pain
  • Tenderness in arm, elbow, wrist, hand or finger
  • Unable to put weight on a knee, leg, foot or ankle
  • Inability to move joints as normal
  • Extreme weakness in arms or legs
  • A joint or bone that is visibly out of place

Chronic injuries occur over longer periods of time with the following symptoms:

  • Pain or tenderness
  • Swelling
  • Constant dull ache even at rest
  • Pain when participating in the activity or sport

Treatment for Sports Injuries

Initial treatment for sports injuries usually begins with the R-I-C-E method:

Rest – Decrease the activity causing pain and rest your injured area
Ice – Use an ice pack or a cold pack on the injury 4 to 8 times per day in 20-minute intervals
Compression – Putting pressure on the injured area will help to reduce swelling
Elevation – Elevate the injured area above your heart

More serious injuries must be treated with medications, limited mobility, physical therapy and sometimes surgery. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen help to decrease pain and swelling.

You can Prevent Many Sports and Physical Injuries by Practicing Safe Habits

Knowing what causes sports injuries will help you learn how to prevent them. It is very important to warm up before any exercise or playing any sport and performing physical activity while not in shape for it can cause injury. Follow these tips to remain injury free so that you can keep enjoying your physical activity:

  • Always do warm up exercises before playing sports
  • Stretch before you play or exercise
  • Know your limits and don’t do more than you can
  • Wear properly fitting shoes that absorb shock and are stable
  • Exercise on soft surfaces when possible, never run on concrete or asphalt
  • Prevent knee and back strain by not bending knees more than half way
  • Land with knees bent when jumping
  • Prevent RSI by maintaining proper posture when typing on a computer
  • Do not be a weekend warrior and do too much activity in a day or two

With the warm weather upon us, it’s tempting to get outside and do everything we’ve been wanting to over the long winter months. Be sure to pace yourself, take the time to warm up, stretch, and be smart about your physical limitations.

Greater Waterbury Imaging Center cares about your health and wellness. We encourage people of all ages to maintain a physically active lifestyle, within your personal limitations. Continue to practice safe habits during sports and physical activity, and contact us with all your MR imaging needs.

Learn How to Help Raise Awareness to Alcohol Abuse

The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, the NCADD, reports that 17.6 million people, or one in every twelve adults in the United States, has a problem with dependence or abuse of alcohol. Alcohol is the most commonly abused addictive substance in the U.S., with millions more engaging in dangerous binge drinking which can lead to serious problems caused by alcohol. Drinking in excess increases chances of violence, drowning, injuries, liver disease and even some forms of cancer.

April is Alcohol Awareness Month and Greater Waterbury Imaging Center encourages you to learn more about the dangers of drinking alcohol in excess. We are all aware of the dangers of drinking and driving, yet the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that alcohol impaired driving fatalities average more than 10,000 per year across the United States, with an average of 104 per year in Connecticut alone, for the 10-year span from 2007 – 2016.

Steps to Cut Down on Alcohol Abuse

If you or someone you care about is drinking alcohol in excess, you can greatly improve your health by quitting or cutting back. Here are some things you can do to avoid drinking too much alcohol:

  • Make a list of reasons not to drink or over use alcohol
  • Avoid places where people are drinking a lot like bars
  • Do no drink when you are upset
  • Limit alcohol you have available in the home
  • Limit yourself to no more than 1 alcoholic drink per day for women, or 2 per day for men

We can raise awareness in April during Alcohol Awareness Month about the dangers of alcohol abuse and how to take action to prevent serious consequences.

Effects of Alcohol on Your Health and Your Liver

Alcohol abuse takes a great toll on the body, especially the liver. The liver is the largest internal organ in the body which plays a very important role in metabolism, specifically the way that cells convert food into energy after the food is digested and absorbed into the bloodstream. Some of the very important functions of this vital organ include:

  • Storing and processing the nutrients from food, including sugar, protein and fat, and delivering them to the rest of the body when needed.
  • Removing waste products that the kidney cannot remove, such as toxins, medications, fats and cholesterol
  • Producing bile which helps the body absorb cholesterol, fats and fat-soluble vitamins
  • Producing new proteins such as immune and clotting factors

The liver is a vital organ required for survival and regenerates its damaged cells automatically. If the damage to the liver is long term or severe, however, the liver cannot completely regenerate and scar tissue develops. This scarring, or fibrosis, on the liver can lead to cirrhosis of the liver.

Cirrhosis of the Liver

Cirrhosis is a condition that occurs when scarring develops on the liver and begins to replace healthy tissue. This scar tissue blocks normal blood flow in the liver which deteriorates over time, preventing normal function. Scar tissue build up causing cirrhosis is a gradual, slow process that gets worse over time, sometimes years or decades. As the disease progresses, the liver begins failing until reaching end-stage liver disease when the liver cannot perform its vital functions or regenerate and replace damaged cells.
Cirrhosis of the liver is the 12th leading cause of death in the United States causing nearly 32,000 deaths each year, with more men than women dying of the disease.

What Causes Cirrhosis?

The main cause of liver cirrhosis is chronic Hepatitis C. Hepatitis C is caused from a viral infection causing swelling, inflammation and damage to the liver. There are now advanced treatments for Hepatitis C, and doctors can treat patients before developing cirrhosis or fibrosis.

Alcohol abuse is the second most common cause of cirrhosis of the liver, typically caused by heavy drinking over several years. Most people who consume alcohol socially do not develop liver cirrhosis, although the amount of alcohol that is required to damage the liver is different for each person. Researchers have established what appears to be a safe limit of alcohol consumption to no more than one drinks per day for a woman and no more than two drinks per day for men. Drinking more than this amount may lead to inflammation in the liver which could lead to cirrhosis over several years.

The facts are clear, abusing alcohol leads to serious consequences with your health, and with risky behavior such as drunk driving, behaving aggressively or foolishly. Help us to spread the word on safe alcohol consumption and how to avoid serious health problems like cirrhosis of the liver.

If you need help with alcohol or drug dependencies, contact the NCADD for assistance and free resources.

Great Waterbury Imaging Center is a modern, clean and friendly magnetic resonance (MR) diagnostic imaging facility that goes the extra mile to make sure our patients are comfortable and informed. We care about your health and well-being and urge you to spread the word about the dangers of alcohol abuse. Contact us with any questions and for all your MRI imaging needs.

Colorectal Cancer Screening Saves Lives

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Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of death from cancer and is the third most common cancer in the United States. It is estimated that about 50,000 people will die from colorectal cancer every year, with more than 135,000 people diagnosed with the disease. About 1 in every 24 women and 1 in 22 men will get a new diagnosis of colorectal cancer sometime during their life. Colorectal cancer affects all racial and ethnic groups although it is more common in people over 50.

The Development of Colorectal Cancer

Colorectal cancer is a broad term to describe cancer of the colon, the rectum, or both. They may be called colon or rectal cancer, but they are very similar. Most colorectal cancers start as a polyp, a growth on the inner lining of the color or the rectum. Polyps can develop into cancer over many years, but not all polyps turn into cancer as there are two main types of polyps.

Hyperplastic polyps and inflammatory polyps are the most common and are not pre-cancerous. The other type is called Adenomatous Polyps (Adenomas) and are considered to be pre-cancerous as they can develop into cancer.

In addition to the type of polyp, other characteristics contribute to the risk of developing colorectal cancer. If the polyp is larger than 1 cm, there are more than two, and there is dysplasia after removal (dysplasia is abnormal cells but not yet cancer) there is an increased risk of developing cancer.

Risk Factors for Colorectal Cancer

There are several risk factors and health conditions that contribute to the risk of developing colon cancer, which include:

Age – While younger adults can develop colorectal cancer, it is more common in people over 50, and your risk increases with your age.

Personal history of polyps – Having a history of adenomas that were large or in numbers.

Personal history of inflammatory bowel disease – If you have either inflammatory bowel disease,(IBD), Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, you have an increased risk of developing colorectal cancer.

Family history of colorectal cancer – Having an immediate family member such as a parent or sibling with colorectal cancer will put you at an increased risk, especially if they were diagnosed before the age of 45.

Lack of Physical Activity – You are at an increased risk of developing colorectal cancer if you are physically inactive.

Being overweight – If you are overweight or obese you have an increased risk of developing colorectal cancer.

Diets high in red meats – Diets that are high in red meats such as beef, pork, liver, lamb or processed luncheon meats can raise your risk of developing colorectal cancer.

Smoking and excessive alcohol use – There is an increased risk of developing colorectal cancer with excessive drinking and smoking.

Use this Colorectal Cancer Risk Assessment Tool from The National Cancer Institute for more information. Talk to your doctor about your concerns and learn about several screening tests available.

Colorectal Cancer Screening Saves Lives

It is easier to treat colon cancer when caught early. The American Cancer Society recommends screenings for early detection and prevention. Finding and removing polyps prevents them from developing into cancer. Women and men at average risk are recommended to begin with screening tests at the age of 50. There are tests that find polyps and cancer, and some that mainly detect cancer.

Screening tests that are used to detect polyps and cancer include:

Colonoscopy recommended every 10 years
CT Colonography (virtual colonoscopy) recommended every 5 years
Double-contrast barium enema, every 5 years
Flexible sigmoidoscopy. every 5 years

The following tests are used to mainly detect cancer:

Guaiac-based fecal occult blood test (gFOBT), each year
Fecal immunochemical test (FIT), each year
Stool DNA every three years

Talk to your doctor about which test is right for you. For more information you can use this colorectal screening test interactive tool from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to help you decide which tests are right for you.

Colorectal Cancer Can be Prevented with Screenings

About 60% of deaths caused by colorectal cancer could be prevented with regular screenings. Let’s prevent the number of people diagnosed with colorectal cancer and reduce the number of deaths caused by this disease. We can use Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month to spread the word that regular screenings saves lives.

Greater Waterbury Imaging Center urges you to spread the word about Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, remind your friends and family that screening saves lives and talk to your doctor about the right screening test for you. Contact us for all your medical imaging needs.

February is American Heart Month

February is American Heart Month, and a good time to bring awareness to the number one cause of death for both women and men in the United States which is heart disease. According to information released from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in December of 2016, each year about 630,000 Americans will die from heart disease. This accounts for approximately one out of every four deaths, with just as many women affected by heart disease as men.

Every 40 seconds in the United States, someone experiences a heart attack, with someone dying every minute of a heart related event.

It is Important to Act Quickly in the Case of a Heart Attack

When the blood supply is cut off to the heart, the heart muscle will not receive enough oxygen rich blood and the cells of the heart muscle will begin to die. it is important to act quickly in the case of a heart attack, as there is increased damage to the heart with every second that passes.

Each year there are approximately 790,000 people in the United States that experience a heart attack, with nearly 75% of those being a first heart attack, and 15% of them not surviving the cardiac event.

Recognizing the Symptoms of a Heart Attack

Recognizing the symptoms of a heart attack can save a life as early administration of emergency treatment greatly increases someone’s chance for survival.

The following are major warning signs of a heart attack:

Chest pain and discomfort
Shortness of Breath
Nausea, cold sweats and lightheadedness
Pain or discomfort in the neck, jaw, arms, back, or upper stomach

Studies from the CDC have shown that nearly half of all cardiac deaths occur outside of a hospital, which indicates that not enough people are acting early on signs and symptoms. While most people know that chest pain is a symptom of a heart attack, only about one fourth of people surveyed are aware of all symptoms. You do not have to be experiencing all symptoms, any of these alone or in combination are major warning signs of a heart attack.

Do not hesitate to call 911 if you suspect you or someone else is experiencing a heart attack.

Risk Factors for Heart Disease

The key risk factors for heart disease are smoking, high cholesterol and high blood pressure, although there are additional risk factors as well. Health conditions that increase the risk of developing heart disease include:

  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • History of a previous heart attack or stroke
  • Diabetes
  • Being overweight
  • Following a poor diet
  • Physical Inactivity
  • Smoking
  • Using alcohol in excess

Be sure to speak with your doctor about your health conditions to stay on a plan for successful management, and improved heart health. There are several things that you can do to protect yourself from developing heart disease and to enjoy an overall improved level of fitness.

How to Manage Your Heart Health

There is good news when it comes to keeping your heart healthy. There are many things that you can do to improve your heart health, and your overall level of fitness. Heart disease can be prevented by making healthy choices and managing your health conditions.

Some things you can do to protect your heart include:

  • Watch your weight
  • Quit smoking and avoid second-hand smoke
  • Drink alcohol only in moderation
  • Get enough exercise and activity
  • Eat a healthy diet
  • Control your blood pressure and cholesterol

The one thing that you can do that makes the most difference to enhance your quality of life, overall health including heart health, is to quit smoking. You can download a How to Quit Smoking or Smokeless Tobacco Guide from the American Cancer Society for more information, and don’t give up. It’s never too late to quit, stopping today is the first step to improving your health and future.

How You Can Make a Difference

Let’s use February and American Heart Month to raise awareness in our own homes and our communities about what we can do to take care of our hearts for a lifetime of improved health. Encourage family members and friends to make small changes, such as using less salt and more seasonings in cooking or taking the stairs instead of the elevator.

Talk to your children about heart health and speak with their teachers about programs to increase physical activity during the school day. Ask what programs are aimed at instilling good heart healthy habits into the children at an early age.

Together, we can raise awareness on heart disease, how to respond in case of a heart attack emergency, and how to prevent heart disease and related cardiac events.

GWIC encourages you to maintain a heart healthy diet and exercise program, stop smoking and manage your health conditions for a longer, fulfilling life. Contact us for professional and personal, caring service with all your medical imaging needs.

Claustrophobia Does Not Have to Hinder Your MRI Exam

MRI scanning is a vitally important diagnostic tool, allowing physicians to diagnose and treat a whole host of health conditions from a broken bone to dangerous tumors. When a person suffering from claustrophobia needs an MRI, however, it can be challenging to obtain the necessary images, thus hindering the ability to continue with the proper treatment. These concerns must be addressed in order to provide medical treatment to people suffering from claustrophobia.

Claustrophobia is a phobia that is typically characterized by a fear of dark, confined spaces which can occur anytime that someone feels as if they are trapped and cannot get out. According to HealthResearchFunding.org, Claustrophobia affects up to 5% of the general population in the United States, including mild versions of the phobia. Further studies revealed that up to 13% of patients reported having panic attacks during MRI procedures, with approximately 1.22% prematurely terminating the exam due to feelings of claustrophobia.

This is a real issue for patients and medical imaging specialists, leading to new techniques and MRI scanners to assist those with this phobia of confined spaces.

Today, there are MRI options available to patients suffering from claustrophobia with modern equipment that is more open and less constricting. Even faster techniques are available so that patients can still get the diagnostic images they need without having an anxiety attack.

GWIC Offers MRI Equipment with Advanced Technology to Assist Those with Claustrophobia

Greater Waterbury Imaging Centers realizes how important it is that you receive the scan your physician has ordered for your medical care. We also realize how difficult it can be for some patients to remain still for up to twenty minutes or more while in a confined space, without experiencing anxiety.

GWIC utilizes MRI equipment with advanced technology such as the 1.5T Optima 450W MRI scanner which holds patients up to 450 lbs. This open-ended scanner gives patients the opportunity to enter feet first, which is extremely beneficial to those requiring scans of lower extremities such as the foot, leg or knee. Avoiding the usual entry method of head first is a solution for these patients.

Other accommodations offered by GWIC to help those suffering with this phobia include:

  • Well-lit and ventilated scanners that are open on both ends
  • Ear plugs are provided to block out the loud noises caused by MRI equipment which can just annoy or startle some patients and may cause anxiety in others
  • Knowledgeable and experienced MRI technologists that understand your anxiety and communicate with you throughout the test to alleviate your symptoms. You will always know how long the test will take and what you should expect.
  • A call button is provided so that you can alert the technologist to stop the scan if you need a break or further accommodations
  • GWIC offers Propeller technology which uses motion correction to obtain images faster minimizing the need for repeat images
  • Lavender aromatherapy personal tabs are provided to help calm the patient with soothing lavender scent. The adhesive tabs can be placed on the patient’s clothing and emit the scent for up to 8 hours. These have been proven to be very helpful in reducing anxiety and claustrophobia
  • Sleep masks help to calm some patients, especially when used in conjunction with ear plugs some patients feel so calm they almost fall asleep during the exam

If you experience any claustrophobic symptoms or fear that you may have difficulty completing your MRI exam, please speak to our experienced technologists. While we do not provide anesthesia, we often refer patients back to their physician for anti-anxiety medication which can help most patients to complete their exam.  Be encouraged to call us to arrange a visit and tour of our imaging center to set your mind at ease before your exam.

During a six-month period here at GWIC, only 1% of our patients were referred for anti-anxiety treatment to complete their MRI exam, and with over 70% of those patients returning to complete their scans successfully and comfortably. If you have a fear of confined spaces but need medical imaging exams, please do not put off your treatment when there are viable options available.

Our Non-Claustrophobic MRI Scanner has helped alleviate this debilitating phobia and allow these patients to obtain the medical imaging scans they require.

Greater Waterbury Imaging Center employs skilled technologists that care about your comfort, safety and overall health. Feel free to discuss any fears or concerns about your MRI scan with your physician and contact GWIC with any questions you may have about your medical imaging scans.

Prevent Hip Fractures with These Fall Prevention Tips

With winter in full swing in the northeastern area of New England, we must be extra careful to avoid falls when walking on icy, snow covered ground and to watch out for our older friends and relatives to help them avoid a slip and fall. Traveling for the Holidays can present challenges and dangerous situations for the elderly who are already at a risk for falling. Please be aware of anyone in a fall risk category and offer your assistance whenever possible, you just might save a life.

A broken hip is one of the most serious of injuries caused by falling, as it is difficult to recover from a hip fracture making it impossible for some to live on their own. One in five falls results in a severe injury, such as a traumatic head injury or broken bones. Every year more than 300,000 people over the age of 65 are hospitalized for hip fractures, with 95% of all hip fractures caused by falling, usually falling sideways. This number is expected to increase along with the age of the US population.

Risk Factors That Increase Your Chance of Falling

There are several risk factors that increase your chances of falling, and the more risk factors you have the more likely you are to experience a debilitating fall. Anyone over the age of 65 is in a fall risk category, and should speak with their doctor if experiencing any of the following risk factors to receive managed care by a trained physician.

  • Women are more likely to fall and break a hip than men, with women experiencing 75% of all hip fractures. This is because more women have osteoporosis which is a disease that weakens bones making them more susceptible to breaking.
  • Weakness in your lower body increases your chance of falling, as this makes it more difficult to support your body weight when standing or walking.
  • Difficulties with balance or walking present a high-risk factor for falling, this includes people with vertigo or dizziness which must be managed by a trained physician.
  • A Vitamin D Deficiency contributes to a high-risk factor of falling, as Vitamin D helps the body to absorb calcium, and works to slow down bone mineral loss.
  • Vision impairments contribute to the risk of falling, as it may be difficult to see objects laying in the way of your foot path, or to judge the distance when coming up or down steps.
  • Improperly fitting foot wear and foot pain poses a risk for falling. Please be sure that you or your loved one with any risk factor have properly fitting, orthopedic shoes with a non-slip sole.
  • Over the counter and prescription medication use can contribute to one feeling dizzy and unsteady on their feet.
  • Hazards in the home such as throw rugs, clutter or uneven steps pose a fall hazard and should immediately be remedied to prevent a fall.

There are many things that you can do to help improve these risk factors to avoid a catastrophic fall. A hip fracture is often the catalyst to a chain of events leading to debilitation and often-times death in the elderly. Becoming bed-ridden and hospitalized drastically increases your chances of developing pneumonia, which is the most common cause of death following a hip fracture.

Prevent Falls and Reduce Your Odds of Hip Fractures

There are many things we can do to prevent falls and reduce the risk of serious injuries such as hip fractures due to falls.

  • Speak with your physician – talking to your doctor about your risk factors, review any medications that might make you sleepy including over the counter medicine, get screened for osteoporosis and ask about Vitamin D supplements to maintain a healthy level of Vitamin D.
  • Do balance and strengthening exercises – strengthening your lower body with exercises that make your legs stronger is a great way to help prevent falls.
  • Have your eyes checked regularly – Have your eyes examined annually to update any prescription for glasses as your vision can change within a year’s time.
  • Get fitted for properly fitting orthopedic shoes and see a podiatrist for any lingering foot pain or problems.
  • Fall proof your home – remove throw rugs, add grab bars in the bathroom near the tub, shower and toilet, and install railings on both sides of the stairs. Make sure you have bright lighting in your home, and consider using brighter light bulbs.

For more information please visit the National Council on Aging for Fall Prevention tips, news and resources. Be sure use caution when walking outdoors in winter weather or when visiting relatives during the Holidays. Not every home you visit will practice the same fall prevention tips used in your own home, don’t be shy about asking for a cleared path to walk or for help in getting around either outdoors or indoors.

Greater Waterbury Imaging Center cares about your health and safety, and reminds you to talk to your doctor about your fall risk and prevention tips. Remember to use caution in your home and when traveling for any reason. Your safety is our number one concern. Contact us for more information and for all your medical imaging needs.

Learn the Symptoms and How to Prevent Diabetes

November is National Diabetes Month, and with 1 in 10 people diagnosed with diabetes in the United States, chances are you know someone affected by this disease. That’s more than 30 million people in the United States living with diabetes, and another 84 million adults are at an elevated risk for developing type 2 diabetes.

Diabetes is a leading cause of death and disability in the United States, causing kidney disease, nerve damage, blindness and other health problems if it is not well controlled. If you are living with diabetes, there are many things that you can do to control complications, and progression of this disease.

If you are a caregiver to someone with either type 1 or type 2 diabetes, you can play a vital role in helping them to maintain healthy habits for a longer, healthier life.

Type 1 Diabetes Occurs in Children and Adolescents

You may have heard about the two types of diabetes, and wonder exactly what they mean. Type 1 diabetes occurs in children and adolescents, and is rare occurring in only 5% of the people diagnosed with diabetes. Symptoms usually occur before the age of twenty, but can happen at any age.

Symptoms of Type 1 diabetes include:

excessive urination which is how the kidneys attempt to get rid of excess sugar in the blood
excessive thirst which occurs when the body depletes fluids from frequent urination
losing weight without trying which occurs from dehydration and from losing sugar cells in urine rather than the body using them
increased hunger which happens when your body isn’t using all calories available due to flushing them out in urine
extreme fatigue which also occurs from your body not using all available calories
blurry vision which occurs when sugar builds up in the lens of your eye

If you notice these symptoms in your child or adolescent, be sure to see a doctor immediately. There is no way to prevent Type 1 diabetes, but there are many things you can do to control it and prevent serious complications like ketoacidosis.

Ketoacidosis is a life-threatening condition that occurs when cells cannot get sugar for energy due to a lack of insulin. If sugar cannot get into cells, it stays in the blood where the kidneys filter some of it out in urine. When cells do not have sugar for energy, the body starts to break down muscle and fat for energy, causing ketones, or fatty acids, to enter the bloodstream. This imbalance in the bloodstream is called diabetic ketoacidosis, and requires immediate medical attention.

Type 2 Diabetes Typically Occurs Later in Life

Type 2 diabetes typically occurs later in life, although an alarming upwards trend of obesity in children is putting our youth at great risk for developing this preventable disease. People at high risk for diabetes can reduce that risk by more than 50% with healthy changes in diet and exercise.

Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body does not produce enough insulin, or when the body does not respond to the insulin produced, causing a buildup of sugar levels in the blood stream. Like Type 1, the symptoms are similar with increased thirst and urination, tiredness and blurry vision, although many people will have prediabetes and not even know it. In fact, about 86 million people in the US over the age of 20 have prediabetes, which can be diagnosed with different blood tests.

Healthy Habits Help to Prevent Diabetes

If you or a loved one are at risk for diabetes or living with prediabetes, there is time to make healthy changes that can ward off this disease and prevent it from developing into a chronic condition. The most important things that you can do are to eat healthy foods, stay active with exercise and watch your weight.

Be sure to get regular checkups, have your blood pressure and cholesterol checked and talk to your doctor about the risk of diabetes.

Check out this Thanksgiving Day meal plan from the American Diabetes Association for some delicious recipes you can share with your loved one over the holidays.

Your friends at Greater Waterbury Imaging Center care about your health the health of your loved ones. Be sure to stay active, eat a healthy diet and watch your weight to prevent type 2 diabetes, and continue to support your loved ones with healthy habits. Contact us for all your medical imaging needs.

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Breast cancer awareness month

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Breast cancer awareness month gives us all an opportunity to raise awareness to the 2nd most common cancer in women, next only to skin cancer. Chances are you know someone that has been directly affected by this disease as one in eight women in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer. Most of these cases will have a good prognosis and survive if found and treated early.

The majority of breast cancer cases are women, although men can also be diagnosed. According to the CDC, there are approximately 237,000 newly diagnosed cases of breast cancer in women each year, and about 2,100 cases in men. Unfortunately, 41,000 women and 450 men will die each year in the United States from breast cancer. The risk of developing breast cancer increases with age, while the average age that women are diagnosed is 61, and between 60 and 70 years old for men.

Know Your Risk Factors

Just being a female and aging are the two main risk factors for breast cancer, with other risk factors including:

  • Having your menstrual period before age 12
  • Taking oral contraceptives (birth control pills)
  • Starting menopause after the age of 55
  • Taking hormone replacement therapy for more than five years during menopause
  • Breast cancer present in a family member
  • Dense breasts or a personal history of breast cancer
  • History of radiation therapy to the chest or breasts
  • Carrying excess weight, especially post menopause
  • Changes in BRCA1 or BRCA2, breast cancer-related genes

If you have any risk factors along with symptoms, contact your doctor right away to discuss further steps such as screening and diagnostic tests. Some warning signs of breast cancer may include the following symptoms:

  • Newly developed lump in your underarm (armpit) or breast area
  • Irritation, thickening or swelling of the breast
  • Flaky skin, pulling or pain in the nipple area
  • Change in the shape or size of the breast
  • Breast pain or nipple discharge

Use the Breast Cancer Risk Assessment Tool from the National Cancer Institute and the National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project (NSABP) for more information and to estimate a woman’s risk of developing invasive breast cancer.

Screening and Diagnostic Tests

Women should conduct self-breast examinations regularly, feeling for any unusual change or lump in their breast tissue or armpit area. Be sure to talk with your doctor if you notice anything unusual, and follow your doctor’s recommendation for obtaining further diagnostic testing such as a mammogram or MRI.

A mammogram is the first diagnostic tool of choice and uses x-ray imaging of the breast tissue to identify cancerous tissue, or rule out the presence of breast cancer. There may be times, however, that a mammogram does not reveal the images doctors need to see and an MRI may be ordered for additional diagnostic testing.

When is a Breast MRI Recommended?

MRI of the breast may be recommended in specific cases, although this evolving technology does not replace mammograms or self-breast exams. MRI produces hundreds of cross sectioned three-dimensional images with the use of magnets and radio frequency waves, with no exposure to radiation. A contrast agent is usually used to enhance the imaging of any masses or lesions. MRI has been shown to detect small lesions that can be missed with mammography, and is effective to image breast implants and dense breast tissue.

A Breast MRI may be recommended for women in a high risk category for breast cancer, or for further testing due to a recent breast cancer diagnosis. MRI of the breast is also used for guided biopsies, and to evaluate breast implants.

MRI of the breast should be performed in a facility with a specially designed MRI machine specifically for breast imaging and MRI guided biopsies. Greater Waterbury Imaging Center is a medical imaging facility located on the campus of Waterbury Hospital, with the proper equipment for MRI of the breast imaging.

Greater Waterbury Imaging Center is committed to providing a comfortable setting for your exam, quick service and accurate results by experienced radiologists. Contact us today to schedule your next imaging test and to learn more about the Breast MRI.

September is National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month

Childhood Obesity

Sponsored by the American College of Sports Medicine, National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month gives parents, communities and organizations a chance to get involved to help our children live a long, healthy life. Childhood obesity is a growing problem in the United States, with 1 out of every 3 children either overweight or obese. This puts the younger generation at increased risk for diseases that were once prevalent only in adults such as high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and joint problems. Extra weight puts great strain on the joints and can lead to knee injuries at a young age, and cause joint damage later in life.

Teaching children the benefits of maintaining a healthy weight, and how to accomplish that through nutrition and exercise is the best way to prevent childhood obesity.

Prevent Childhood Obesity by Getting Active

The good news is that childhood obesity can be prevented with healthy lifestyle habits. There are many things that you can do to encourage healthy weight in children, which will alleviate a host of health problems later in life. Getting active is a first step to losing weight. Begin with safe exercises such as walking more, playing basketball or going for a bike ride. As recommended by the Center for Disease Control (CDC), Children and adolescents should have at least 60 minutes or more of physical activity each day. Exercises should be age appropriate to avoid injury and provide maximum benefit.

Children do not need the same muscle strengthening exercises as adolescents, as younger children will strengthen muscles by playing on a jungle gym or climbing trees. Adolescents may begin structured weight programs, as are typical in school programs for sports like football, basketball and volleyball. Whichever exercise you choose, it should be enjoyable and fun for kids to learn to stay active for life. Helping kids to enjoy physical activity is one of the greatest gifts we can give our children. Providing the framework for a lifetime of enjoyable activities will help kids to live a life free from serious and preventable diseases.

Types of Recommended Exercise

Exercise should be broken up into three categories; Aerobic, Muscle Strengthening and Bone Strengthening exercises. Aerobic activity should consume the majority of the recommended 60 minutes of activity, and can include brisk walking, or more intense exercises like running and swimming. Vigorous aerobic activity should be a part of your child’s exercise routine at least three times per week.

Muscle strengthening activities include exercises like push-ups or gymnastics, and should be incorporated into a physical fitness routine at least three times per week. Bone strengthening activities include jumping rope, and should also be included at least three times per week. Be sure to offer a variety of activities, limit screen time for children and adolescents, and offer a healthy meal to round out your plan against childhood obesity.

Offer Healthy Food Choices

Making some small changes in your diet can bring about great rewards to your health and longevity. Make half of your plate full of fruits and vegetables for every meal, the more colorful your plate the more likely you will receive recommended minerals, vitamins and fiber to keep your body healthy. Eat whole grains instead of refined grains by switching out white bread for whole wheat bread, and choose products with whole grain ingredients such as brown rice, oatmeal, quinoa and wild rice.

Make sure you have some foods with lean protein in your diet, such as meat, poultry, eggs, nuts and beans. Choose leaner cuts of beef when possible, such as 90% lean or higher. Switch out those sugary drinks for water, if you need some flavor add a slice of lime, lemon, watermelon or a splash of juice. Energy drinks and soda represent a major source of extra calories and sugar intake in the average American diet. The body needs water to replenish cells and to stay hydrated, although most Americans do not drink enough water daily.

By providing a well-balanced and nutritional diet we can do our part to ward off this epidemic in the United States, and help our children live a long and healthy life. Be sure to encourage safe, fun, age appropriate exercise to protect against muscle and joint strain, and introduce a variety of healthy foods to children at an early age.

Greater Waterbury Imaging Center cares about your health, as well as the health and well being of all children. Help the National movement to combat Childhood Obesity by encouraging healthy eating and physical activity to all children beginning at an early age. Contact us for all your medical imaging needs.

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