Is it time to get your varicose veins treated?

Have you been avoiding wearing shorts for years, struggling with compression stockings, or even applying make up to your legs to try to hide varicose veins? If this sounds like you, it’s time to finally get your varicose veins treated!

You are not alone. Millions of Americans suffer from vein disease that are ignoring symptoms and avoiding treatment. It is a common belief that varicose veins are only a cosmetic problem and do not need to be treated. Unfortunately, that is not true. There are several stages of vein disease and if left untreated symptoms will worsen over time.

Stages of Venous Disease

  1. Spider veins- tiny, web-like clusters of veins without symptoms
  2. Varicose veins- bulging, ropy veins that can cause pain, heaviness, itching, and swelling in the legs
  3. Significant swelling/Skin changes- swelling in the lower legs with skin that appears red, purple, brown or shiny. You may notice a loss of leg hair about the ankle or shin area
  4. Skin ulcers- open wounds develop that become difficult to heal, painful, and a spot for bacteria to enter and cause infection

If you only have spider veins, treatment is cosmetic at this point. The treatment is so simple that there is no reason to hold back on wearing shorts! Small injections into the patches of spider veins can clear them. This is called sclerotherapy and is done on Tuesdays and Thursday at our Hamburg office.

If you have bulging varicose veins, it is always better to seek treatment sooner rather than later, but it is also never too late. Treatment should be done to prevent the venous disease from progressing to a more advanced stage. Treatments offered at Southtowns Radiology include ultrasound guided sclerotherapy, radiofrequency ablation , and ambulatory phlebectomy. This may be where you get overwhelmed and stop reading but DON’T! The great news is that all of these treatments are minimally invasive, leave no scars, and allow you to return to normal activity immediately.

There is no reason to put off treating those veins any longer! Schedule a consultation by calling our Hamburg location at 716-649-9000. You will meet with our experienced Physician Assistant, Meghan McNichol, to answer any further questions that you may have.

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.

 

 

Should I Worry About Radiation from Medical Imaging?

It’s perfectly natural to be concerned about how medical treatments will affect your health. After all, we only get one body each, right? For decades, X-ray imaging and other diagnostic tests have been a fundamental part of medicine. While some people believe the radiation from medical imaging might do more harm than good, we’d like to set your mind at ease. Why can you be certain the radiation from routine exams won’t harm you?

Medical imaging – Is it always safe?

It seems like simple, common sense to limit your exposure to anything that could be dangerous to your body. Does medical radiation fall into this category? Generally speaking, the answer is a definitive “no.” Though common medical exams, such as a mammogram or CT scan, do expose you to extra radiation, the doses are much lower than you might think. For example, the dose of radiation received during many tests is roughly equivalent to what you would be exposed to during a cross-country flight. When you consider that an X-ray or mammogram could save your life, the choice is obvious.

Medical imaging’s role in early detection

Though medicine has made some amazing advances in recent decades, cures for our most devastating diseases are still out of reach. By far, our most powerful weapon in the fight against cancer and other common ailments is prevention and early detection. In breast cancer, for instance, the 5-year survival rate for cancers that are discovered late is just 22 percent. In contrast, early detection and treatment make the odds for recovery jump to almost 100 percent! For those at high risk of developing breast cancer, early detection is a literal life-saver.

Low-dose imaging reduces the risk even further

Despite the already low-risk nature of medical imaging, we are always striving to make your experience even better. Today, medical imaging is safer than it has ever been. At Southtowns Radiology, we use the most modern equipment possible to ensure safer imaging for you. No matter what your screening or diagnostic imaging needs may be, you can be sure your health will be in good hands. Our three locations in the Buffalo, NY area provide a wide array of imaging services. Contact us today or schedule an appointment to find out more.

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.

Varicose Veins – What Happens When They Go Untreated?

If you’re one of the millions of people who suffer from varicose veins, you’ve probably considered getting treatment. Though the slightly more common than spider veins, which are generally harmless, varicose veins can sometimes lead to more serious issues in your future. What are some possible complications you should be aware of?

Though not all people with varicose veins experience any uncomfortable side effects, there are a few issues you should be aware of:

  • Pain. Many patients report aching pain, discomfort or restless legs. Sometimes, mild symptoms are managed with compressive stockings that give extra support to your weakened veins. However, increasing pain is often a sign of an underlying problem, so always see your doctor when new symptoms show up.
  • Stiff or discolored skin. The blood that leaks out from weakened veins causes inflammation in the surrounding tissue. This inflammation can cause your skin to darken, a process known as hyperpigmentation. Also, inflamed tissue with soon become stiff and tender, a condition called lipodermatosclerosis.
  • Venous ulcers. Poor circulation can cause tissue in your legs to die. When this happens open areas will form in your skin, leading to progressively deeper ulcers. These venous ulcers can lead to dangerous infections when left untreated.
  • Spontaneous bleeding. Since varicose veins are weak and tend to be close to the skin, even slight scratches can result in severe bleeding. Though many of these injuries are a mild inconvenience, the fact they can catch patients by surprise can lead to significant blood loss.
  • Thrombophlebitis. Damaged veins can lead to severe inflammation. Superficial thrombophlebitis usually results in tenderness and swelling, inflamed, reddened skin, and pain in the affected leg.
  • Deep vein thrombosis. Deep vein thrombosis is a life-threatening emergency. Thrombosis refers to the formation of a clot inside your vein that is blocking the flow of blood. The symptoms include pain, hot skin, redness and swelling. If the clot breaks off, it can travel to the heart, lungs or brain. Patients who do not receive immediate treatment could suffer a fatal heart attack, stroke or pulmonary embolism.

What treatments are available?

Southtowns Radiology offers EVLA (Endovenous Laser Ablation) and Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA) treatment options for the treatment of varicose veins, at our office in Hamburg, NY. EVLA treatment use laser heat energy collapse bulging veins, while RFA relies on radio waves for the same result. Either procedure will take 30-45 minute in our office and require little to no down time. This fast and safe procedure can eliminate varicose veins before they progress to a serious condition. Schedule an appointment today to find out whether EVLA or RFA is best for you, or contact us to learn about the many other services offered at our three locations in the Buffalo, NY region.