Many of my female followers have probably already had a pelvic ultrasound (US), this week I had another one. I thought it would be a good idea to introduce/refresh about this test. It had been years since my last, in my case this was done to follow a medical condition. If you have ever had a pregnancy, you are familiar with this safe (no radiation exposure) and painless procedure. This simple investigative tool is used to exam other parts of the body, including the heart, blood vessels, liver to name a few
How It works: sound waves are bounced off our internal organs – ‘pelvic US’ – ovaries, uterus and bladder – showing not only shape, size but how blood flows to the organs. No menstrual flow can be occurring for this test.
Actual Test: There is no restriction to eating or drinking but you are told to drink at least two 8 oz glasses of water one hour before test. You must hold your urine, no bathroom stop on way into the sonographer’s room. The full bladder moves female organs into view and provides a solid contrast image.
A clear warm gel will be applied to your abdomen, then a slight pressure as the ‘transducer’ (a microphone like small long device) as is applied to your abdomen especially the lower.
Dependent on why the test was ordered the transducer may be covered with a plastic sleeve and placed 2″ – 3″ into your vagina during the exam. As you can reason this offers a view, a different angle that can assist in making or identifying a problem.
Typical time for this study is about 30 minutes, mine took 22 minutes and included the vaginal viewing.
FYI: Sonography technicians train for 16 – 20 months and are supervised by the radiologists (medical imaging physician). There are many training programs but not all however accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Allied Health Education Programs. There are many certifying organizations; those that pass the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography can use RDMS after their name. Several states require licensure after completion of an examination. There are over 50,000 in the US (Bureau of Labor Statistics). As always whenever someone is involved with your well-being speak up if you feel any aspect of your exam is not ‘right’!
A painless quick PAP test (named after the human papillomavirus-HPV) can detect abnormal tissue, HPV infection that can lead to cervical cancer. High risks for developing abnormal cervical tissue or cervical cancer include: intercourse at an early age, multiple partners, history of the sexually transmitted diseases (STD)- genital warts (caused by HPV virus) or herpes, HIV injection or immune deficiency (ex. transplant recipient). Also smoking has been associated wither casual or directly with abnormal cervical tissue. As always you need to be totally honest with your health care provider most especially as regards your sexual history.
Generally speaking women age 21 – 29 should have a Pap test every 3 years, thereafter till age 65 every 5 years. After age 65 you can stop having a Pap test!
As in too many medical procedural tests a false positive or false-negative are possible. To decrease odds follow these simple steps: no douching, use vaginal medication, spermicide or lubrication for 3 days before the test.
If your report reveals abnormalities ask for details the specifics and the significance. Cell abnormalities can be from the outer or the inner cervix or they can contain changes of ‘low or ‘high’ grade signifying “precancer” or the test result might show cancer cells. It might not be a simple positive or negative.
It is well-known many cancers are caused by radiation exposure, even the sun radiation cause skin cancer the #1 cancer in the US. Medical radiation exposure is your responsibility! Every wonder what happens to all the radiation you receive when you have ‘medical imaging’ tests for such things as broken bones, stomach pains, headache, heart disease? Sadly it accumulates in your body! If you want to calculate how much you have in your body, check out the website calculator by The American Society of Radiologic Technologists – it is user-friendly.
Some tests expose you to small amounts others too much more. Radiation, harmful rays of ionizing energy, cause not just skin cancer but blood and other cancers result from our bodies being dosed. Before you have another test read this useful patient info.
Before you agree to exposure to these harmful rays ask “what difference the results would make in your care’.
DocHandal tries to bring you the latest research findings that docs like herself read and use. This blog hopes to share some and guide you to reading more, after all it is your body guys!
American Heart Association Guide for Improving Cardiovascular Health at the Community Level, 2013 Update* This study looked at 26,902 men, ages 45 to 82, free from cardiovascular disease and cancer at the start of a 16-year study. Researchers found those who skip breakfast or eat late at night could be at increased risk of developing coronary heart disease. Specifically for this study male health professionals were used. They freely admitted they regularly skipped breakfast, and were found 27% more likely to die while those who ate late at night had a 55% increase in cardiac death.
Important to note it did not appear to matter how frequently they ate a day.
REsearchers caution that, these associations appeared to be mediated by BMI (body mass index), development of hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, and diabetes over the years of the study.
A must read (quick) is the current guidelines by USDA and DHHS for diet.
FDA just (August 9th) approved the first rapid finger stick Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) test that not only reveals if you have antibodies to HIV -1 or 2 but if you only have the virus (i.e. you have the antigen p-24)! In this 20 minute test the presence of the virus can be found 12-26 days after exposure. Prior to this 4th generation test one would have to wait till your body made antibodies – anywhere from 20-45 days after exposure. Note: this test however does not distinguish between antibodies to HIV-1 vs. HIV-2.
Now health care professionals have a quick tool that can independently distinguishes in a single test HIV antigen from HIV antibodies. Early infections yield antigen positive while only when the body starts fighting do HIV antibody develop.
Why this is a ‘big deal’ is you could be walking around undiagnosed spreading HIV infection because your body has not made antibodies. NOW infection can be recognized, treatment, and prevent spreading HIV infeon. At this writing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that in US each year approximately 50,000 people are infected with HIV. Of the more than 1 million people living with HIV, approximately 20% have not been diagnosed.
BACKGROUND: Being injected with the HIV virus can lead to Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, or AIDS. This virus damages your body’s immune (defense) system – by destroying CD4+ T blood cells which are key to fighting diseases. At present there are two types of the virus- HIV-1 and HIV-2. HIV-1 is worldwide while to date HIV-2 is mostly in West Africa, although increasingly HIV-2 is being reported cases in Europe and North America.
Check this site for those hospitals in your area deemed centers meeting the AHA standards for treatment of heart problems including failure, AFib (an arrhythmia) and resuscitation as well as stroke. ‘The American Heart Association and American Stroke Association recognize the hospitals for their success in using Get With The Guidelines to improve quality of care for heart disease and stroke patients. This list is current as of May 15, 2013. It is updated monthly’.
‘Continuous quality improvement’ so end result is measurable patient health. The AHA program sets guidelines for medical personnel, offer clinical tools provides mechanism for reporting tracking and patient management tools. Workshops and webinairs for staff and patient education materials for outreach programs are also available.
Half of the 3.2 billon Rxs dispensed annually are not taken as prescribed.
Are you surprised by this fact?
Man is different for other “animals” due to our ability to rationalize-defined as ‘attempt to explain or justify (one’s own or another’s behavior or attitude) with logical, plausible reasons, even if these are not true or appropriate’.
So why is the above statistic not surprising? My take-here goes:
“I’ll save the remainder for next time I’ve the same thing.”
“Feel better so really do not need the ‘over kill.”
“I’ll save and use for others when the get the same thing or catch ‘what I got.”
FIND OUT! When handed a prescription (chemicals to put into your body for ‘good’) ask do I really need this? Ask under what circumstances, if any, can I stop before finishing all the pills? Some many viral infections resolve wither or not on antibiotics.
Trauma to our skin is all too common, cuts or wounds as we Docs call them need attention. This may simply mean cleaning, protecting but at other times repair with a needle and thread is required. Those that are deep or at angles need sutures-stitches! Sutures are the handiwork that result from ‘stitching’ our skin together. Skip the needed stitches and run the risk of infection &/or horrific scaring. Let the expert DocHandal give you the inside ‘skinny’ on this minor surgical procedure.
Benefits of routine screening for several conditions are being reevaluated, less is becoming the new “more’. Just like the PSA blood test Doc addresses in April 1st podcast, the Pap smear is no longer going to be recommended yearly. New guidelines state most women should wait until 21 and get tested every 3 years if it is normal. However women ages 30-65 who test negative for both HPV test & Pap smear can wait 5 years. Listen Up to Doc for more about the changes and how they will effect you, your mother, daughter.