Geriatric care: Basics of caring for older individuals

Geriatric medicine is the stream of science that deals with the health care of older adults. Geriatric care demands attention and careful supervision rather than treatments. Aging can also increase the susceptibility to several diseases in older adults. Here we present before you a few tips to provide the best care for the senior citizens.

Educate yourself about the common ailments in seniors

The medical necessities of a human being change with age. The most common medical problems encountered by older adults include memory loss, dementia, heart conditions, and delirium. You have to be aware of the ways to deal with these issues while dealing with senior citizens. The memory-related ailments should be dealt with patience. Also, physical, as well as mental concerns, should be taken care of with proper medical assistance.

Support them in staying active and in socializing

With the help of their doctor or physiotherapist, you can build an exercise routine for your loved one which will help them stay active at least 150 minutes a week. You can also accompany them during their exercises to make sure they never get bored and skips their routine. Apart from regular exercise, you can always take your loved ones for nature walks, which would also help them in socializing. Socialising can make them feel secure emotionally, physically, and mentally. For the same reason, it is very important to encourage them to socialize with society.

Homes should be senior-friendly

You have to make sure the place your loved one stays in is safe and is accessible. From installing bars or railings in bathrooms to making non-slippery floors/ stairs, extra care must be put into the living space of an older adult. You can note down the requirements of your loved one and talk with an architect to adopt those ideas to implement senior-friendly amenities in their living space.

Helping them in daily chores

Older people might find certain chores difficult. But most of the time they might be also hesitant to ask for help. However, they might expect us to understand their needs and act accordingly. You can always talk to them and offer help on things they find difficult to do. Buying grocery for them or driving them to hospitals for regular check-ups etc. can give them a feeling of reassurance.

Age demands respect

It is our responsibility to give the respect they deserve. Keeping their dignity intact is the best act of care to provide them during their senior days. Many of them may have gone through things we can only imagine and respecting their experiences and age will be the foremost thing they expect from us.

Above are a few tips to make the lives of your loved ones happier and more peaceful. Along with all this, it is also important to seek immediate medical assistance in case of any emergencies, rather than going with home remedies.

What is a TMT test?

Treadmill test (TMT) is a form of exercise test where a stress test is performed while the person is exercising on a treadmill during the course of an Electro Cardiogram (ECG). The purpose of a TMT is majorly to compare blood circulation in the heart when the person is resting and when under optimum physical pressure. Abnormal heart rhythms can be detected while exercising and therefore diagnose the presence or absence of coronary artery diseases.

The test involves walking on a treadmill while the electrical activity of the heart is being monitored. The speed and incline of the treadmill are increased throughout the span of the test. The result shows how well the heart responds to the stress of different levels of exercise. The blood pressure, heart rate and electrocardiogram (ECG) are monitored before, during and after the test. Adhesive electrodes and mild abrasion are used to ensure good quality ECG. The person is advised to walk as long as possible because the test is effort-dependent.  It is also important for the person to tell the technologist if he experiences symptoms such as chest pain, dizziness and unusual shortness of breath or extreme fatigue. The blood pressure, heart rate, and ECG are monitored for 3 to 5 minutes after the exercise. The data is reviewed by a cardiologist.

The patient is advised against eating or drinking anything other than water for nearly 4 hours before the test. If the patient is diabetic, he should consult the doctor on the quantity of insulin that can be injected on the day of the test. If the person is under medicine for diabetes he should only resume taking them only after the test has been administered. Comfortable clothes and shoes should be worn for the test.

A TMT is performed to identify a congenital heart problem like Coronary Artery Disease (CAD) where coronary arteries get clogged, diseased or damaged. It is also used to determine the condition of the heart after a person went through angioplasty or heart-attack. Shallow breathing, dizziness, chest discomfort, and abrupt bodily weakness are some of the repressed conditions that can be detected through a TMT. A TMT can also be used to monitor the effectiveness of medicines on angina and ischemia.  It also helps in discerning any abnormal heartbeat rate because of exertion caused by exercise.

TMT is now widely available at a relatively low cost. It is used to estimate prognosis and determine functional capacity. It helps in assessing the probability and extent of coronary disease.

Hygiene Check

Hygiene Check: How often should you clean, replace certain household items like bedding, toothbrushes, pillows, towels

Your home is where you eat, sleep and spend a lot of your time in. But how hygienic is your home environment? Do you take the time out to clean and replace household items or do you lay back and let filth collect in your home? A sweep and a mop are not enough to do away with household dust and the growth of bacteria.

Here is a handy list of everyday household items that you should be cleaning and changing at regular intervals:

1. Pillows

While you might be washing your pillowcases from time to time, the pillow is not given as much importance. When left unwashed, your pillow collects dust mites, bugs, dead skin and a significant amount of fungi as well. To avoid this, just toss the pillows into the washing machine once every three months and remember to replace them every one or two years.

2. Bedsheets

We spend an average of 7-10 hours a day in bed, at which point our sweat, body oils, saliva, sexual fluids and much more accumulate on the bedsheets. It makes for the perfect breeding ground for dust mites, which can cause problems for those with respiratory issues. Bedsheets need to be washed on a weekly basis and thrown away after 2-3 years of its use.

3. Mattresses

If your bedsheets are not cleaned at regular intervals, your mattress will face the wrath of it. All the dirt that gets accumulated on the bedsheets will find its way to your mattress. Bed bugs are common critters often found breeding in mattresses are old and left uncleaned for long periods. For this reason, it is important to get your mattress cleaned at least once or twice a year and ditch it every eight years. A new mattress will give you better sleep as well.

4. Bathroom towels

It is important to wash your towels after every three of four uses. It may seem that a towel should be able to go longer without a wash since it is only used against our clean bodies. However, these towels are often left damp and warm allowing germs and bacteria to grow on them. Don’t forget to replace the towel every three to four years as they will lose their ability to absorb water making it easier for bacteria to grow.

5. Toothbrush

Unless you are looking forward to cavities, bad breath, and gum disease, your toothbrush needs to be replaced at least every 3 months. Do not wait around for your toothbrush looks like you need a new one. A splayed out toothbrush could harm your teeth while brushing causing tiny abrasions where bacteria can grow from. When it comes to a toothbrush, it is important to purchase one of good qualities.

6. Hairbrush

If you think about the times you have combed your hair with the same brush, it should be enough reason for you to clean your brush regularly. You can blame your greasy hair and dandruff on the unclean hairbrush that has collected all the sweat and dead skin cells from your scalp. At least once a week, clean your brush using hot soapy water and remove all hair caught in it. Dispose of it when the bristles begin to give out, preferably once every year.

While every household item has its own timeline for cleaning and replacing, the timelines get altered when you fall ill. If you’ve been sick for a few days, it is best to get it all cleaned from bedsheets to towels.

Tinnitus: Why are my ears ringing?

Tinnitus is usually a noise that a person hears consciously. The sound does not come from any source outside the body. Tinnitus is not a disease but a symptom of an underlying problem. The most common form is a high-pitched ringing in the ears. Other forms of sounds are also heard such as ringing, buzzing, roaring, clicking, hissing and humming. The sound may vary from a low roar to a high squeal. Sometimes the sound is so loud that it interferes with one’s ability to hear properly or concentrate. Tinnitus can be perpetual or intermittent. There are two kinds of tinnitus, subjective and objective. Subjective tinnitus includes sound in the ears that only the affected person can hear. It is caused by problems in the inner, middle or outer ear. It might also be caused by complications in the auditory nerves and auditory pathways. In very few cases the sound is objective which means other people can also hear the sound, especially a doctor when examining a patient. This type of noise is caused by cardiovascular or musculoskeletal movements or because of a middle-ear bone condition. Objective tinnitus is of a more serious nature.

Symptoms of tinnitus include non-auditory, internal, intermittent or continuous low or high-pitched sounds in one or both ears. It is advised to consult a doctor when tinnitus develops after an upper respiratory infection such as cold and it does not improve within a week. One should also consult the doctor if there are hearing loss and dizziness.

There are a number of causes behind tinnitus. Age-related hearing loss, exposure to loud noise, earwax blockage and ear-bone changes are some of the causes. Some of the less common causes of tinnitus include Meniere’s disease, TMJ disorders, head or neck injuries, Acoustic neuroma, Eustachian tube dysfunction and muscle spasms in the inner ear.

Fatigues, stress, insomnia, depression, anxiety, lack of concentration and memory problems are some of the complications that arise from tinnitus.

In most of the conditions, tinnitus arises from something that cannot be prevented. However, some precautionary measures can be undertaken to prevent certain kinds of tinnitus. As long exposure to loud noises can lead to hampered hearing, using hearing protection and turning down loud volumes can prevent tinnitus. Regular exercise, eating right and developing other healthy habits to keep steady cardio-vascular health can also prevent tinnitus.

Mental Health: Multiple Personality Disorder

Multiple Personality Disorder (now Dissociative Identity Disorder) was first discovered by Dr. Jean Martin Charcot in the late 1880s. He was the chief physician at Salpetriere Hospital in Paris. He called this new disease Hystero-Epilepsy as the symptoms resembled two already discovered illnesses, Hysteria and Epilepsy. Ever since it was discovered, people have been fascinated with the illness which later came to be known as Multiple Personality Disorder.

The DSM-5 (Diagnostic and Statistic Manual) defines Dissociative Identity Disorder (Multiple Personality Disorder) as a disruption of identity characterized by two or more distinct personality states or an experience of possession. Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) is considered as a severe form of dissociation in which an individual’s mental process produces a lack of connection in a person’s thoughts, memories, feelings, actions or sense of identity. There are various causes of DID. It may be trauma experienced by the person early in life. The dissociative aspect is considered to be a coping mechanism against adverse situations. Psychological response to interpersonal and environmental stresses, particularly during early childhood years often leads to DID. Emotional neglect and abuse in the early years interfere with personality development. Dissociation can happen even if there is no overt physical or sexual abuse. 99% of individuals who develop dissociation have personal histories of recurring, overpowering or life-threatening traumas or disturbances. Studies show that DID affects about 1% of the population.

The disease is associated with overwhelming experiences, traumatic events or abuse that occurred during childhood. Some of the criteria for the diagnosis include the existence of two or more distinct identities (or “personality states”). The distinct identities are accompanied by changes in behavior, memory, and thinking. The signs and symptoms may be observed by others or reported by the individual. The second trait is ongoing gaps in memory about everyday events, personal information and/or past traumatic events. The final symptom includes significant distress or problems in social, occupational or other areas of functioning.

There are sudden shifts in attitudes and personal preferences as DID is characterized by the presence of two or more distinct personality states or split identities. Patients often cannot recall key personal information. There are also fluctuating memory variations. Not everyone who suffers from DID experience the same symptoms or personality changes. For some, the “alters” are of the same age, sex and race. Each has his own postures, gestures and their own way of talking. It becomes highly confusing as the observers will see the same person behaving, talking and walking in different manners as each personality reveals itself and controls the individual’s behaviors and thoughts. This process of revealing is known as “switching”. Switching can take seconds, minutes or days. Some seek the help of hypnosis where the person’s different “alters” or identities may become responsive to the therapist’s questions. Other symptoms of Dissociative Identity Disorder are headache, amnesia, time loss, trances, and “out-of-body” experiences. Patients with DID have a tendency toward self-persecution, self-sabotage, and violence, both self-inflicted and directed towards others. There is usually a “host” personality who identifies with the person’s real name. The “host” personality, however, is often unaware of the presence of other personalities. The four main effects of DID are depersonalization, derealization, amnesia and identity confusion or identity alteration. Some other psychiatric disorders that might occur with DID are depression, mood swings, suicidal tendencies, sleep disorders, anxieties, panic attacks and phobias, alcohol and drug abuse, compulsions and rituals, hallucinations and eating disorders.

Psychotherapy, hypnotherapy and adjunctive therapy may help patients with DID. Psychotherapy is also known as talk therapy. It is designed to work through whatever triggers the DID. The goal of psychotherapy is to fuse the different personalities into one. Clinical hypnosis can also be used to bring repressed memories to the front and work on them. Art therapies or movement therapies often help people to cope and connect with the parts of their minds that they have shut off to cope with trauma. This type of therapy is known as adjunctive therapy. However, there is no established medication treatment for DID.

Reference

  1. https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/dissociative-identity-disorder-multiple-personality-disorder#4
  2. https://www.psycom.net/mchugh.html
  3. https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/dissociative-disorders/what-are-dissociative-disorders

Knee replacement: How does it work?

Knee arthroplasty also known as knee replacement resurfaces a knee with the help of a surgical procedure that has been damaged by arthritis. Various types of arthritis can affect the knee joint. Osteoarthritis is one of the common occurrences. It is a degenerative joint disease that mostly affects middle-aged and older adults. It causes the breakdown of the joint cartilage and the adjacent bones in the knees. Pain and stiffness can also arise from rheumatoid arthritis which causes inflammation of the synovial membrane and results in excessive synovial fluid. It can also result from traumatic arthritis which is a type of arthritis that arises from injury and causes damage to the cartilage.

Some of the medical treatments for degenerative joint diseases are anti-inflammatory medication, glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate, pain medications, limiting painful activities, assistive devices for walking, physical therapy, cortisone injections, and weight loss. Sometimes medical treatments are not satisfactory. In such cases, knee replacements prove to be a better option.

In a knee replacement surgery, the damaged knee joint is replaced with a man-made artificial joint called a prosthesis. Damaged bone and cartilage are removed from the knee joint and then the artificial pieces are placed in the knee. These pieces can be placed in the lower end of the thigh bone. This bone is called the femur and the replacement part is usually made of metal. The pieces can also be put in the upper end of the shin bone. This bone is called the tibia. The replacement parts are usually made of metal and strong plastic. The final part where the pieces can be fitted is the backside of the kneecap. It is called the patella. Here the replacement part is usually made from strong plastic.

During the surgery, there are two types of anesthesia that are used, general anesthesia which puts the patient into asleep and the individual cannot feel pain, or regional (spinal or epidural) anesthesia which makes the patient go numb below the waist. It is usually combined with medicine for sleep. After the anesthesia takes effect, the surgeon makes a cut above the knee which is about 8 to 10 inches. The first step involves removing the kneecap. Then he cuts the thigh bone and the shin bone to fit the replacement part. The underside of the kneecap is then cut to prepare it for new pieces that will be attached there. The two parts of the prosthesis are then attached to the bone. One part is attached to the thigh bone and the other part is attached to the shin bone. Bone cement or screws are used to attach the prosthesis to the bones. Special bone cement is then used to attach the underside of the kneecap. The muscles and tendons surrounding the knee joint are them repaired and the surgical cut is closed. A knee replacement surgery takes about 2 hours.

Once the patient is home, there are certain precautions that should be taken. Following the bathing instructions of the doctor, keeping the leg elevated, applying ice when necessary, taking pain relievers as recommended by the doctor, notifying the doctor immediately if the patient is experiencing fever, redness, swelling, bleeding or other drainages from the incision or increased pain around the incision site are some of them. One should also avoid driving and falling. Sometimes it is advised to use assistive devices while walking.

The results of total knee replacement surgery are often excellent. The operation relieves pain for most people. Most artificial knee joints last from 10 to 15 years. Some last as long as 20 years before it loosens and needs to be replaced. Therefore it is important to have the surgery at the correct time because often the results of the second surgery for replacing the old prosthesis are not satisfactory.

Reference

  1. https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/treatment-tests-and-therapies/knee-replacement-surgery-procedure
  2. https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/002974.htm

For ages women have been excluded from many aspects of socio

Painful menstrual cycles shouldn’t be the norm

For ages, women have been excluded from many aspects of socio-cultural life because of the taboos and myths that surround menstruation. It affects women’s emotional state, lifestyle mental health, and physical health. The exclusion of women from the “man’s world” stems from the myths and stigma attached to menstruation. Often a woman’s potential and capability is doubted because she bleeds. Whether it is running for political office or being taken seriously at home, women always have “crazy times” or “that time of the month” stamp they have to deal with.

A lot of women complain about having mood swings, severe cramps and it could be physically debilitating for many women. They take days off from work, but the truth of the matter is that periods are a very natural function of the female reproductive system.

 The challenge of addressing the socio-cultural taboos and beliefs in menstruation is compounded by limited knowledge and understanding of puberty, menstruation and reproductive health. In India the mere mention of the word is a taboo, this social belief appears to be a hurdle in the advancement of knowledge on the subject.  As members of modern, developing society everyone should fight against the misconstrued reality and bitter truths that surrounds menstruating women.

 Painful periods have been highly normalized in the past years. Women experience cramps in their lower abdomen and back, ranging from mild throbs to severe aches. The reason for period pain is prostaglandins, chemicals that uterus’ tissue lining produce to help the uterus contract during the menstruation cycle. Varying levels of prostaglandin production in the body determines the intensity of the pain. However, sometimes these painful menstruations can be a symptom of endometriosis. Lack of medical attention in these cases can lead to serious health risks in women. 1 in 10 women is affected by endometriosis during their reproductive years and has been estimated to affect 200 million women across the globe. This primarily happens because of the lack of awareness about it.

Dysmenorrhea is often mistaken as a regular side-effect of menstruation. Women usually take pain-killers to relieve themselves of the pain. Women often don’t realize the severity of the situation until it is too late. Therefore it is very important for women and health professionals to build open communication platforms and improve awareness around painful menstrual cramps. The taboo of being the silent and non-addressable state of menstruation is one of the main reasons why women themselves are not aware of painful period cramps. Therefore it is dismissed as a normal occurrence.

According to the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom and justice. People talk about equality and fairness, yet something as natural as menstruation is kept under a veil. This secrecy violets the dignity and respect of women and hurts their identity, self-worth, and self-esteem. Menstruation is a normal physiological process, and in order to progress and combat the problems associated with it, it should be treated as such.

Sugar Epidemic: Why should we cut down on sugar?

Sugar Epidemic: Why should we cut down on sugar?

There is a tremendous rise in the consumption of added sugar in recent years. In this fast-paced world, people do not have time to sit back and pay attention to their health. Common go-to foods like low-fat yogurt, barbeque sauce, ketchup, fruit juice, chocolate milk, granola, coffee, iced tea, protein bars, cereal bars, canned food, breakfast cereal, etc. have added sugar in them. Most of these foods are easily available and are referred to as quick-bites. People with busy schedules are inclined towards them. High consumption of sugar affects the brain, teeth, joints, kidneys, skin, liver and heart. Experts believe that it is the main cause of obesity and type 2 diabetes. Sugar is also an addictive substance. It might create substance dependency in an individual which would result in craving of sugar at any time, especially during times of emotional stress. Often, foods that are marketed with ‘zero sugar’, ‘zero-calorie’ or ‘low-fat’ labels contain more hidden sugars than normal food.

Excess consumption of sugar secrets a huge surge of dopamine in the brain which is a feel-good hormone. Since dopamine gives a feeling of pleasure and goodness, people tend to crave more sugar to experience it again. Sugar also gives a quick burst of energy by raising blood sugar levels. However, when the level drops, people experience a “sugar crash” where a person may feel jittery and anxious. Added sugars are mostly found in candies, doughnuts, and other sweet treats.

The lingering sugar in the teeth from these treats often causes bacterial growth and cavity. Eating lots of sugar causes inflammation in the body that worsens joint pain. Too much sugar in the diet increases the rate of developing rheumatoid arthritis.

 Another effect of inflammation is that it makes the skin age faster. Excess sugar attaches to proteins in the bloodstream and creates harmful molecules called Advanced Glycation End-products (AGEs). These molecules make the skin age faster. They damage the collagen and elastin in the skin; they are protein fibers that keep the skin firm and youthful.

Excess sugar causes Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) which is excess fat build-up in the liver. Non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) is also caused by excess sugar consumption. It is fatty liver inflammation and steatosis which means scarring of the liver. Scarring cuts off the blood supply to the liver. In many cases, this escalates into cirrhosis and would require a transplant.

Extra sugar also increases the secretion of insulin in the bloodstream which might affect the arteries all over the body. The walls get thicker, inflamed and stiff. This causes stress in the heart and damages it over time. Sugar increases the rate of heart diseases, heart attacks, and heart failures. Research shows that people who get 25% of their calories from sugar consumption are twice as likely to die of heart disease.

The pancreas is also affected because of the high intake of sugar, which causes type two diabetes in an individual. Kidneys and body weight are also affected because of high sugar consumption. Chronically high levels of sugar in the bloodstream can make men impotent.

There are a lot of ways to cut down on sugar. Many breakfast cereals are high in sugar. Switching to plain porridge and whole wheat cereal biscuits may prove beneficial. Many foods that taste sweet are surprisingly high in sugar. Ready-made soups, stir-in sauces and ready meals can also be high on sugar. Condiments and sauces such as ketchup may have as much as 23g of sugar in a 100g. In snacks, fruits, unsalted nuts, unsalted rice cakes, oatcakes or homemade plain popcorn are good options when it comes to avoiding sugar. In drinks, fizzy drinks, sweetened juices, squashes, and cordials should be avoided. When it comes to desserts, there should be rules that should be followed. Less sugary desserts include fruits, fresh or frozen, dried or tinned.

Cutting down on sugar in one’s diet promotes a diet balanced and a healthy life. It decreases the rate of susceptibility to diseases.

support system

Support systems, an integral part of recovery from ailments

Providing support to people suffering from illness is a delicate job. It requires patience and empathy. Strong support gives patients a way to process their emotions. The layers of support that are created around the patient should be able to help them to cope with the physical as well as the mental adversities. These support systems can come in many forms like family, faith-based community, neighborhood or support groups. But the most important thing that should be provided to an ailing individual is hope. It is very difficult for people to go on with their pace or strength of belief and endurance after being diagnosed with a life-threatening disease. Most of the time, it takes a toll on mental health even before the ailment presents itself physically.  Support systems and caregivers can provide logistic help as well. Apart from emotional support, caregivers can help family and friends of the patient with practical issues like taking them to appointments and also being present there for help. It is often seen that when one is diagnosed with an ailment, which is serious and incurable, it often leads to disruption of life, work, and relationships.

Having a good support system makes sure that there are people to listen to and depend on. Peer support is one of the most sought after support groups as it consists of people who have gone through similar conditions and hence can help a newly diagnosed person with their inspiring experiences and situations. Patients with a good social support system tend to have better outcomes. People who care for their loved ones or any member of a support group often experience burn out. Therefore it is incredibly important for members of support groups to know how much of themselves they can give. It is important for them to sometimes take a step back and analyze whether the needs of the patient are actually being met or not.

Illness for each individual is a unique experience that they respond to differently. Hence it is important to listen to an individual’s personal choice when taking care of them. Patients react with anxiety, sadness, fear, anger and sometimes also with a façade of nonchalance. Sometimes patients need support and other times they need to be left alone. Therefore their choices must always be understood and respected. Sometimes it’s very difficult for the caregiver to resonate with a terminally ill patient and hence it becomes difficult to help them. In these cases, support groups within the community can help a lot. Support systems can provide help with referral visits and transition to a hospital, follow-ups, making sure the discharge list focuses on action and not just history, communicating patient’s needs and preferences, identifying problems and intervening to solve them.

An excellent support system can be built if the patient can be convinced to talk to their family and friends and talk about the diagnosis, asking for help and reaching out and connecting with fellow patients and caregivers.

A good support system is needed when it comes to taking care of ailments. Friends and family are always willing to help but they often do not know what to do or how to act. In the midst of a support group, a patient is very likely to find answers and people who can empathize.

What is an MRI ?

What is an MRI - Uses, application, history, relevance in medical science

A Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) uses a strong magnetic field and radio waves to create a detailed image of the organs and tissues within the body. The development of MRI has revolutionized the field of medicine. MRI is a non-invasive and painless procedure. A giant circular magnet surrounds the MRI scanner tube. The magnet creates a strong magnetic field that aligns the protons of hydrogen atoms, which are then exposed to a beam of radio waves. The various protons of the body start spinning because of this and produce a faint signal that is detected by the receiver portion of the MRI scanner. The received information is then processed by a computer to produce an image.

The development of the MRI scanner includes the work of many researchers that contributed towards the discovery of nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR). The early research on the physics of magnetic resonance imaging started in the early 20th century. MR imaging was invented by Paul C. Lauterbur. He developed a mechanism to encode spatial information into an NMR signal using magnetic field gradients in September 1917. In the late 1970s and 1980s Peter Mansfield further refined the techniques used in MR image acquisition and processing.

MRI scanning is used to evaluate organs of the chest and abdomen including heart, liver, biliary tract, kidneys, spleen, pancreas, and adrenal glands, pelvic organs including the bladder and the reproductive organs such as the uterus and ovaries in females and the prostate glands in the males. MR angiography can also be done to detect abnormalities in the blood vessels with the help of an MRI scanner. Conditions such as tumors, cirrhosis, abnormalities of the bile ducts and pancreas, Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, heart problems and congenital heart problems, a fetus can be examined to diagnose or monitor treatment. Anomalies of the brain, joints, back knees, and spinal cord, breast cancer, fibroids and endometriosis, uterine problems and infertility in women can also be accurately diagnosed with the help of an MRI scan.

Some of the side-effects of MRI are headaches, nausea, pain or burning at the point of injection that arises from the contrast dye. Allergy to the contrast is also seen in a few people that can cause hives and itchiness. Claustrophobia may also be experienced by people who are uncomfortable in closed spaces.

MRI technology is always expanding in scope and use. Scientists are developing newer MRI scanners that are smaller, portable devices. They can be useful for detecting infections and tumors of the soft tissues of the hands, feet, elbows and knees. These new applications of MRI scanners are being medically tested.