Imaging technology is vital to the detection, monitoring, and treatment of potentially life-threatening conditions and diseases. In fact, advanced medical imaging techniques have been attributed to increasing life expectancy. It can pinpoint heart disease, cancer, and diabetes at their earliest stages and isn't just safe but non-invasive. It plays a crucial role in keeping patients up to date on their health. Therefore, the importance of medical imaging can't be understated. Imaging has evolved through the years and why it's become a crucial tool in the early detection and treatment of disease.
The Evolution of Medical Imaging
Imaging technology is surprisingly modern. Its popularity stemmed from the invention of the X-ray in 1896. Other technologies were soon to follow, each with unique purposes.
The effects that this machinery made on health care were phenomenal. It allowed doctors to detect conditions and diseases early on, at the stage when they are most treatable. This drastically improved conditions for the affected patients, whose likelihood of surviving skyrocketed.
Today, technology continues to advance. The images produced by these machines are regularly improving in accuracy and quality. Critical components, such as transducers or probes, have become simpler to use and, for patients, much more comfortable.
Why It's Beneficial
Imaging technology makes it easier to detect, monitor, and treat some of the deadliest conditions, including cancer and heart disease. It removes the need for patients to undergo risky, invasive procedures and general anesthesia, making the detection of these diseases safe, non-invasive, and simple.
Individuals can go in for a screening and return to their normal, everyday activities shortly after the procedure. They will not require significant aftercare and, apart from guided biopsies, shouldn't need to heal from any cuts or incisions. The shorter recovery times and out-patient procedures reduce costs for the patients, making the technology efficient and relatively inexpensive.
The largest benefit of imaging technology is its efficiency, as stated earlier. It allows doctors to detect tumors as small as a grain of rice. The importance of medical imaging is evident in how it's improved the survival rate of serious diseases.
Since the advent of technology, like ultrasounds, MRIs, and the CT scan, the mortality rate of certain cancers has decreased significantly—in some cases, even up to 30 percent.
It can detect less deadly diseases, too. MRI, PET, and CT scans can aid in the diagnosis and prognosis of diabetes, Alzheimer's, and dementia. There's no known cure for these conditions, though early detection can lead to the early implementation of medication and management strategies.
For example, an MRI can detect brain abnormalities that are associated with mild cognitive impairment (MCI). It then can help predict which patients with MCI may ultimately develop Alzheimer's disease.
Imaging has played a huge role in researchers' study of Alzheimer's disease, helping scientists understand and potentially be able to treat the condition in the future.
Medical imaging's ability to detect and diagnose diseases and conditions commonly found in older individuals makes it a crucial tool in improving the quality and effectiveness of long-term care. It can reduce the effects of painful, debilitating symptoms and help doctors extend a patient's lifespan.
About the Author
Mallory Knee is a freelance writer for multiple online publications where she can showcase her affinity for all things beauty and fashion. She particularly enjoys writing for communities of passionate women who come together for a shared interest and empower one another in the process. In her free time, you can find Mallory trying a fun new dinner recipe, practicing calligraphy, or hanging out with her family.
Contributor since September 25th, 2020
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