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Don’t Put Off Your MRI Because Of COVID-19

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When the coronavirus first appeared earlier this year, the general consensus among medical professionals was for patients to delay or postpone routine, non-emergency services while authorities worked to contain the pandemic and sought to better understand how the virus was spread.

Dental checkups, annual physicals, and even some types of MRI scans were often deemed “non-essential” medical care, and patients were advised to reschedule appointments to a later date. At the time (the early days of the pandemic), the prevailing thought was that in a few months, as more became known about the virus, it would (hopefully) diminish.

Advice to avoid or delay medical care has had (and continues to have) a profound effect on the health of many individuals, as well as the nation’s collective health.

A recent report by the CDC concluded that by June 30, an estimated 41% of U.S. adults had delayed or avoided medical care due to concerns of COVID-19. Of those 41%, 12% delayed urgent or emergency care, while 23% avoided routine care entirely.

The Consequences Of Delaying MRIs

The CDC report also concluded that delayed medical care or avoidance might increase morbidity and mortality risk associated with otherwise treatable and preventable health conditions. Moreover, such avoidance of medical care has actually been found to contribute to an increase in reported excess deaths (either directly or indirectly) related to COVID-19.

The CDC study also found that avoidance of urgent or emergency care, such as critical MRI or CT scans, was more prevalent among unpaid caregivers for adults, persons with underlying medical conditions, Black adults, Hispanic adults, young adults, and persons with disabilities.

Let’s take a look at some of the negative health consequences that are impacting the nation due to prolonging or avoiding essential medical care such as physician-ordered MRI or CT scans that can aid in diagnosing various diseases and injuries; anything from brain tumors to Runner’s Knee.

covid 19 and mris | ExpertMRI

Concern Among Medical Professionals

60% of primary care physicians report considerable concern that delayed primary care will lead to a substantial increase in preventable illnesses throughout the country. In fact, delaying medical care due to a fear of contracting COVID-19 can, in many cases, actually make a patient more susceptible to the virus.

For example, patients with unmonitored diabetes and hypertension symptoms can lead to stroke and heart attack, while lack of asthma and COPD control can lead to exacerbations of the lungs and respiratory system. Many of these chronic diseases can, in fact, increase the severity of COVID-19, especially when unsupervised by a physician (often due to patients simply canceling and failing to reschedule appointments).

In other words, by avoiding medical care for diseases such as COPD and asthma, you are at a greater risk for not only exacerbating your underlying condition(s), but also increasing your risk for contracting COVID-19. The same is true when a patient avoids or disregards an MRI scan appointment, whether for a traumatic brain injury (TBI), chronic back or joint pain, or spinal conditions.

When your doctor orders an MRI scan, he or she has done so with the important objective of identifying why you are experiencing symptoms or health issues. Once those symptoms are identified, the doctor will make every effort to provide you with a proper diagnosis and course of action to help alleviate said symptoms or issues you are experiencing. The results of your MRI scan can actually have a significant positive impact on your health and overall quality of life (but not if you delay or avoid the procedure). 

However, the negative effects of delaying your MRI scan – whether due to concern of an undiagnosed disease/lingering injury, or fear of potential coronavirus contraction – can be severe, and at times life-threatening (despite being, in many cases, entirely preventable).

mri images

Avoiding MRIs Can Increase Risks

For example, avoiding an MRI scan for any period of time can prevent your doctor from diagnosing serious, often terminal (if untreated) conditions such as:

  • An aneurysm (bulging or weakened blood vessel in the brain)
  • Brain tumor
  • Injury to the brain
  • Multiple sclerosis (a disease that damages the outer coating that protects nerve cells)
  • Problems with your eye or inner ear
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Stroke

Resuming Essential Care For Your Health

As the pandemic has continued and it has become clear that COVID-19 is not going away in the near future, a better understanding of the virus has allowed for more precautions to be implemented that will help protect patients when receiving essential medical testing and care.

If your doctor has ordered an MRI scan for any variety of health issues, it is in your best interest to have the scan conducted at a safe and experienced facility such as Expert MRI sooner rather than later.

An MRI scan is an advanced imaging study that helps distinguish between healthy tissue and diseased tissue inside your body. Based on the MRI scan results, your doctor can make an accurate diagnosis and establish a treatment plan.

The MRI is also a very important tool for treatment follow-up (for a variety of conditions and injuries) and post-surgery monitoring. Follow-up MRIs are utilized to monitor the progress you are making in responding to treatment.

If necessary, changes can be made to the individual’s treatment plan depending on the scan results. The MRI procedure is very safe and does not use harmful radiation, so your overall health and immunity will not be compromised.

Getting essential medical care at the appropriate time is necessary for maintaining your health and bolstering your immune system. If you have been instructed to undergo an MRI scan as part of your medical treatment plan, you are well-advised to do so as soon as possible, rather than risking a disease’s progression or a deterioration in health that could require emergency medical services. Emergency services or hospitalizations could expose patients to an increased risk for a hospital-acquired coronavirus infection.

How A MRI Can Save Your Life

What sort of medical conditions can an Expert MRI Front Open or High-field system – utilizing the most advanced technology and features available in the field of medical diagnostics – screen for and detect to help patients receive the critical preventative care they deserve? Let’s take a look:

·For Patients With Soft Tissue Conditions:

An MRI scan can help detect a number of soft-tissue diseases, including:

  • Tumors involving joints
  • Various types of cancer
  • Soft tissue injuries such as damaged ligaments
  • Joint injury or disease
  • Spinal injury or disease
  • Injury or disease of internal organs including the brain and digestive organs
  • Arthritis
  • Herniated discs or spinal cord compression

·For Multiple Sclerosis Patients:

  • Magnetic resonance imaging has become the single most useful test for diagnosing MS (provided the test is done in a timely manner and without prolonged avoidance or delay).
  • MRI is sensitive to brain changes, which are seen in MS. The MRI scan shows lesions in the white matter deep in the brain near the fluid spaces (known as ventricles).
  • An MRI may also show changes in the cortex or near the cortex. MRI can also show changes in the brainstem and in the spinal cord.
  • All of this information gathered via a MRI scan can be used to produce a productive and beneficial diagnosis for MS patients. 

For Parkinson’s Disease Patients:

  • A stroke or brain tumor can often mimic the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the brain is an effective method primarily used to rule out these other possibilities.

In addition to helping diagnose Parkinson’s disease, an MRI can also be used for the guided placement of electrodes into the brain for deep brain stimulation — a surgical treatment for Parkinson’s disease that helps control tremors and involuntary movements.

For patients with organ abnormalities, MRI scans can screen for damaged tissues impacting the:

  • Liver
  • Kidneys
  • Ovaries (women)
  • Pancreas
  • Spleen

Don’t Delay Your MRI

The benefits of undergoing your MRI scan on the date your doctor advises can have a significant positive benefit on your immediate and long-term health (and those who love and care about you as well). Disregard any thought of avoiding or delaying your MRI procedure for an extended period of time due to unfounded fears.

We Enforce COVID-19 Safety Protocols

At Expert MRI, the health and safety of our clients and coworkers is of utmost importance. In an effort to protect everyone who enters one of our facilities, we take all available precautions and follow every state and national guideline, mandate, and protocol exactly to ensure our patients undergo their MRI/CT scans in a safe environment without undue worry or stress. We do everything in our power to keep you safe, and are here to calm any concerns you may have on the day of your scan.

From the moment you walk through the door to one of our 20+ facilities throughout California to the time you meet and greet our friendly staff to the administering and completion of the actual MRI or CT test, you can find peace of mind in our dedication to your safety and well-being. The precautions we apply to each patient and employee are extensive and include:

  • Providing face masks for all employees and patients
  • Conducting temperature checks using no-touch infrared thermometers
  • Regularly scheduled, thorough cleanings of our facilities with the most advanced disinfecting technology available (known to be highly-effective against COVID-19).

Do not let fear that your MRI scan will lead to a diagnosis of an unknown illness, disease, or injury, fear of contracting COVID-19, or fear of exorbitant medical expenses keep you from visiting Expert MRI for your essential scan. We are the safest, most prepared, and professional medical diagnostics company in California.

If you have any questions or would like additional clarification regarding the measures we take to keep you safe and healthy before, during, and after your MRI scan, please do not hesitate to contact us at any time. We are California’s leading medical diagnostics center because of our dedication to you, our valued clients.

Conclusion

COVID-19 is a serious threat to the health of many. However, delaying your MRI because of COVID may not be the best course of action for your health. Here at ExpertMRI, we enforce safety protocols to make sure our patients and staff are properly protected.

Not putting off your MRI might be a critical decision for your health and wellbeing.