If you are interested in your health, then you might want to consider getting a full body scan. This procedure isn’t just some new thing for those with lots of disposable income and time on their hands. It is right up there with storing your own blood, freezing your sperm, and saving ‘cord blood’ from the umbilical cord. Some consider body scans to be on the cutting edge of a solid healthcare strategy, delivering health benefits to everyone.
This article will explain what the procedure does, as well as the pros and cons of getting one done. So if you are interested in any new idea that will add to your good health, then keep reading and get ready to be scanned.
What is a Body Scan?
This technology is more often referred to as a CT scan – an ultra-fast electron-beam computed tomography. The beam is sent into your body, and the information is relayed back to a computer to create a section (cut through image) or three-dimensional image of your internal organs. This method is by no means perfect, but it will give you a good picture of your internal organs and possibly any health issues looming on the horizon.
What is compelling about this technology is that it is very fast. Plus, you can have a look at your internal organs without cutting through your skin or ribcage. If a problem seems to be indicated in the image, then follow up tests can be directed to specific areas – such as your heart, lungs, kidneys, etc. This technology has only recently been considered as a preventative measure for serious diseases and other health problems.
Why should I get one?
Since the body scan is now being considered as a preventative measure, then practically everyone who can afford it is a potential customer. Essentially, you are taking a snapshot of your vital organs and determining if there are any health threats. Obviously, for most people, the scans will not reveal very much.
Depending on your age, early signs of heart trouble will most likely appear – such as plaque build up in your arteries. Or there may be some major problem developing – such as a tumor – which could be caught early, enabling better treatment. That being said, it is not necessarily a health strategy that all will employ. However, if your family has a history of a particular disease, this might be one way for you to catch any potential hereditary problems that might occur.
Furthermore, if you are a health conscious person, you might be curious to see how your internal system is working. This becomes especially relevant as people move into middle-age, where many early warning signs of heart and blood pressure problems begin to occur.
What will it do for me?
If you think of a full body scan as part of your healthcare regime, then it can do a lot for you. If you are worried about a certain aspect of your health, then this procedure might alleviate those concerns. For example, maybe you smoked for 10 years and then quit in your late twenties. Or maybe your family has a history of heart disease, meaning you are more likely to develop heart disease as well.
The scan will help to check for those issues, and should provide a three dimensional image of whatever area concerns you. That being said, if no immediate pathology is detected – tumor, kidney stone, etc. – then a follow up scan will be required. In fact, since we change every year, it is likely that most people who embrace this healthcare strategy, will have to make a regular habit of getting, similar to an annual check-up, but with less frequency.
If used effectively, then the body scan might help you to correct life style choices before those choices (smoking, diet, etc.) have a major negative impact on your well-being.
Pros vs. Cons
- Early prevention and treatment
- Part of long-term healthcare strategy
- Allows you to get a non-invasive look at what is occurring inside your body
- May lead to further tests that help to catch a problem earlier than normal
- You are awake during the procedure
- It is non-invasive
- Some would argue that it is an unnecessary procedure unless you have a ‘real’ health reason to get it done
- It is expensive – averaging between $800-$1,000
- It may not catch everything, since it is digital recreation and open to interpretation
- May not catch something that is the very early stages of developing, meaning you may think things are fine when they aren’t
- May give some a false sense of security
- You are exposed to high-levels of radiation during the scan
Is it worth it?
As with many preventative health care strategies, the necessity for such a procedure is debatable. If you are under the age of forty, the odds are good you do not have any hidden problem that is about to rear its ugly head. A healthy diet and exercise regime is probably a far better long-term strategy than planning a CT scan every couple of years.
A full body scan is usually the thing a doctor orders when there is a problem, and the scan helps to isolate a tumor or there is some other issue that can’t be seen without operating. For the average person, a full body scan will reveal very little, so it is debatable if the cost and radiation exposure are worth a little extra sense of well being.
That being said, if there is a historical reason for a concern – such as a family history of heart disease – then you might want to invest in this type of preventative medicine, even if only for the peace of mind it might offer you. But there is no questioning the potential for this procedure to catch something that might not otherwise be detected until it is too late.
So there is no right answer to the question of the value of a full Body Scan, particularly if it reveals a cancerous tumor in the early stages of development.