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Detecting Inflammation with Thermography

Advanced Health has been innovating for years to discover ways to help our patients overcome various ailments and improve their lives. For over a year and a half now we have been using Thermal Digital Imaging, also known as Thermography, for our patients to detect underlying inflammation, a hallmark indicator of virtually all diseases. Hence, thermography is key in early cancer detection, autoimmune diseases, chronic pain, and blood flow abnormalities. There is increasing evidence it may be instrumental in better understanding those at risk for contracting and becoming ill from deadly viruses such as coronavirus.  

This eighty-plus year old technology has become an invaluable tool for the early detection of microscopic inflammation in its various forms. In case you missed previous success stories from our patients, check them out at the links below:

How Does Thermography Works

Thermography uses an FDA-approved infrared camera to detect heat and blood flow patterns throughout the body tissues which tip you off to areas of underlying inflammation. The more inflammation that accumulates in an area, the more heat it produces. The more heat produced, the more cell damage present in a specific area which indicates the immune system’s inability to repair the underlying damage everpresent. 

The accuracy of the test relies on the patient removing all clothing off of the area needing to be filmed and standing in front of the thermography imaging apparatus.  A series of still images, or thermograms, are taken from a variety of angles.

Thermography for Inflammation & Cancer Detection

Because thermography results can show abnormal heat signals in areas of inflammation, it can often point to underlying issues you may not be aware of.  This is how Dr. Bhandari at Advanced Health was able to detect a severe case of periodontal disease in one of her asymptomatic patients (a clear precursor to stroke and heart disease). Thermography can clearly demonstrate soft tissue inflammation of gums and mucous membranes along with significant vascular inflammation. For example, if the carotid artery (the main blood vessel which delivers blood to the brain) had a significant amount of heat emanating from it in the thermal scans, it would be vital to evaluate this further for plaque build-up on the artery’s walls.  Even in the absence of symptoms, it is critical to rule out since it may save the person from experiencing major complications of an imminent stroke.

With respect to cancer, it’s well understood that cancer cells divide much more quickly than healthy cells, and consume more oxygen to do so. That process creates extra waste, heat, and causes oxygen to effectively combust. Cancer is like a HEAT ENGINE: the more heat created, the more cancer cells are growing out-of-control.  As such, surface-level cancers may be visible on thermographic images but still too small to be seen on other imaging modalities (i.e., x-ray, MRI, CT scan, ultrasound). Again, thermography is invaluable for patients who, again, do not show any symptoms and may not be concerned about cancer since they do not have a family history.   

For years, thermography has been used to look for breast cancer cells. While it isn’t a complete substitute for mammography, thermography helps detect the development of cancer cells anywhere in the body 10 years earlier than any other diagnostic scan. It is particularly effective in women with dense breasts and for those under age 50 for whom mammograms are not helpful and can be associated with more risk than benefit. Please note that it is important to confirm any results with follow-up evaluation with a medical doctor in order to rule out any false-positives. 

Heat signals tell us precisely where to look and where to dive deeper. The bottom line is that most inflammation can be easily seen on thermographic images (unlike any other diagnostic tests), so thermography is an excellent way to diagnose inflammation, spot underlying injuries, tightness, arthritis, other chronic diseases, and so much more.

Thermography for Inflammatory-associated Pain

Whether caused by damage, injury, muscle tension, or infection, chronic pain can often be hard to pin down, especially when inflammation becomes widespread. The source of the pain doesn’t always accord with the specific site of injury. That’s because inflammation spillover happens all the time; the inflammatory mediators travel systemically and can cause problems in other sites far away from the original point of trauma.

With thermography, stress points show up visibly warmer (another hallmark of inflammation). Like fires seen from outer space, the parts of the body that aren’t working in harmony clump and grind together. This overproduction of heat, free radicals, and poor oxygenation from the concentrated area of concern shows up clearly on a thermogram.

Chronic pain, in particular, can be understood more easily through thermography, since the conventional diagnostic approach often produces nebulous results. An effective treatment might not present perceptible results to the patient right away, but the decrease in muscle tension or the ease of blood flow shows up right away in thermographic images.

Thermography for Inflammation in the Blood

As mentioned above, vascular and lymphatic blood flow are readily visible under thermography. They can locate where pesky “problem areas” are long before given an ICD-10 label. Unlike several other diagnostic approaches for vascular or intravenous diseases, thermography is noninvasive and generally very effective, especially in the earlier stages.

Depending on the type of inflammatory response that is occurring, the veins and arteries are inherently susceptible. Knowing where the inflammation is, we can identify the best forms of treatment. Thermal changes can result from constriction, like kinks in the line, or from inflammation. If this is the case, then you may best be suited to see our Acupuncturist or Osteopathic Physician. Thermal changes can also result from an inflammatory diet, where the thermal signature of the body is drifting significantly from baseline along key points in the digestive tract. If this is the case, then you may be best suited to see me or our Nutritionist. It really just depends on where the inflammation is arising. 

 

THERMOGRAPHY AT ADVANCED HEALTH

At Advanced Health, we’re now providing thermography to help patients better understand the root cause of  chronic pain, inflammation, blood flow issues, cancer risk, digestive and autoimmune problems, and more. Thermography gives us a chance to observe the mechanics of the body in real-time, by observing thermal changes and hot-spots. 

Thermography has been an FDA-approved medical technology since 1957.  It is an adjunct diagnostic tool to better understand injury, tightness, pain sources, vascular and lymphatic blood flow abnormalities, and more. It can be an effective way to detect increased cancer risk anywhere in the body, or better understand cognitive decline/dementia as part of a more comprehensive diagnostic process.  Unlike many other conventional radiological imaging, there is no risk of radiation.  It is non-invasive and hence, presents no risk to patients.

CONTACT US TODAY!  Let us help you get on the path to lifelong wellness.

 

Dr. Bhandari and the Advanced Health Team Are Here to Support Your Health.

Our expert team of integrative holistic practitioners work with patients suffering from chronic health concerns.  We help our patients reverse disease by better understanding how the body optimally functions and providing personalized treatment plans. To learn more and book an appointment, contact Advanced Health or call 1-415-506-9393.

Author
Dr. Payal Bhandari Dr. Payal Bhandari M.D. is a leading practitioner of integrative and functional medicine in San Francisco.

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