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Obesity Hinders Medical Diagnostic Tests

accommodate patients weighing up to 450 pounds, and MRI machines can typically obtain diagnostic-quality images in patients weighing up to 350 pounds.

For exams that require radiation exposure, such as x-rays and CT, the power can be increased on standard machines in an attempt to acquire a higher-quality image. However, this leads to an undesirable increase in radiation dose.

Incomplete examinations related to obesity can lead to serious consequences for the patient, as in the case of misdiagnosis or failure to be able to assign a diagnosis at all.

There can also be economic ramifications. Further testing might be required in the event of an inconclusive exam, as well as increased hospitalization time.

Obesity also increases stress on the imaging systems, due to increased power output and more rapid burnout (as in the case of x-ray tubes).

Dr. Uppot believes that the prevailing lifestyle in the United States and other industrialized nations that facilitates a poor diet and lack of exercise has led to our current obesity crisis.

In the short term, the medical community must accommodate these patients by investing in technology to help them,' Dr. Uppot explained. In the long term, this country must make cultural shifts that promote more exercise and a healthier diet.

Source: Eurekalert
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