As we navigate a world with increased environmental toxic overload for many of us, we search for ways to decrease our exposures. As women, we are encouraged to go for annual female-focused checkups that may include mammograms—and, for some of us with denser breasts, ultrasounds as well—Pap smears and other types of hormonal-related tests. These tests can detect issues that may need to be addressed immediately, but they do come with exposure-related concerns for some with repeated annual tests. Early detection enables us to address potential trouble areas sooner than later before they become a serious issue, explained Rachel Mazzarelli, MS, CCT, owner of Whole Health Thermography LLC (WholeHealthThermography.com), which serves Fairfield and New Haven Counties in Connecticut, and Westchester County in New York. One of the benefits of digital infrared thermal imaging (DITI) is a detection of body changes and risk markers before they might move out of the “normal” level ranges on the regular annual tests. DITI, or thermography as it is referred to, is non-invasive, non-contact, painless, FDA-cleared technology with no radiation involved.
DITI has been recognized as a viable diagnostic tool for over 30 years by the AMA Council on Scientific Affairs, ACA Council on Diagnostic Imaging, Congress of Neuro-Surgeons, and American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.
While an increasing number of women are having breast thermograms for much earlier detection of potential problem areas and for readings that around 85% accurate, a new thermography program addresses broader women’s health. The Advanced Women’s Health Check (WHC) provides a focused holistic view of overall health status and future risk levels, indicated the American College of Clinical Thermology. It is an opportunity to detect changes earlier than possible through self or doctor examination, and diagnostic testing alone. This quick, 30-minute test starts with a detailed medical history being taken before partially disrobing for the non-contact scanning is performed. WHC can be a valuable procedure for alerting a person’s healthcare practitioner to changes that can indicate developing pathology and dysfunction. The results are also weighted for analysis and specific to female symptoms related to thyroid dysfunction, estrogen dominance or genitourinary issues.
The WHC thermogram report is generated from a 71-point questionnaire that combines symptoms and history across breast, obstetrics/gynecology, thyroid, endocrine, visceral and autonomic systems. DITI looks for findings that may indicate autoimmune, endocrine/adrenal system, vascular, lymphatic and breast health dysfunctions, such as hormonal dysfunction, polycystic syndrome, and inflammatory pelvic disease and endometriosis.
A colored slider moving from green to red indicates associated risk levels. A green Normal reading does not rule out subclinical or non-active pathology but is an indication of good functional health and low risk for existing or developing pathology. The orange Low Risk level justifies clinical evaluation or correlation with low-risk physiological dysfunction, which should be assessed and/or monitored by a healthcare professional in order to achieve and maintain optimum wellness. The red Some Risk level indicates risk for existing or developing pathology, justifying additional clinical testing or intervention to diagnose or rule out clinically significant physiological dysfunction.
The WHC includes the additional findings relating to physiological changes in the breasts and is an important piece in the breast screening puzzle. Breast health is integral to our wholistic wellness as well as being an early indicator of developing pathology. As for digestive issues, abdominal findings include colon inflammation that can indicate IBS, leaky gut, diverticulitis and other risk factors that justify colonoscopy or preventative treatment.
“My reasons for beginning to get regular thermograms are my family history of breast cancer. After a couple of pictures and a short wait time to get the report, I was delighted to learn that my breasts were looking all blue and green (healthy), which was a big relief. I was surprised to see that I had perioral hyperthermia, which was noted as consistent with a low-grade dental infection. I had an annual appointment coming up with my dentist, so she checked it out. It was a simple case of not flossing enough. I was so impressed that the thermogram picked up on such a relatively minor situation. There were no symptoms,” said Laura (last name withheld for privacy) from New York about the thermogram picking up other imbalances in her body.
For many of us suffering from autoimmune conditions, a loss of temperature gradients can indicate autonomic disease or dysfunction, such as early-stage diabetic changes. Inflammatory vascular findings can provide a warning before any symptoms develop as arteries become inflamed before occlusion becomes clinically significant. The head and neck views that are graded in WHC include sinuses, arteries, dental, thyroid, lymphatic, and autonomic as well as any indications of inflammation or infection that can affect the immune system.
“Because of the women’s health check report, I was able to hone in with my naturopath on what further lab tests were needed or unnecessary to investigate symptoms I was experiencing,” said Daniela (name changed for privacy). “As an example, suspected intestinal issues did not ‘light up’ in the thermogram reading, which was contrary to what I thought was happening. Instead, viral and environmental toxin overload in other areas seemed to come up. My result definitely showed more T2/T3 issues associated with a chronically activated immune system, which led my naturopath to test more for food allergies and sensitivities, hormonal imbalances, heavy metal toxicity, low-grade chronic infection and systemic illness. In addition, the test pointed out a low-grade level of dysfunction throughout my back, which indicated to me that I needed to implement a more regular plan of treatment with my chiropractor as well.”
The test and report are designed to help patients take control of their current and future health. The report is also designed to help motivate patients to incorporate lifestyle changes, holistic treatment or even medical intervention. Annual studies are recommended to help monitor risk levels and provide early indicators of any issue that justifies intervention. Patients can bring the easy-to-read report to any practitioners—such as naturopaths, osteopaths, biological dentists, holistic physical therapist, chiropractor, energy practitioners and others—to better inform treatment plans with health support providers.