Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Your Questions Answered, on Lupus, Breast Cancer, and Interventional Radiology

Fauquier Health physicians took a little time out to answer the questions they are most frequently asked in their specialty areas.

Nandini Chhitwal, M.D.
Rheumatologist
540-316-5940

Q: What is lupus? What are the symptoms?
A: Fever. Fatigue. Aches and pains. These symptoms sound an awful lot like the flu.
That’s one of the problems with lupus: Symptoms often mimic other illnesses,making the disorder difficult to pin down.

Lupus is an auto-immune disease. This means your immune system — which normally protects you against infection — attacks healthy cells and tissues throughout your body. For example, lupus can affect your skin, joints, nervous system, blood and blood vessels. It also can damage internal organs, including your kidneys, heart, lungs and brain.

No one is certain what causes lupus. But it can run in families and probably is linked to a combination of factors. Women are nine times more likely to get the
disease than men — usually during childbearing years.

Some people with lupus have mild symptoms. Others suffer severe effects that are life threatening. In most cases, people with lupus have multiple indicators, characterized by “flare-ups” when they worsen, followed by periods of wellness. One
symptom of lupus is a distinctive “butterfly rash,” in which the skin across your nose and cheeks turns red. Other possible signs include the following:
● Muscle aches and painful, swollen joints or arthritis — most often in the knees, wrists and hands
● Low-grade fever
● Extreme fatigue
● Hair loss
● Sensitivity to sunlight
● Nausea and vomiting

NEW RHEUMATOLOGIST. Nandini Chhitwal, M.D., a new physician with Fauquier Health, offers rheumatology services at 550 Hospital Drive in Warrenton.


David Weber, M.D.
Radiologist
540-316-5000

Q: I have a family history of breast cancer. What breast cancer screening options should I consider?
A: While digital mammography remains the gold standard for breast screening, certain
patients do benefit from supplemental breast MRI scans. These patients include
women who are genetically predisposed to breast cancer or those with a strong family
or personal history. For these patients, the American Cancer Society recommends both
a mammogram and an MRI annually, beginning at age 30. Your doctor will determine if you qualify.

For patients who have been diagnosed with breast cancer, breast MRI gives surgeons and oncologists a clear picture of the extent of the cancer to ensure that proper treatment is delivered. It is also extremely accurate in determining a patient’s response to chemotherapy treatment, and can do so earlier than mammography, ultrasound or a physical exam.

NEW DIAGNOSTIC SERVICE. Fauquier Hospital continues its commitment to bringing the latest in health care technology to our community by offering breast MRIs. Call your doctor to find out if you are a candidate.


Adam Winick, M.D.
Interventional Radiology
703-396-7669

Q: What is interventional radiology?
A: Interventional radiology (IR) treats and diagnoses diseases without surgery by
using minimally invasive procedures. Interventional radiologists use X-rays,
ultrasound, CT (computed tomography) scans and other imaging techniques to
guide a small tube called a catheter into the body. Then they may use tiny tools
inserted into the catheter to treat the ource of the disease.
IR offers an alternative to surgery for any conditions. It can even eliminate the need for ospitalization in some cases. IR treatments offer ptients shorter recovery time, less pain and fewer isks than open surgery.
A few common IR procedures include the following:
● Angiography: An X-ray of the arteries and veins to detect blockage or narrowing of the vessels. In many cases, the interventional radiologist can treat the blockages, such as those occurring in the arteries in the legs or kidneys, by inserting a small
stent that inflates an attached balloon and opens the vessel. This procedure is called a balloon angioplasty.
● Embolization: The insertion of a substance through a catheter into a blood vessel to stop excessive bleeding.
● Stent placement: A tiny expandable coil called a stent is placed inside a blood vessel at the site of a blockage. The stent is expanded to open up the blockage.
● Needle biopsy: A small needle is inserted into the abnormal area in almost any part of the body, guided by imaging techniques, to obtain a tissue biopsy.
● Blood clot filters: A small filter is inserted into a blood clot to catch and break up clots.

LOCAL SPECIALISTS. Fauquier Hospital has an extensive interventional radiology team. Ask your doctor about possible procedures.

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