Using Medical Thermography to Detect Autoimmune Conditions
Jan 25, 2013 12:35AM
Patterns of hypothermia over T1/T2 are always indicative of autoimmune dysfunction.
Medical thermography, a noninvasive diagnostic technique that allows the examiner to quantify changes in skin surface temperature, has largely been used in the U.S. as a preventive application for early detection of breast disease. Although this is the most common use of digital infrared thermal imaging (DITI), which converts infrared radiation emitted from the skin surface into electrical impulses that are visualized in color on a monitor, thermography’s uses and benefits in medicine are far more widespread.
The visual image that graphically maps body temperature is called a thermogram, and its spectrum of colors indicates an increase or decrease in the amount of infrared radiation being emitted from the body’s surface. Because a normal body shows a high degree of thermal symmetry, subtle abnormal temperature asymmetries that relate to dysfunction can be easily identified. For example, DITI is helpful in monitoring thermal abnormalities present in health problems such as fibromyalgia and thyroid dysfunction, even when all thyroid levels are within normal levels in a patient’s blood work.
A pattern of hypothermia (cool areas) over T1/T2 (the first and second thoracic vertebrae) in a thermogram indicates autoimmune dysfunction, but cannot determine if there is hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism. This pattern, often seen in patients that also suffer from symptoms of fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome, is helpful in confirming a suspected diagnosis and monitoring a patient’s response to treatment. As the patient improves and the body returns to more normal thermal symmetry, the hypothermic pattern will be reduced. Conversely, if the patient is not responding to treatment or is regressing, the pattern will either remain the same or the temperature differentials will increase and the pattern will become more pronounced.
Taryn Kean is a level III thermographer certified by the American College of Clinical Thermology and a member of the American Medical Thermology Society. She owns and operates Southwest Medical Thermal Imaging (SouthwestMedicalThermalImaging.com), in Bonita Springs, and EquiSpectrum (EquiSpectrum.com), a mobile thermal clinic catering to elite equine athletes.