What are X-rays and are they safe?

Medical X-Rays are photographs or digital images of a part of the human body produced by X-rays passing through and absorbed by it.

X-rays are photographs or digital images of a part of the human body (and other materials) produced by X-rays passing through and absorbed by it.

An X-ray (or X-radiation) is an electromagnetic wave of high energy with a very short wavelength.

IS IT SAFE?

The medical community generally considers the radiation exposure from an X-ray low enough to justify the use, considering the benefits. Radiation exposure can cause cell mutations, which could lead to cancer. Ultrasound may be a better choice if you are pregnant or if the patient is a young child. If you are over 70, use of some contrast mediums may put you at risk, as well as if you are suffering from certain diseases.

Contrast agents such as iodine or barium might be used to enhance visibility. They might be swallowed, injected or given as an enema. The NCBI estimates that life-threatening reactions occur in up to 0.2% of individuals depending on the type of ICM used. Since the risk is related to age, health condition and the method of administration, consult your physician and do your research. These mediums can cause side effects such as:

  • Flushing
  • Hives
  • Itching
  • Lightheadedness
  • Metallic taste
  • Nausea

And more rarely:

  • Anaphylactic shock
  • Cardiac arrest
  • Dangerously low blood pressure
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Kidney dysfunction
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