What are the Risks Associated with X-Rays?

By  ,  Onlymyhealth editorial team
Apr 06, 2013

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What are the Risks Associated with X Rays

People are often concerned about being exposed to radiation during an x-ray. Human body cells, when exposed to x-radiations in large quantity can result in permanent loss of the cell. Bearing this property in mind, the value of x-rays lend to relentless debating among the medical fraternity, the world over. The modern x-ray facilities use latest techniques to keep the x-ray exposure to a minimum. Lead aprons and other kinds of shields are used to protect the reproductive organs and other parts of the body during X-ray procedure.

[Read: Can Exposure to Radiation Cause Leukaemia?]

The doses of radiation that are used during an X-ray are not thought to pose a risk to an unborn baby, but, it is true that expectant mothers and new born infants are highly susceptible to these rays, on the whole, x-rays contribute far more than destroy. As a precaution, x-rays that directly target the womb (abdominal X-rays) are not usually recommended unless there is a clear clinical need. In some cases, an alternative method that does not involve radiation, such as an ultrasound scan, may be recommended. Growing children should also avoid x-rays, as these radiations may have some side-effects on them.

[Read: An Overview of Dental X-Rays]

The risk of getting cancer from x-rays is very minute. According to some studies, ‘receiving 5000 millirem (50 mSv) of radiation in a year can increase the rate of cancer deaths by 0.3%’, which means that if you got 300 medical x-rays in a year, it would increase your chances of getting cancer only by 1%.

You can reduce x-ray exposure by keeping a record of when you had x-rays in the past, and sharing the reports with your doctor, when appropriate. In some cases, this will help you to avoid having duplicate X-rays.

[Read: X- Ray Scanners at Airport Emit Radiation]

Routine diagnostic X-rays usually do not cause any side effects. However, if you received an injection of contrast medium before your X-rays, call your doctor if you have bleeding, pain, swelling or redness at the injection site. Ask your doctor about other signs or symptoms to watch for after your specific X-ray procedure.


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