X-Rays and Your Health

Posted on : March 2, 2011 | By : Sophie Callahan | In : Health and Fitness

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Doctors have been using X-Rays since the late 1800s (History).  The fact that X-Rays are still used around the world today shows their functionality in the medical world.  “X-Ray” is a shortened form of the term “electromagnetic radiation”, which sends wavelengths through solid objects.  When X-Rays were first introduced, doctors were amazed by the new technology and used it frequently in examining their patients.  They were unaware of the consequences of the radiation until the doctors themselves and their patients started to become ill.  This is called “radiation sickness”.  Today, doctors must consider the amount of electromagnetic radiation that is harmful to humans because too much radiation can cause many debilitating health risks.

Excessive amounts of radiation from X-rays can cause cancer and many other health issues, like DNA mutations and leukemia.  X-rays can be dangerous because the charge of the wavelengths can break a cell’s DNA chains.  This cell now has the potential to die or mutate, which can cause the cell to become cancerous.  Additionally, it is dangerous for both men and women to get and X-Ray if you are pregnant or looking to become pregnant.  Exposure to X-Rays (especially in the reproductive area) can cause mutations of the sperm or egg, causing your child to develop leukemia or birth defects.  However, if you get occasional X-rays at doctor’s office visits, you will not be at high risk for cancer.  It’s the excessive amounts of exposure that pose a threat.  In fact, X-Rays may be more beneficial than problematic.

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Are X-rays Really Dangerous?

X-Rays are used to examine broken bones, detect cancer and tumors, and reveal many other medical conditions.  Using an X-Ray Machine is much safer than methods used previous to X-Rays.  For example, doctors in the past had to perform surgery on their patients to examine broken bones.  This more easily posed health threats to the patients, such as putting them at risk of infections.  Now, a simple X-ray can help the doctors with these examinations and without the risks of surgery.  It is also important to note that since the discovery of X-Rays, researchers have discovered that lead is a key component of X-Rays.  Due to its thick density, lead can be used to shield patients from some (but not all) of the electromagnetic wavelengths from an X-Ray.  This shield gives us more protection and a lower risk of the rays harming our body.  Lead shields can be made for any type of X-Rays, both dental and medical.

If you go for regularly scheduled exams, doctors are aware of the radiation risks.  Don’t refuse a single X-Ray because you’re afraid of its health effects.  Now you know that the amount of radiation that reaches your body is very minimal, especially with shielding.  And the harm on your body will me slim to nothing.  This X-Ray can detect a posing health risk that is more threatening to you health than the radiation from an X-Ray.  If you go to multiple doctors and are concerned about the X-Rays, let your doctor know about your other experiences with radiation.  Your doctor will know the precautions to take regarding radiation and your health.