Getting to Know How X-Ray Examinations Work and Its Side Effects

X-ray examination or X-ray is a medical imaging technique that uses X-ray radiation to view images of internal organs in the body. This procedure is part of an investigation to assist the doctor in making a diagnosis.

X-ray examination is generally done to see the condition of the bones and joints, for example in the examination of fractures, arthritis, tooth decay, osteoporosis, or even bone cancer.

However, sometimes x-ray examination is also used to detect health problems in soft tissues and organs in the body. Therefore, x-rays can also be used to examine the lungs, breasts, heart, and urinary and digestive tracts.

In addition to X -rays, x-rays are also used in CT scan and fluoroscopy examination procedures.

How Does an X-Ray Examination Work?

When an x-ray is done, the machine will send short waves of X-ray radiation to scan the internal organs of the body.

Radiation absorbed by each part of the body can vary, depending on the density of the part. This is what causes the color difference of each body part in the x-ray photo.

Most x-ray particles cannot penetrate metal or solid body parts, such as bone. Therefore, the bone or metal will appear white on the x-ray. The tumor will also usually appear white on an x-ray.

Soft tissues, such as blood, skin, fat, and muscle, will appear gray on x-ray images. Meanwhile, the black color indicates the x-ray hits the air or gas.

Is X-Ray Safe To Do?

X-ray examination does use radiation. However, the amount and level of radiation exposure used in x-ray examinations is very small, so it is relatively safe for adults.

However, too often undergoing examinations that use X-rays have the potential to damage DNA in the body’s cells. This can increase the risk of developing cancer later in life, although the increased risk is relatively low.

However, the risk of developing cancer is known to be higher in some patients with certain conditions, namely:

1. Patients who frequently perform medical imaging with high radiation doses
2. Children or young patients
3. Patient is female
4. Patients with certain genetic conditions that make their cells more susceptible to damage when exposed to radiation

Not only that, x-ray examinations are also known to have side effects on pregnant women, especially when x-rays are carried out on body parts close to the uterus and fetus.

In early pregnancy, exposure to x-ray radiation can increase the risk of miscarriage and birth defects. While x-ray examinations are carried out at the age of the womb over 2 months, there will be a risk of causing the baby to be born with intellectual problems.

Therefore, pregnant women should not undergo x-ray examination, except in an emergency condition accompanied by a doctor’s permission.

In addition, the contrast agent that is sometimes injected into the patient’s body to improve the quality of the x-ray images also has some side effects. In some people, the contrast agent can cause dizziness, nausea, itchy skin, and metallic breath.

Not only that, in relatively rare cases, contrast agents can also cause more serious side effects in the form of anaphylactic shock, which is characterized by a decrease in blood pressure, acute kidney failure, and even cardiac arrest.

If you have an x-ray examination and are given a contrast agent by a doctor, it is recommended that you drink plenty of water after the examination. Water is known to help remove the contrast agent from the body more quickly.

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