What are the Risks Associated with X-Rays

Concerns regarding radiation exposure during X-rays are common among people. When human cells are exposed to high doses of X-rays, they can undergo permanent damage, sparking ongoing debate within the medical community worldwide about the value of X-rays. Modern X-ray facilities employ advanced techniques to minimize exposure, utilizing lead aprons and shields to safeguard sensitive areas like reproductive organs during procedures.

While the radiation doses used in X-rays are generally considered safe for unborn babies, expectant mothers and newborns are particularly vulnerable to these rays. However, it’s worth noting that X-rays contribute more to diagnosis than harm. As a precaution, direct abdominal X-rays targeting the womb are typically avoided unless medically necessary, with alternative imaging methods like ultrasound often preferred. Children in their developmental years are also advised to limit exposure to X-rays due to potential side effects.

The risk of developing cancer from X-rays is minimal. Some studies suggest that receiving 5000 millirem (50 mSv) of radiation in a year could marginally increase cancer death rates by 0.3%. This implies that even with 300 medical X-rays in a year, the overall risk of cancer would only rise by 1%.

To minimize X-ray exposure, maintaining a record of past X-ray procedures and sharing them with your doctor can help avoid unnecessary duplicate X-rays. Generally, routine diagnostic X-rays pose minimal risks, but if you’ve received contrast medium injections, be vigilant for any signs of complications such as bleeding, pain, swelling, or redness at the injection site, and consult your doctor promptly for guidance on post-procedure care.