Radiation from Medical Imaging Machines: What You Need to Know

Radiation from Medical Imaging Machines: What You Need to Know

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It is an amazing time to live because doctors can use x-ray machines and other types of medical digital imaging to get pictures of sections within the human body. There are situations where these machines can be useful for medical diagnosis and treatments, but it is important that you are aware of the potential health risk to using these types of machines.

How Do Medical Digital Imaging Machines Work?

If you go in for an x-ray or another type of medical scan, the machine is actually passing radiation through the body. The result is a picture that the doctor can use to diagnose and/or treat your health concerns. Common types of medical radiation include:
  • X-Rays
  • PET scans
  • CT scans
  • Bone density tests
  • Mammograms
The problem is that the use of these machines might actually lead to bigger health problems, because of the impact the imaging machines can have on your DNA. When ionizing radiation is passed through the human body, electrons are ejected from atoms which leaves free radicals, also known as positive ions.

Dangers of DNA Damage

These free radicals can damage the DNA, and your body needs to work to repair the damage. If a person has a strong immune system, then the cell is likely capable of repairing itself back to a perfect state. In some cases of high radiation, it is also possible that the cell dies. The third potential result is that the cell repairs itself, but mistakes are made in the repair. In a situation where the cell repairs itself with mistakes, it might result in the cell changing behavior which can lead to the development of cancer. It might take years or even decades before the cancer is detected, so radiation exposure from many years ago could be impacting your body right now.

Increasing Use of Medical Imaging Machines

The problem is that the medical industry is increasing the usage of these types of machines. Between the years 1980 and 2006, there was a 20-fold increase in the use of tests that cause radiation exposure to the patients. If possible, it is best to avoid situations where you are exposed to unnecessary radiation. Even low levels of radiation from small x-rays could potentially lead to cancer concerns later in your life. There is even more of a concern with high radiation machines such as CT scans. If you want to learn more about other environmental factors that are impacting your risk of cancer, read Unravel the Mystery, by Ann Malkmus. This book contains details about your daily food and lifestyle choices, and things that you can do to decrease your risk of cancer and other serious diseases.

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