Human X-Ray Effect
The discovery and merits in the study of the basic properties of X-rays rightfully belongs to the German scientist Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen. The amazing properties of the X-rays discovered by him immediately received a huge resonance in the scientific world. Although then, back in 1895, the scientist could hardly have imagined what benefit and sometimes x-rays could be harmful.
Let's find out in this article how this type of radiation affects human health.
What is x-radiation
In the work published by X-ray the following information was given:
- X-rays have a huge penetrating power, depending on the wavelength of the radiation, density and thickness of the irradiated material;
- they cause some substances to glow;
- X-rays affect living organisms;
- this radiation can be a catalyst for some photochemical reactions;
- X-rays are capable of ionizing atoms (i.e., tearing off electrons from neutral atoms).
The first question that interested the researcher - what is X-ray radiation? A series of experiments made it possible to verify that this is electromagnetic radiation with a wavelength of 8–10 cm, which is intermediate between ultraviolet and gamma radiation.
All of the above aspects of the destructive effects of the mysterious X-rays do not exclude surprisingly extensive aspects of their use. Where is x-rays applied?
- The study of the structure of molecules and crystals.
- X-ray inspection (in the industry detection of defects in products).
- Methods of medical research and therapy.
The most important applications of X-ray radiation have become possible, thanks to the very small lengths of the entire range of these waves and their unique properties.
Since we are interested in the effect of X-rays on people who encounter it only during a medical examination or treatment, then we will consider only this area of X-ray application.
The use of X-rays in medicine
Despite the special significance of his discovery, Roentgen did not begin to take a patent for its use, making it an invaluable gift for all mankind. Already in the First World War, X-ray machines were used, which made it possible to quickly and accurately diagnose injuries. Now we can distinguish two main areas of application of X-rays in medicine:
Radiodiagnosis is used in various variants:
- radiography (snapshot);
- X-ray and computed tomography.
Understand the difference between these methods.
- With fluoroscopy, the patient is located between the x-ray tube and a special fluorescent screen. The radiologist selects the desired hardness of the rays and receives images of the internal organs and ribs on the screen.
- During radiography, the patient is placed on a cassette with a special film. X-ray unit is located above the object. The film produces a negative image of the internal organs, containing smaller details than with an x-ray examination.
Fluorography is used for mass medical examinations of the population. On a special film projected image from a large screen.
- Tomography uses X-rays to take pictures of organs in several selected cross sections of tissue. The resulting x-ray series is called a tomogram.
- A computer tomogram records sections of the human body using an x-ray scanner. The data is entered into the computer and give a single image in cross section.
All of these diagnostic methods are based on the ability of X-rays to illuminate the film and on their different permeability to the tissue and bone skeleton.
The ability of X-rays to exert a biological effect on the tissue, in medicine is used for the treatment of tumors. The ionizing effect of this radiation is most actively manifested in the impact on rapidly dividing cells, which are the cells of malignant tumors.
However, you should be aware of the side effects that inevitably accompany radiotherapy. The fact is that cells of the hematopoietic, endocrine, and immune systems are also rapidly dividing. The negative impact on them gives rise to signs of radiation sickness.
The effect of x-rays on humans
Shortly after the remarkable discovery of X-rays, it was discovered that X-rays had an effect on humans.
- It was found that the new radiation can cause a change in the skin, resembling a sunburn, but with deeper skin damage. In addition, these ulcers required a longer time to heal. Ignorance of the possible consequences led even to the amputation of fingers among researchers engaged in these insidious rays.
- Gradually, it was found out that such lesions can be avoided by reducing time, radiation dose, using lead shielding and remote control of the process.
X-ray damage may have a longer-term perspective: temporary or permanent changes in the composition of the blood, susceptibility to leukemia, early aging.
- How does x-ray affect the body, i.e., biological effects depend on which organ is exposed to radiation, what is the dose of exposure. Say, irradiation of the blood-forming organs causes diseases of the blood, genital organs - infertility.
- Systematic exposure to even small doses can lead to genetic changes in the body.
These data were obtained from experiments on experimental animals, however, genetics suggest that these effects can also spread to the human body.
The study of the effects of X-ray exposure has allowed the development of international standards for permissible radiation doses.
X-ray doses during X-ray diagnostics
After visiting the X-ray room, many patients are worried, how will the received radiation dose affect health?
The total dose of the body depends on the nature of the procedure. For convenience, we will compare the received dose with natural radiation, which accompanies a person throughout his life.
- X-ray: of the chest - the dose of radiation received is equivalent to 10 days of background exposure; upper stomach and small intestine - 3 years.
- Computed tomography of the abdominal cavity and pelvis, as well as the whole body - 3 years.
- Mammography - 3 months.
- Radiography of the extremities is practically harmless.
- As for dental X-rays, the dose of radiation is minimal, because the patient is affected by a narrow beam of X-rays with a short duration of radiation.
These doses correspond to acceptable standards, but if the patient feels anxiety before passing X-rays, he is entitled to ask for a special protective apron.
Exposure of X-rays to pregnant women
X-ray examination, each person is forced to undergo repeatedly. But there is a rule - this method of diagnosis can not be assigned to pregnant women. The developing embryo is extremely vulnerable. X-rays can cause chromosome abnormalities and, as a result, the birth of children with developmental disabilities. The most vulnerable in this regard is the gestation period up to 16 weeks. And the most dangerous for the future baby X-ray of the spine, pelvic and abdominal area.
Knowing about the harmful effects of X-rays on pregnancy, doctors in every possible way avoid using it during this crucial period in a woman’s life.
However, there are side sources of x-ray radiation:
- electron microscopes;
- kinescopes of color tvs, etc.
Expectant mothers should be aware of the danger posed by them.
For nursing mothers, X-ray diagnosis is not dangerous.
What to do after x-rays
To avoid even minimal effects of X-ray exposure, some simple steps can be taken:
- after X-rays to drink a glass of milk, - it removes small doses of radiation;
- a very good way to take a glass of dry wine or grape juice;
- some time after the procedure it is useful to increase the proportion of products with a high content of iodine (seafood).
But, no medical procedures or special measures for the withdrawal of radiation after X-rays are required!
Despite the undoubtedly serious consequences of exposure to X-rays, they should not be overestimated by the danger during medical examinations - they are carried out only on certain parts of the body and very quickly. The benefits of them are many times greater than the risk of this procedure for the human body.