X-Ray systems : Good or bad?
Approximately 7 out of 10 people is subject to an examination involving x-rays every year, in either dental- or medical clinics. But how does it work, and what are the risks.
In a diagnostic matter, x-rays are performed by positioning a part of the body between a focused beam of x-rays, shooting out photons, and a plate containing film. The greater the density of the material that the x-rays pass through, the more rays are absorbed, and a black/white picture is created based on the diversity of the human substances. For an instance, bones and teeth are made up of very dense matter, and cannot be penetrated by photons, so that area will be completely white on a xray picture.
Air and liquid though will be completely dark, while structures such as tumors, organs etc. will have a grey/white/black configuration, based on its content. If a tumor is in a very late stage, it will have its own vascular properties, which makes it more filled with blood (fluids), and therefore grey/white on an x-ray picture.
X-rays are very useful in diagnostic medicine, and can very fast and easy provide a clear picture of many internal structures, which could not be observed otherwise. The procedure is painless, doesn’t require any patient preparation, and is not time consuming compared to many other examinations.
X-rays have the potential to cause cellular damage, because of the ionizing rays they emit. When a ray hits a cell in the human body, it posses the potential to remove an electron from the atoms, which means they chemical foundation of the human body gets unstable. One of the most common problems, is linked to our DNA, and what keeps it together: the hydrogen bonds. Our DNA is made up of substances kept together by hydrogen bonds, and if a x-ray hit exactly that hydrogen bond, its plausible the structure of the DNA can become fragile, and parts may perhaps break off. However, it’s not a real threat just yet, as we have multiple biochemical responds to such an event, and an enzymatic repair is on its way. But sometimes, this repair does not work properly, and a mutation has occurred. That’s why you never use x-rays on pregnant women, and tries to avoid children getting exposed to x-rays, as a mutation is more critical if the cells are still dividing and growing.