At Doctors Imaging, we pride ourselves on helping patients understand more about medical imaging and help dispelling the rumors and myths that surround this area of medicine. The most common misrepresentation about medical imaging procedures is that there is a major risk of radiation in medical imaging.
Radiation is defined as “the emission of energy.” We know that radiation used improperly can be a dangerous entity. Much fear is prevalent thanks to the threat of nuclear weapons, movie reels of the atomic bombs in WWII, and from sci-fi thriller movies showing the disfigured or superhuman powers given to those exposed to high levels of radiation. And this, we believe, is where a lot of miscommunication surrounding medical imaging is derived. Popular culture has sensationalized the damage of radiation. Let’s be clear, radiation in high doses is extremely dangerous. However, what you are exposed to during in medical diagnosis is a tiny fractional percentage of that amount.
There are several sources of radiation that people are exposed to everyday and yet you manage to look the same and not develop any crime-fighting abilities. Sources like:
Of course the sun provides radiation! Something that we experience everyday and usually enjoy. Yet, if we have too much sun, what happens? You can feel “sunsick,” overheated, dehydrated, and burn. There is a reason that so many doctors try to dissuade against their patients using self-tanning beds and booths, UV rays blasting the skin at such a close distance corrupts DNA and destroys collagen. However, sunlight is just as important to health as protecting against it.
Oh, your parents were right when they told you not to sit so close to the television. Older television sets and computers contained a cathode tube that emited low levels of X-rays. Thankfully, the FDA requires companies to test to make sure the emissions coming from these products do not exceed approved and acceptable X-ray levels.
There are bits of radioactive material in the Earth’s crust which is still found in the soil. Sometimes these radioactive particles can end up in water supply and food sources but luckily the EPA and FDA regularly test for it.
The radiation in medical imaging procedures is very small. The machinery is calibrated to the lowest possible setting while still getting the most useful image. When you consider the benefits that medical imaging brings, they far outweigh the possible and theoretical side effects, especially since there has never been a case of someone becoming sick or ill because of a medical imaging procedure.
Ready to schedule your imaging exam? Get an appointment with Doctors Imaging online, or by calling 504-883-8111 today!