X-rays are generally done to look at the structures inside the body. It is an imaging technique in which minimal dose /low dose of X-ray radiations are used to study the body parts. The density or thickness of the body part determines how much the part absorbs the X-ray beams. Our bones are highly dense body parts, as a result they are the easiest to get images of because they appear very white on X-ray films. Muscles are less thick or dense than bones so they appear grayish color. Air in the lungs appear in black color. In some X-ray tests, patients are given chemical solutions such as barium, iodine or other as a contrast medium to create images with more details.
The doctor may request for an X-ray test for the following reasons. Infections and fractures - To diagnose an infection or fracture affecting a bone or tooth, this clearly shows up on an X-ray Dental decay - X-rays clearly show cavities. Arthritis - X-rays can show certain changes consistent with arthritis Osteoporosis - Doctor can use certain X-rays to measure bone density Bone cancer - Tumors on bone show up on X-rays X-rays test is widely used for the following reasons: Lung conditions and infections - The doctor can find evidence of tuberculosis, lung cancer and pneumonia on X-rays Enlarged heart - The size of the heart can be detected on an X-ray Breast cancer - Certain types of X-rays techniques are used to diagnose breast cancer Blocked blood vessels - With a contrast dye, the doctor can find blood vessel blockages with an X-ray test techniques. This is used in an angiography examination. Abdominal X-rays help with the following: Digestive tract problems - the doctor can visualize the digestive tract using contrast dyes and X-rays Foreign objects - If someone swallows a foreign object, an X-ray can find these.
X-rays tests are generally safe. There is some exposure to radiations, but the amount of radiations used is very low. If the contrast medium is used, there are a few side effects that the patient should be aware of, including: • Feeling of warmth • Feeling lightheaded • Itching • Metallic taste in your mouth • Nausea • Hives In rare cases, more serious side effects can occur and these include: • Anaphylactic shock • Severely low blood pressure • Cardiac arrest The patient is required to follow instructions of the doctor and if feels any of the above reaction, inform the doctor immediately.
Follow the instructions of the doctor. The type of preparation required depends on the type of X-ray tests. The patient should remove all metal jewelry from the body. If contrast medium or dye is required, the patient will need to have it given before the X-ray as an IV injection.
During an X-ray the patient will lie on a table or stand up against the machine. A technician will help to get into the proper position so that the right images can be obtained. After the routine X-ray, the patient can almost always return to the normal daily activities. Depending on why and where the X-ray is taken, the patient may receive the results immediately or may have to wait a few days for a radiologist to review the images and provide a definitive result.
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