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X-ray related questions

“How much radiation does a Chest X-ray produce? Should I be worried?”

“Will the X-ray that I had just taken be harmful to my body?”

“When can a radiation level actually harm my body and my cells?”

These are the frequently asked questions that patients usually ask the healthcare professionals as they (Patients) are concerned with the inherent risks of medical radiation exposure.

Radiation is measured using the unit SIEVERT, which quantifies the amount of radiation absorbed by the human tissue. 1 sievert (Sv) is equivalent to 1000 millisieverts (mSv). According to the Reuter’s website, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-how-much-radiation-dangerous/how-much-radiation-is-dangerous-idUSTRE72E79Z20110315 , exposure to 100mSv in ONE year is the lowest level at which any cancer risk is clearly evident. Also, a cumulative of 1000mSv will probably cause a fatal cancer in 5 of every 100 humans exposed to it.

So the question now is, how much radiation does a Chest X-ray give?

According to the chart as shown from the NEA webpage, a single Chest X-ray only gives a dose of 0.05mSv, which is even lesser than the amount of radiation (Cosmic) that you will receive when you travel a round trip between New York and Tokyo! And, regardless if you have any medical radiation exposures, you are most definitely going to receive about 1mSv of radiation due to the background radiation on Earth.

However, even though the radiation dose given for X-ray is on the low side, it is still NOT recommended for patients who are pregnant to undergo the examination UNLESS it is determined that the radiology examination is crucial for the health of the mother.

So the next time when you visit the Doctor and is referred for X-ray, you can feel more informed and less worried!

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