In 1895, the German professor Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen discovers x-rays. They are called x-rays because of their unknown nature. With their help, medicine penetrates deep into the human body and overcomes a huge number of diseases. It is one of the greatest achievements of the twentieth century, for which Wilhelm Roentgen got the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1901.
What are actually X-rays?
They are some kind of electromagnetic waves, such as light and radio waves, they are not recorded by the human senses, but have ionizing activity. The ionizing radiation has the ability, while passing through living matter, to cause ionization and thus cause harmful effects on living functions of tissues and organs. When such X-rays are passing through the human body, some of them are absorbed, but not equally everywhere – depends on what kind of tissue or organ is about. The most strongly absorbed are bones and bone tissues, less visible are muscle and adipose tissue, and least visible are the lungs or other tissues and areas with high levels of air.
For what are they used?
X-rays are most widely used for diagnostic. On this way are detected and followed various diseases of various organs and systems. They can be used for screening, which is a massive examination of healthy people in order to early detect and prevent certain diseases, such as tuberculosis and breast cancer. They can be used as radiation therapy for treatment of certain malignant diseases.
Is there a risk in X-ray examination?
The risks of excessive radiation with ionizing rays such as X-rays are basis for the development of malignant diseases and cancer tissue degeneration. But are the x-rays really dangerous? Radiation has always attended in human existence.
Ionizing radiation gives energy to the human organs. The energy delivered per unit mass is called dose. The risk is higher at higher doses of radiation. In X-rays examinations, very low doses of radiation are used, 10,000 times smaller than the dose required to develop radiation diseases or skin wounds. It considered that with x-ray examinations, the risk of increasing the original natural probability for cancer occurrence is minimal. The risk depends on the place and the area that are examined. Every third person statistically gets sick from cancer and even though he never has been made roentgenographs. It is estimated that examination of bones, skull and lungs can cause cancer of 1 in 1 million patients. The same risk of death exists at 100 km journey by car, 1000 km journey by plane or simply smoking 1-3 cigarettes per day.