by: Elizabeth Renter
July 26, 2012
CT scans are used for the diagnosis of a numerous health symptoms in today’s society. They allow your doctor a clear picture of the inner workings of your body, but unfortunately these screenings come with a price. Using one example, a cardiac CT angiogram, or a cardiac CTA, specifically looks for blockages in the heart, but this helpful medical tool may be doing some serious additional harm.
Cardiac CTA Equals to 600 Chest X-Rays, or Four Years of Background Radiation
According to researchers at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, a cardiac CTA exposes patients to the same amount of radiation as 600 chest X-rays – an amount of radiation also close to a single piece of radioactive food.
Researchers warn that in many cases, the benefits of a cardiac CTA outweigh the risks and caution people against swearing them off entirely, but it can be difficult to tell when you truly need to go through such a risky screening.
Dr. Gilbert Raff of the Ministrelli Center for Advanced Cardiovascular Imaging at the William Beaumont Hospital says that comparing the radiation amounts to those of regular X-rays is unfair, that “modern technology has reduced the chest X-ray [radiation] dose so substantially that it is no longer a fair or reasonable target to use.” Of course the mere nature of his position as director at the Center for Advanced Cardiovascular Imaging begs us to question his impartiality.
To compare the radiation of a cardiac CTA to something else, scientists find it is equal to four years of background radiation that the average person generally encounters in day to day living.
The FDA has made suggestions to medical professionals administering CT scans in order to reduce radiation exposure, but the same study found that not everyone was following these recommendations. Things like optimizing CT settings, reducing multiple scans, and eliminating inappropriate referrals for CT scans are just a few ways to reduce the risks of radiation exposure.
Needless to say, this isn’t the only alarming research surrounding CT scans. Other research also shows how CT scan radiation triples brain tumor risk in children. These CT scans, routinely performed on children and adults alike at the suggestion of their doctor, may specifically triple the risk of developing leukemia or brain tumors in children.
If your doctor recommends a cardiac CTA or any other CT or radiology scan, there are things you can do to reduce the effects of radiation. First of all, ensure the scan is absolutely necessary – most of the time, they simply are not. Ask if there is another way, such as an ultrasound or even an MRI. Also, ask the CT technician or your doctor if they are following the FDA’s recommendations to reduce radiation in the use of CT scans. Much of the time doctors will brush off your concerns, but don’t be afraid to step up and voice your concerns.
Global Healing Center recommends natural remedies like beets, brewers yeast, and certain clays to counteract or flush out the radiation.