Radiology tests: ‘Patients fear not, CT scan is safe’

RADIOLOGY machines, particularly CT (Computerised Tomography) scan, cause neither pain nor any harm, but some patients do run from them.

Worse still, one might abruptly wake up from the machine and run away while it is already on – detecting a problem.

Such a situation disrupts the process, thus, brings no good end results, a Radiologist at Sekou Toure Mwanza Regional Referral Hospital, Dr Theresia Mabula tells the ‘Daily News’.

Next is repetition of the test, a step that exposes the patient to too much radiation, hence triggering more health complications, mostly cancers.

“Machine fearing is one of the serious challenges we face, but we intensify public education to let the patients know that there is no harm. The machine is safe at all,” she stresses. Before entering the machine, the patients are informed on especially the duration they might spend in it, which is between five to 30 minutes.

Thirty minutes are for those who must be first injected, to let the medicine help in detecting where the problem is and its scope. In most cases, those suffering from the swelling (in the brain, for instance) as well as challenges in the digestive system and blood vessels should be injected.

People with problems like fractures, do not get injected, and are ones who spend not beyond five minutes in the CT scan.

Again, those suffering from, for instance, cardiac, high blood pressure and kidney disorders are not to be injected since the drug might cause serious health complications, even death.

“Some do become allergic,” affirms Dr Mabula.

Her colleague, (Radiologist), Dr Tausi Mashaka , advises people to avoid regular radiation tests because too much exposure to them (radiations) might lead to blood cells misbehavior.

The said misbehaviors cause, among others, too many abnormal cells rereproduction in the human body, thus lead into more health complications, mostly skin cancer. Other types of cancer are to be determined according to how the cells are quickly reproduced, travel, die and get rotten on a certain part of a person’ body.

“We keep on educating and advising our clients who have been forcing the tests here to avoid unnecessary radiation tests. Let people know that having a single X-ray examination is equal to exposure to Sun rays three days consecutively,” she says.

Dr Mashaka urges those whose economic activities’ nature is to be exposed to sunrays, including petty traders, alias Machinga, to have preventive measures, such as being covered by umbrellas, to avoid too much radiation. It is further noted that over exposure might cause hard breathing, fast heart beats, lack of oxygen in the brain, weak muscles as well as fatigue in general.

She reiterates that those who visit Sekou Toure Hospital are deeply interrogated to identify the real needy of radiation services, in a bid to protect them from possible harm.

The needy are well covered by protective gear before entering the machine, to prevent them from radiation penetration to other parts of their bodies, but only in targeted areas.

“Not only patients, but modern protective gears are for us, service providers,” affirms Dr Mashaka.

A pregnant woman is strictly not allowed to have radiation tests, unless she faces serious health problems that might lead to death, like fatal injuries on head. Like any other patient, the pregnant woman is to be covered by safety gear, to protect the radiation’s penetration, especially in the stomach.

Among possible negative impacts to an expectant mother when they have unnecessary radiation tests are miscarriage and having the baby with malformations.

The baby might also suffer from mental health problems, mostly autism, the experts say. Sometime, a baby might come with a normal look (physically fit), but carrying cancer genetics, which might not directly affect him/her, but his/her biological generations. Dr Mashaka stresses that always, radiation tests should be recommended by the doctors, to help them detect the problem and its scope, for proper treatments to patients.

“We, radiologists, also verify whether the patient is really in need of our services. No objection for those suffering from fractures, symptoms of Tuberculosis, Pneumonia and strokes,” she says.

After examinations and problems identification, the patients should adhere to a balanced diet’s directives, for quick and timely recovery, so as to avoid regular radiation tests.

According to her, people are normally encouraged to often go for health checkups, but not through radiation services, to avoid too much exposure. If possible, let one take the test at-least twice a year, despite the fact that some people, like those with fractures, are most likely to go beyond.

They have to undergo the first test before the fractured area is covered by the bandage, popularly known as P.O.P. The second examination takes place immediately after the affected area has been covered, so as to observe how properly the borne have been well collected.

The third test takes place before the P.O.P is put-off, to observe whether the problem has been solved or not.

The tests therefore might be over and over if the patient doesn’t adhere to experts’ directives, says Dr Mashaka, explaining further that: Normally, recovery for adults’ borne takes somehow long, compared to children, simply because their (borne) growth process has already ended.

Again, close supervision is important by parents whose children are stubborn, to help them avoid dangerous games that might disturb the fractures and delay the recovery.

One of the patients in need of radiation tests at Sekou Toure, Mr Rashid Zahoro, admits to having no knowledge over the impacts of exposure to too much radiation, calling up on endless public education, in and outside the hospital.

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