What does barium do? | AnswersDrive

Barium sulfate works by coating the inside of your esophagus, stomach, or intestines which allows them to be seen more clearly on a CT scan or other radiologic (x-ray) examination. Barium sulfate is used to help diagnose certain disorders of the esophagus, stomach, or intestines.

Regarding this, what are the health effects of barium?

Small amounts of water-soluble barium may cause a person to experience breathing difficulties, increased blood pressures, heart rhythm changes, stomach irritation, muscle weakness, changes in nerve reflexes, swelling of brains and liver, kidney and heart damage. Barium has not shown to cause cancer with humans.

Where can barium be found?

Barium is a chemical element with symbol Ba and atomic number 56. It is the fifth element in group 2 and is a soft, silvery alkaline earth metal. Because of its high chemical reactivity, barium is never found in nature as a free element.

Is the barium radioactive?

The one radioactive isotope, Ba-130, has a half life of about 10^21 years, or about 100 million times the age of the universe. So, yes, the barium sulfate used for x-ray contrast studies is, technically, radioactive.

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