Radiation is all around us, in fact there is a very low level of radiation that permeates our planet. Commonly known as “background radiation”, we are exposed to these very low levels every day without harm.
However, millions of people are exposed to slightly higher levels of radiation every day, almost all of the time the exposure is set well below the ability to cause damage. Mostly used for medical or dental purposes, the radiation is generally in the form of x-rays which can reveal the inside of our bodies to detect cavities, tumors or other medical issues that may be inside us.
Also, radiation can be used as a treatment against cancerous tumors. By aligning separate pinpoint beams of radiation, the tumors can be destroyed without harming the other cells in the body. However, continued exposure to radiation at low levels or a single exposure to high levels of radiation can cause serious health effects.
There are essentially two types of health effects cause by radiation exposure. Commonly known as Stochastic and Non-Stochastic, which to put in layman’s terms is either long term exposure to low levels of radiation or short term exposure to high levels of radiation.
Short term exposure to high levels of radiation is quite uncommon. In these cases those not immediately killed were afflicted with radiation poisoning that generally resulted in death within two months time.
However, the long term effects of exposure to low levels of radiation are different in nature and far more common. Generally speaking, most people that suffer from these effects have either been repeatedly treated by radiation or are medical personnel that have been exposed repeatedly over the years. In either case, here are the general long term effects of radiation exposure.
This is the most commonly known form of long term effects for radiation exposure. Cancer is essentially the uncontrolled growth of damaged or mutated cells. Since the effects of radiation breaks up the chemical bonds in both atoms and molecules, this makes radiation one of the most potent carcinogens in causing cancer.
Cancer caused by radiation can take years to develop, depending on the individual and the amount of exposure that they have endured. The type of cancer can vary as well, depending on a number of factors, though leukemia, breast and lung cancer are often the most common forms.
Because children are still growing, they are actually more vulnerable to cancers caused by radiation than adults. The rapid cell division of children as they grow can make radiation-caused cancer particularly insidious as it mutates and grows at a faster rate.
Another effect of the long term effects of radiation exposure is damaging the delicate cells that create life. In both men and women the ability to reproduce has been compromised. While sterility is not a threat to the life of the person, it can carry great psychological effects.
These are the two most common long term effects of continued exposure to low levels of radiation. For medical personnel and patients, precaution is advised to insure limiting the exposure as much as possible.
About the Author: RadTrac goes a step above simply tracking radiation. It monitors increasing amounts of radiation exposure and alerts imaging sectors when ranks are too great. RadTrac is the solution with a proactive approach that gives radiology departments the tools to be leaders in hospital safety. Visit their web site for more information on their radiation monitoring services.