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What Can Radiation Do To The Human Body?

What Can Radiation Do To The Human Body?

Radiation is a tool widely used in the medical field to diagnose ailments and treat diseases such as cancer when administered in sufficient quantities. Moreover, radiation therapy can potentially reduce cancer risk by up to 70%. However, even though radiation is effective in combating cancer, it is not without the potential to cause severe harm to the human body.

The severity of the adverse effects of radiation exposure differs from person to person. It is possible that taking radioprotective drugs or wearing a radiation suit will help lessen the severity of the adverse effects. Other negative effects, on the other hand, may continue for up to half a year after treatment termination. Still, other radiation side effects manifest gradually a few weeks after starting the treatment. The following are the effects of radiation on the human body.  

  • Acute Radiation Syndrome and Skin Burns

Skin burns can occur from prolonged exposure to high radiation levels, especially during a radiation emergency. Additionally, it may result in acute radiation syndrome (ARS), characterized by headaches, abdominal cramping, fatigue, nausea, and even vomiting.

In most cases, they begin within a few hours of starting treatment, and once they die down, the patient will appear healthy for some time. In more severe cases, the acute respiratory syndrome can lead to death in the days or weeks that follow radiation treatment.

  • Mild Radiation Syndrome

Exposure to high radiation- 100 rems and above could reduce the number of lymphocytic cells in the blood system. Referred to as the milder form of radiation syndrome, it could lead to various immune system disorders. Symptoms could still prevail ten years after exposure, as is the case with the Hiroshima and Nagasaki radiation exposure cases.

  • Poor Function of the Heart

If the amount of radiation exposure is greater than 500 rems, there is a significant possibility that it will disrupt the functions of the heart. Radiation can kill nerve cells and the small blood vessels found in the heart, resulting in instant death or other cardiovascular disorders.

  • Cognitive Impairment

Following cranial radiation treatment for brain cancer, cognitive decline is one of the potentially severe side effects patients may encounter. Radiation exposure will cause an immunologic reaction in the brain, breaking the interconnection between the sensory neurons.

  • Hair Loss

One of the most prevalent side effects of cancer treatments is hair loss. If you are receiving chemotherapy, you will likely experience hair loss across your body. However, the area of the body that is receiving radiation therapy typically experiences hair loss. If the radiation is precisely at the head, you will probably only experience hair loss in that area of your body.

Wrapping Up

Radiation has been around for many centuries, and we continue to face exposure to it daily. The human body can resist and recover from exposure to low radiation levels. However, excessive radiation exposure can cause significant damage to the body’s tissues by altering the makeup of cells and causing mutations in DNA, which can result in life-threatening issues such as cancer.


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