Dr. Jack Kunkel
Radiation refers to energy that is emitted from a source in the form of waves or particles, and it can come from both natural sources (such as cosmic radiation or radon gas) and human-made sources (such as nuclear power plants or medical imaging machines).
Radiation is all around us and is used safely in many applications but can damage living tissue by ionizing atoms and molecules in the body, leading to cellular damage and genetic mutations that can increase the risk of cancer and other health problems.
What is radiation sickness? Radiation sickness, also known as Acute Radiation Syndrome (ARS) which is caused by irradiation of the entire body caused by exposure to a high dose of ionizing radiation.
How can radiation impact the body?
The type of radiation sickness will depend on the period of time you were exposed to radiation, the part of the body exposed, and the intensity of the radiation itself. For example, exposure to high levels of radiation can cause immediate damage to the body, while long-term exposure to lower levels of radiation can increase the risk of cancer and other health problems.
Some ways radiation can impact the body are:
- Damage to DNA: Radiation can ionize atoms and molecules in the body, which can lead to damage to DNA. This can result in mutations and chromosomal abnormalities that can increase the risk of cancer and other health problems.
- Acute radiation syndrome (ARS): Exposure to high levels of radiation in a short amount of time can cause ARS, which can lead to symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and skin burns. ARS can be fatal if left untreated.
- Cancer: Long-term exposure to radiation can increase the risk of cancer. Radiation can damage DNA, leading to mutations that can lead to the development of cancer cells.
- Reproductive problems: Exposure to radiation can affect the reproductive system, leading to problems such as infertility, miscarriage, and birth defects.
Did you know? Most radiation exposure in America comes from our drinking water.
According to the The Environmental Working Group, 170 million Americans are drinking radium, which is 3000x stronger than uranium!
This is very damaging to the body over time because radioactive elements such as radium are like hot coals— they are always emitting damaging energy from inside the body.