Harmful Effects of Radiation

The harmful effects of radiation come from either the ultraviolet rays of the sun and tanning booths or the ionizing energy from medical treatments and radioactive elements from nuclear power plants. Side effects on your health include thyroid cancer and poisoning.

What is ionizing radiation? It consists of high energy waves that are able to penetrate your cells and cause charging in the different parts of your cell.

It is also used to treat cancers. Ironically, it is proven that it causes cancer of another type in the person undergoing said method of treatment.

Radioactive elements include Iodine-131, Cesium-137 and Plutonium. These elements pose a lot of dangers on your health such as . . .

  • Release of free radicals

Free radicals can cause damage to the DNA of your genes. A damage in the DNA leads to genetic mutations.

  • Harmful mutations in the DNA

Mutations may lead either to a growth of a malignant tumor or to the death of the cell.

  • Damage to the RNA and the proteins that oversee vital cell processes

The DNA is very sensitive to the harmful effects of both ultraviolet and ionizing radiation. When the DNA is charged, it becomes unstable and weak against harmful chemical changes. However, each of your cell is capable of repairing certain levels of cell damage.

At low doses and infrequent exposure to ionizing radiation, cellular damage can be rapidly repaired. Tumors also don't grow overnight.

It causes cancer when its side effects are extensive cell damage or genetic mutations that can't be repaired.

Either death of a cell or cell damage happens with frequent exposure to it. Failure of cells to replace whatever died and inability of tissues to function may also happen due to extremely high doses of harmful ionizing radiation.

Effects on tissues and organs in your body differ in terms of sensitivity. Many of your organs are extremely vulnerable to radiation effects.

Organs Highly Sensitive to UV and Ionizing Radiation

  • Blood-forming organs like the bone marrow

This is why patients undergoing extensive radiation therapy are more vulnerable to developing leukemia.

It was Marie Curie who discovered radium and ironically, she was believed to have died of leukemia. So did her daughter.

The first cancer case that was caused by radiation was confirmed in 1902. The first report of leukemia happened among radiation workers in 1911.

  • Thyroid gland

Your thyroid gland is very sensitive to the radioactive element known as Iodine-131. It easily absorbs I-131 causing mutations in its cells.

  • Reproductive organs
  • Skin

Your skin is your biggest organ and your first defense. It's the first organ to absorb radiation. Melanin is your skin's natural protection but it's not enough against intense level of radiation.

  • Bones and teeth
  • Muscles
  • Lungs

Lung cancer, particularly the small cell type, is one of the side effects of exposure to high and frequent doses of ionizing radiation. It is found to be very common among uranium miners.

The nervous system is the least sensitive to the dangers ionizing radiation brings.

So, now that you know the implications of radiation exposure on your health, it's wise to learn how to protect yourself against it.

Related Pages You Might Like:

Prevention Strategies Against Radiation | Different Cancers: Side Effects of Radiation | Harmful Effects of Ultraviolet Radiation | Dangers of Ultraviolet Rays | How Ionizing Radiation Causes Cancer

Harmful Effects of Radiation

Cancer Prevention Home > Leukemia Causes > Implications of Radiation Exposure

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