Factors causing the diseases
Radiation consists of several types of subatomic particles, principally those called gamma rays, x-rays, neutrons, electrons, and alpha particles, They can easily penetrate deep inside the human body, damaging some of the biological cells of which the body is composed. This damage can cause a fatal cancer to develop, or if it occurs in reproductive cells, it can cause genetic defects in later generations of offspring.
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According to (Radiation poisoning, 2007) “radiation sickness or a creeping dose, is a form of damage to organ tissue due to excessive exposure to ionizing radiation”. The term is generally used to refer to acute problems caused by a large dosage of radiation in a short period. Many of the symptoms of radiation poisoning occur as ionizing radiation interferes with cell division. Common diseases that are caused by radiation exposure are Asthma, Autism, Cancer, Lung Disease, Lupus, Parkinson’s Disease ,and Reproductive Health these diseases are contracted when an individual comes into contact whether internally or externally with dioxins, electric & magnetic fields ,endocrine, disruptors, lead ,mold among other agents.
There are various ways through which people get exposed to radiations, these ways are broadly categorized as air pollution, waste, Water Pollution and through diagnostic therapy. The exposure can be accidental for example of what happened in Chernobyll nuclear power plant disaster while some incidences are deliberate as with the case of Japan during the second world war.These incidences are; radioactive material falling off a truck; contaminated water leaking out of a tank or seeping out of a waste burial ground; a radioactive source used for materials inspection being temporarily misplaced; malfunctions in nuclear plants leading to releases of radioactivity; and so on. There are also incidences of natural radiation such as Ultra violet rays ,cosmis rays ,radiation from radioactive materials like Uraniam, pottassium and and thorium in the ground well known to affect miners. This shows that we should be more concerned to the reduction of human induced exposure to radiation such as diagnostic X-rays are our second largest source of whole body exposure sine we can do little as far as natural radiation is concerned.
Stratospheric ozone depletion threatens to increase exposure to ultraviolet radiation which is known to be a factor in a number of diseases ozone layer depetion is currently attributed to increased air pollution. According to (Bentham.G, 1993) “There is little doubt that cumulative exposure to UV radiation is important in the aetiology of non-melanoma skin cancers. Evidence is also strong for a link with cutaneous malignant melanoma, although here it appears to be intermittent intense exposure that is most damaging”. There is Concern growing that UV may be capable of activating viruses and have immuno-logic effects that might exacerbate infectious disease. He further points out that “there is a possibility that UV exposure can activate the human immunodeficiency virus, therefore there is great concern about the possible exacerbation of these impacts as a result of increased exposure to UV radiation associated with stratospheric ozone depletion.
Main source of UVR contributing to personal exposure is the sun and the major risk is associated with personal habits in relation to solar radiation. For some individuals, however, UVR from artificial sources could contribute significantly to their total exposure. Such sources of exposure include: sunbeds used for cosmetic tanning; a few in industry; those used for medical therapy.
The most serious health effects, for which exposure to UVR is a recognised risk factor, are the cutaneous malignancies (skin cancers). UVB has been recognised for some time as carcinogenic in experimental animals, and there is increasing evidence that UVA, which penetrates more deeply into the skin, also contributes to the induction of cancer. UVC from the sun is absorbed by the earth’s atmosphere, and any arising from artificial sources does not readily penetrate to the sensitive basal layer of the skin.
There are various types of cancer that are associated with exposures to radiation, these includes skin cancer, lung cancer, breast cancer etc. The most serious health effects, for which exposure to UVR is a recognized, are the cutaneous malignancies (skin cancers). UVB has been recognized for some time as carcinogenic in experimental animals, and there is increasing evidence that UVA, which penetrates more deeply into the skin, also contributes to the induction of cancer. UVC from the sun is absorbed by the earth’s atmosphere, and any arising from artificial sources does not readily penetrate to the sensitive basal layer of the skin.
Short-term effects on the skin may be seen as sunburn, principally consisting of erythema (skin reddening resulting from vasodilation) and oedema (swelling), both of which may be very severe. In some people this sunburn is followed by increased production of melanin and is recognized as a suntan. The most serious long-term effect is the induction of cancer. The non-melanoma skin cancers (NMSCs) are mainly basal cell carcinomas and squamous cell carcinomas related to cumulative UVR exposure. Malignant melanoma is the main cause of skin cancer death, particularly in young people.
Radiation-Induced Heart Disease
Radiation therapy (RT) plays an important role in the multimodality management of patients with breast cancer, The heart is a radiosensitive organ and almost always is within the field of radiation and may undergo pathological changes depending on the radiation dose and the volume of cardiac tissue that is irradiated.3-According to (Robert G et.al,2005) “ In the late 1980s, data emerged that older radiotherapy (RT) techniques used in the treatment of breast cancer, particularly after mastectomy, resulted in increased rates of both cardiac morbidity and mortality”. Although modern RT techniques have reduced radiation exposure to the heart, they may not have eliminated cardiotoxicity. He further noted that “women treated by mastectomy and radiation therapy for cancer of either breast between 1949 and 1975 demonstrated that these women were at higher risk of dying of heart disease than were women whose treatment was limited to just the surgical procedure”.
Various researches conducted shows that radiation therapy used to treat breast cancer exposes patients to valvular disease. According to (Arthur H.et.al, 2003) “ of heart valve operations performed after radiation therapy, there were more patients who had had breast cancer than those who had had Hodgkin’s disease”.
Mediastinal irradiation used to treat Hodgkin’s disease injures the endothelial cells in the capillaries of the heart’s microcirculation. This initially causes capillary swelling and fibrin formation, resulting in a compromise of blood supply. This later is followed by fibrosis of tissues with resultant anatomical distortion and functional. As radiation-associated valvular disease progresses, the dimensions of the left ventricle and atrium may increase, and the patient may become symptomatic and exhibit signs of heart failure a condition known as valvular disease.
Coronary artery disease
This is another type of heart disease caused by the exposure of Mediastinal irradiation used to treat Hodgkin’s disease this is because standard therapeutic doses of radiation can cause endothelial proliferation, fibroblast proliferation, collagen deposition and fibrosis, all of which are within the large branches of the coronary arteries. These changes can lead to an accelerated form of atherosclerosis and an increased risk of experiencing nonfatal and fatal myocardial infractions. The microvasculature supplying the myocardium likewise is fibrosed by the radiation therapy used to treat cancer, compounding the issues of cardiac ischemia hence resulting to death. (Robert G et.al, 2005) noted that “Coronary artery disease, or CAD, has been documented in children and adolescents treated with mediastinal irradiation for Hodgkin’s disease. They have an 8 percent risk of experiencing a fatal or nonfatal myocardial infarction at 22 years”.
Arthur h. et.al. Radiation-induced Heart disease after Hodgkin’s Disease and Breast Cancer Treatment, London,2003.
Bentam.G. Depletion of the Ozone layer and Change in the incidence of Diseases, 1993.
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