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Medical Radiation And Circulatory Diseases

Updated on October 13, 2010

Researchers are still continuing their work to find out the biological and medical effects of ionizing radiation on humans because concrete results are still eluding them. After intensive research that spanned several decades, experts have come out with conclusive evidence that exposure to high doses of radiation may cause cancer. But, these experts themselves are not very sure about the results of low doses. These experts appear to have presumed that radiation doses may be carcinogenic, irrespective of the dosage levels.

Evidence of recent studies shows that there may be links between radiation exposure and heart ailments, which are non-cancer diseases. Though there have been apprehensions about these links for the last many years, a report entitled "Circulatory Disease Risk" released by by the UK Health Protection Agency discusses at length, the risks and causes of circulatory diseases in which exposure to ionizing radiation also finds a place. This report advises the doctors and clinicians to be more careful in using medical radiation in diagnosis and therapy. They are also advised to keep the radiation doses at the lowest level when they use them especially for the brain and the heart.

Further research continues to take place for understanding and confirming the links between radiation exposure and non-cancer diseases like circulatory diseases. Since circulatory diseases have already proved to be a major problem among a large population, the risks due to exposure to radiation may compound the effect on these people. In UK alone, about 34 per cent of deaths are caused due to circulatory diseases.

Experiments with animal models have already proved that high doses of radiation increase the risk of circulatory diseases. But, the results of these experiments are proving to be elusive in the case of humans because of the use of cardio-toxic drugs and their effects on chemotherapy.

But, a study conducted on atomic bomb survivors and nuclear workers have proved that there is an increased risk of circulatory diseases in these people. Therefore, experts are convincingly coming out with their predictions that there is a strong association between exposure to radiation and circulatory diseases. But, they themselves agree that more research needs to be done on this. As a precautionary step, oncologists are advised to make suitable modifications to their treatment practices so that patients are subjected to less of medical radiation during diagnosis and therapy.

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