Radiation sickness, like any other, has consequences. In most cases, they are grave. To learn more about the consequences of radiation sickness, you first need to determine its degree of severity.
There are four degrees of severity. The first (light) is caused by the absorbed radiation dose of 1-2 Gy (gray, the unit of ionizing radiation dose), with the symptoms becoming apparent in 2-3 weeks. The second (of average severity) corresponds to the dose of 2-5 Gy, with the first symptoms observed in five days. The third degree (severe) is associated with the dose of 5-10 Gy is attributed, with the onset of symptoms in 10-12 hours. The fourth degree of severity (extremely severe) is caused by doses of more than 10 Gy, with the symptoms appearing as shortly as within half an hour after the exposure.
Pathological changes in the human body after radiation exposure depend on the total dose received. A dose of up to 1 Gy has relatively light consequences. A dose of more than 1 Gy may result in the development of a bone marrow or gastrointestinal form of radiation sickness, which, in turn, ranges from mild to extremely serious. One-time exposure with a dose of more than 10 Gy, as a rule, is lethal.
The long-term (months or years) results of a regular or one-time minor exposure may have consequences in the form of various pathological effects. Disorders of reproductive and immune systems, sclerotic pathology, radiation cataract, shortened life expectancy, genetic abnormalities, and teratogenic effects are classified as consequences of prolonged exposure.
The process of diagnosing and treating radiation sickness may involve family physician as well as specialty health professionals such as oncologist and hematologist. The diagnosis is based on the clinical signs that typically appear after exposure to radiation. The absorbed dose may be detected using dosimetry data and by chromosomal analysis during the first two days after the exposure. This allows for measuring the quantitative parameters of the radioactive effect on the tissue, identifying the acute form of the disease, and choosing correct treatment tactics,.
Diagnosing radiation sickness requires a whole range of procedures: specialist consultation, blood tests, bone marrow biopsy, general assessment of the circulatory system, electroencephalography, computed tomography, and ultrasound. As additional diagnostic methods, dosimetry analyses of blood, feces, and urine are carried out. If the results of all these tests are available, the physician can identify the degree of the disease and prescribe the treatment.
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