Radiation is a part of our environment. It exists around us naturally, whether from the sun, other sources in space, or from radioactive materials occurring naturally in the earth, or that have been created by humans. It has been harnessed to great effect on the medical profession as a diagnostic and therapeutic tool, and is also something we need to guard against in large amounts Glenmed  Professional Healthcare Solutions takes a closer look at radiation and its complex relationship with human health.

Read our blog for more key information on the medical industry and medical devices.

What Is Radiation? 

Radiation is energy that moves at very high speeds through space or matter. It occurs in the form of waves, such as light, heat, radio waves, microwaves and gamma rays, or as particles such as alpha or beta particles, which are emitted by radioactive materials.

In the health industry, we are usually most concerned with ionizing radiation. This is radiation that produces ions when it interacts with matter. Ions are charged particles that are produced when electrons are removed from their positions in atoms. Alpha particles, beta particles, x-rays and gamma rays are all forms of ionizing radiation.

Read Next: The Importance of Quality Medical Equipment for Patient Care

What Effect Does Ionizing Radiation Have On Human Health? 

Ionizing radiation can have a marked effect on human health because it has the ability to affect our bodies at the cellular level.  It can break the bonds that form various kind of molecules in our cells, and thus cause potentially harmful changes. For example, DNA molecules, which control the chemical and physical functions in our cells, are susceptible to radiation damage. In most cases, the DNA molecules can repair themselves, but there can still be an adverse effect on cells’ ability to carry out their function and pass on genetic information. The types of health effects that result from radiation damage will differ depending on the dose received.

The types of health effects that arise from exposure to radiation range from long-term genetic effects and cancer (described as non-threshold effects, i.e. those that develop a long time after the original exposure) and symptoms such as radiation sickness, cataracts and sterility.

In some professions and areas, the risk of exposure to radiation is significant, making radiation detectors and survey meters a necessity. RaySafe is a particularly trusted name in radiation measuring instruments. Their meters are used in hospitals, labs and industrial settings. Staying aware of the level of radiation in your vicinity can prevent you from exposing yourself to potentially harmful doses. 

Trust Glenmed Professional Healthcare Solutions as Your Go-To Provider of Professional Medical Services

Glenmed is a licensed South African distributor for some of the world’s most trusted medical technology brands. Contact us to find out how we can help you equip your medical facility, as well as train your staff and maintain your equipment.

Now Read: 5 Interesting Facts About Ultrasounds and Their Many Uses