Radiation Exposure Phases and Syndromes
Biologic effects can be categorized generically as acute or chronic. Acute exposure may be for a very short period of time to a higher level radiation source while chronic exposure can either be in extended exposure to low-level source or repetitive exposures to a variety of sources of radiation.
Individual biological differences must be considered. Each person is different and will respond differently to radiation exposure. Extremely high-level radiation exposure is an exception.
In general, radiation causes three major problems in our bodies.
- Radiation can damage DNA and other cellular structures
- Radiation exposure results in cell death immediately or shortly after exposure
- Radiation exposure results in incorrect cellular repair and mutations that can cause cancer and other disease
- age- Younger patients and those with a higher metabolism and cell turnover rate are more susceptible.
- body temperature and overall health
- nonspecific (flu-like symptoms)
- hair loss
- skin irritation
- vascular changes
- blood cell changes
Acute radiation sickness has four phases and may manifest with four separate syndromes.
The four phases of acute radiation sickness are:
- prodromal phase
- latent phase
- manifest phase (sometimes called the period of illness)
- and recovery or death
- Hematopoietic Syndrome
- gastrointestinal syndrome
- cardiovascular syndrome
- and central nervous system syndrome