Nuclear medicine

Fundamental Knowledge about Radiation and Nuclear Medicine


Nuclear medicineThe radiation that nuclear medicine makes use of is a type of energy that’s given off by some devices and materials. Everyday, we are exposed to what is called ‘background’ radiation. These include cosmic rays from space, radon gas in our houses, radioactivity in the earth and in our bodies.

We should stay safe by watching out for radiation symbols posted around us. Check below to know about radiation symbols.

Types of Radiation

Ionizing radiation

This type of radiation can cause specific changes in molecules. It can be found in x-rays, gamma rays and particles. Too much ionizing radiation may damage tissues.

Low-Energy radiation

This is also called non-ionizing radiation. They include microwaves, visible light and sound waves.

Measurement for Radiation

The internationally accepted unit of measurement for radiation amounts received by a patient is the ‘millisievert’ (mSv).

There is also the traditional unit called ‘millirem’ (mrem) which is used sometimes. 1 millisievert is equal to 100 mrem.

Radiation symbol

A radiation symbol is a warning sign that uses black or magenta on a yellow background. It can come with a text which clearly indicates a radiation warning or simply stand alone.

It’s compulsory for a radiation symbol or sign to be posted where radioactive materials or radiation-producing machines are located.

Safe amounts of radiation

According to some sources, it’s difficult to fully establish the exact safe amount of radiation. However, exposure to high levels of ionizing radiation can be detrimental to our health. A possible danger is cancer.

Nuclear Medicine

Nuclear medicine is a unique type of medicine that makes use of safe and cheap techniques to image the body and administer treatment. In nuclear medicine, very small amounts of radioactive pharmaceuticals are used and their progress your body monitored .

It is unique because it shows how your body is working, unlike CT scans and x-rays which can only show how your body looks. This type of medium therapy makes use of radiation to treat diseases like cancer.

Side Effects of Nuclear Medicine

There are various side effects that are triggered mostly by wrong use or overuse of nuclear medicine and these depends on the type of radiation and the extent of exposure. As long as it is used according to prescription and for the right patient, there is minimal risk.

Check the Cancer Awareness Organizations for more details regarding Nuclear Medicine.

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