Radioactivity can be described as the impulsive release of energy from atoms that are not constant. This happens because the atoms release radioactive materials from the nucleus as they decompose. The elements involved in this radioactive process include uranium, thorium and other potassium that have been broken. The radioactivity process occurs when too many neutrons are released to form a beta particle, thus changing a neutron into a proton (Howell, 2008). The same happens when too many protons are released into the nucleus forming a positron; this changes the proton into a neutron. This whole energy releases a gamma ray, which discards great energy without changing any nucleus particles. Radioactivity is not a biological process but a physical process
Uses of Radioactivity in Healthcare
Today, radioactivity has its medicinal value; it is used to develop diagnostic imaging in hospitals. In addition, it has therapeutic value for the treatment of various health conditions like diseases. This technique is in the forefront of research as an improvised method to diagnose diseases. Radioactivity is used in the treatment of diseases like Parkinson’s disease, cancers, rejection of organ transplants, leukemia among many other health conditions. Out of every four people that walk into hospitals in the United States, at least one is diagnosed or undergoes radioactivity therapy. The use of radioactivity can also be applied in different areas that include sterilizing medical instruments, producing heat and electric power and even in the food and drugs industry (Bonche, 2007).
Radioactivity or radiation gives high standards of health and quality life. Throughout the world, radioactivity has proved its medicinal purpose (Howell, 2008). In the United States, statistics show that 30 million Americans in hospitals are diagnosed or treated with this technique (Bonche, 2007). Isotopes are the major components that are used in healthcare because isotopes have specific radioactive properties containing medicinal value. Tracers, which are considered as radioactive materials, help in diagnosing bone scans, kidney scans and many others. These isotopes are labeled radioactively so that they may identify the strange bodily processes. The use of special cameras to take pictures in the various ailing areas is used to detect the internal workings in the bone.
The radioactive processes are very useful because when a patient is diagnosed using a bone scan, it is easier to detect cancer 6 to 18 months earlier than if one would have an x-ray performed for diagnosis. Radioactivity is used for the purpose of biomedical research. It helps in the researching of causes and treatment for fatal diseases like cancer, HIV/AIDS and gout. Testing of pharmaceutical drugs is 80% done using radioactivity (Zimmermann, 2007).
Future Trends in Healthcare with respect to the use of Radioactivity
In this day and time, the use of gamma rays is recognized for its worth, and how supple and adaptable it is. Apart from treatment and diagnosis, it is used for sterilizing very many products and it is known for its cost-effectiveness. However, this process not only applies today but it relevantly has a great trend in the future (Bonche, 2007). In 30 or so years to come, the aged will be a lot much greater than today due to the high quality techniques adopted. The demand for radioactive services expands from time to time and it is of great significance for patients with unmanageable diseases. As much as predicting the future is difficult, the radioactive trend is seen to bear fruits. Radioactive diagnosis will not only be centered in major hospitals but also private health practioners will be able to offer these services in the comfort of their clinics.
In the future, the use of biological and molecular imaging will have more popularity so that smaller tumors that are cellular and invisible to the eye are detected in their initial stages. There will be real time tracking of moving tumors together with contained methods to measure tumor responses in the course of treatment (Zimmermann, 2007). Cancer will be treated and diagnosed physiologically and anatomically so that the patient can be examined and an image data is planned for treatment. Chemotherapy and optimized combinations of radiation may be used as enhancers to establish how radioactivity has responded in other forms of cancer. A prediction of the future holds more hope for cancer patients; it will be manageable and not stereotyped as a killer disease.
Bonche, P. (2007). Nuclear medicine: Radioactivity for diagnosis and therapy. S.l.: Edp Sciences.
Howell, R. (January 01, 2008). Auger processes in the 21st century. International Journal of Radiation Biology, 84, 12, 959-975
Zimmermann, R. (2007). Nuclear medicine: Radioactivity for diagnosis and therapy. Les Ulis: EDP Sciences.