Radiation is energy that is sent out from a source. Radiation exposure is when a person is exposed to this energy. There are different forms of radiation. Some come from nature and some are manmade. There are the ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun. There is also the radiation used in microwaves to heat food. Radiation is divided into: This fact sheet will focus on ionizing radiation.
Radiation pneumonitis is an inflammation of the lung tissue. Radiation pneumonitis often appears between 6 and 24 weeks after radiation therapy. Air moves through the airways into air sacs of the lungs called alveoli. The alveoli have several blood vessels that allow for gas exchange between the lungs and blood. Oxygen can pass from the lungs to the blood and carbon dioxide can pass from the blood to the lungs. Radiation pneumonitis causes inflammation in these alveoli. The inflammation can decrease the amount of oxygen that enters your body. If it remains untreated, pneumonitis can also lead to permanent tissue damage.
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