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Dr. Rick
Dr. Rick, Board Certified MD
Category: Eye
Satisfied Customers: 10896
Experience:  Ophthalmology since 1994 with Retina sub-specialty interest
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My friend suffers from Graves disease,macular digeneration,hypothyroidism

Resolved Question:

My friend suffers from Graves disease,macular digeneration,hypothyroidism and lupus.We want to know if excess exposure to radiation could be as likely as not the cause of any or all of these diseases.
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Eye
Expert:  Dr. Rick replied 5 years ago.

Dr. Rick :

Hi. I'm online and happy to answer your question today.

Dr. Rick :

Could you tell me how it is that your friend became exposed to radiation? And, also, how much radiation, what type (Gamma, alpha, beta etc. Total body external, internal, industrial etc)

Customer:

Yes,we believe he was exposed to radioactive emmissions iodine-131 and other radio isotopes.He drove heavy equipment in the 50's and early 60's inhaling large amounts of dust and smoke from nuclear plant emmissions.His employment was for 4 years.

Dr. Rick :

OK.

Dr. Rick :

I do not believe that the exposure you discussed contributed to his macular degeneration. As far as his graves orbitopathy, that is caused by an attack on the orbital tissues by his own bodies immune system and would, also, have nothing to do with exposure to radiation in the manor you pointed out, even though it was possibly I 131.

Dr. Rick :

As an eye doctor, I must admit that I don't know all the minute details of lupus....I only deal with the ocular issues as it relates to this condition. As far as radiation and lupus I would suggest you talk to an endocrinologist.....but, just off the cuff, I don't think the lupus would be caused by your friends exposure so many years ago.

Dr. Rick :

Does this make sense to you?

Customer:

what about developement of hypothyroidism and graves disease in association with radioactive exposure only?

Customer:

no lupus

Dr. Rick :

That is a very good question. There have been no studies that show a correlation between radiation exposure and the development of graves disease/hypothryoidism. Even if there was, almost 60 years later there would be no way to figure out how much exposure you friend had or if any of that exposure would have caused these, otherwise, common conditions.

Customer:

There is a lot of litigation concerning the people that lived"down wind"of the Hanford nuclear plant.So it would seem feasible that a person in the thick of it would be affected.They are winning the class action suit.

Dr. Rick :

I don't think it is possible at this time to show any direct correlation to your friends work at the nuclear power plant 60 years ago and his health problems now.

Customer:

Much of the problems are showing up years later.

Dr. Rick :

you would have to talk to a lawyer about that. But, I really don't think medical science will be able to support your friends claim, even if a fancy lawyer can get some company to cough up some money. Unfortunately, most of the cash in these class action suits goes to the lawyers...they get ten million and each harmed person gets 800 bucks.

Dr. Rick :

But how can you correlate these problems to the exposure 60 years ago? Medicine isn't that exact.

Dr. Rick :

Especially when you are talking about diseases that are very common in every day, non-radiation exposed, folks the same age as your friend.

Dr. Rick :

Are you still there?

Customer:

yes

Dr. Rick :

ok

Dr. Rick :

Even though my answer was not quite what you were hoping for, please understand that my priority was to provide you with the most honest information. With that in consideration, I hope that you found my answer useful. Please click the green accept button so that I receive credit for my time.


 

Customer:

the key wording is as "likely as not"

Dr. Rick :

And I think that is the legal barrier your friend will have to cross to say it was his job as a youngster that is the source of his problems now. That is something that medical science can not say happened.

Dr. Rick :

Does this help?

Dr. Rick :

I suppose. But if your friend came in for medical care for his issues the first thing the doctors would not think it was caused by radiation exposure as a young man. Millions of people have all the health issues you mentioned without ever being exposed to any significant radiation.

Dr. Rick :

Why would he be different?

Dr. Rick :

I suppose. But if your friend came in for medical care for his issues the first thing the doctors would not think it was caused by radiation exposure as a young man. Millions of people have all the health issues you mentioned without ever being exposed to any significant radiation.

Dr. Rick :

Why would he be different?

Dr. Rick :

I suppose. But if your friend came in for medical care for his issues the first thing the doctors would not think it was caused by radiation exposure as a young man. Millions of people have all the health issues you mentioned without ever being exposed to any significant radiation.

Dr. Rick :

Why would he be different?

Dr. Rick :

I suppose. But if your friend came in for medical care for his issues the first thing the doctors would not think it was caused by radiation exposure as a young man. Millions of people have all the health issues you mentioned without ever being exposed to any significant radiation.

Expert:  Dr. Rick replied 5 years ago.
I see that you tried to accept my answer. The accept,for some reason didn't go through.

If you still would like to accept my answer could you please push the accept button again?

Thanks.
Dr. Rick and other Eye Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Dr. Rick replied 5 years ago.
I am still here if you would like to continue our discussion. It looks like the chat system locked up :(