It is being said that the radiation found in outer space may have harmed astronauts’ hearts.
The Apollo missions, which had on board the first astronauts to land on the moon, were indeed one giant leap for mankind. However, it is an entirely different argument that the doses of radiation that these brave and intrepid explorers faced may have had a bad effect on their hearts in the long run.
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A novel study that was published in the Nature journal Scientific Reports proves exactly this thesis.
The death rate from cardiac disease among Apollo astronauts that stepped on the moon is five times more than those astronauts who didn’t go on missions or were into non-flight activities.
The Apollo moon mission astronauts’ heart disease rates were also four times as high as those among low Earth orbit (LEO) astronauts. However, and here is the interesting thing, the rates of heart disease were the same between LEO and non-flight astronauts.
The Apollo missions were conducted between 1968 and 1972. There were 11 such missions and six of them managed to land on the lunar surface. Among the dozen or so astronauts who landed on the moon’s surface may be included Neil Armstrong and Edward E. “Buzz” Aldrin.
The thing is that Apollo astronauts are the only ones to have travelled into deep space. What this means is that they ventured beyond the earth’s geomagnetic field.
The earth’s magnetosphere is what protects us from galactic cosmic rays and solar particles. It shunts them off from reaching the earth. The astronauts that faced the massive doses of radiation in deep space had their cardiac health take a nosedive due to this unnatural condition. Not only does this radiation have an effect on CV conditions but it is deleterious for overall health as well.
24 Apollo astronauts circled the moon. Eight of them have passed away. 7 were a part of the study and of them 43% died due to CV issues. Other causes of death included: cancer and accidents.
The situation in space has different effects on males and females. Blood pressure symptoms are more common in females. Yet the majority of those who ultimately died from heart disease were all male. It seems to be a preserve of the male of the species.
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More research still needs to be done to differentiate the various markers of diseases and their complex causes. Most of the astronauts who were a part of the missions were in peak physical condition. Therefore, it is still too early to form any conclusive opinion regarding the matter.