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In Adam Higginbotham's article Chernobyl 20 years on, it's implied that nuclear radiation increases the risk of heart attacks:

Now, nearly 20 years after the disaster, the survivors of Chernobyl are scattered across the former Soviet Union, gradually succumbing to cancer and early heart attacks.

Fukushima Diary is also implying that the nuclear incidents associated with the March 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami is making heart attacks more likely, and seemingly not because of a lack of exercise. From Death rate of heart disease in Fukushima became the highest in Japan

Though Fukushima prefecture conceals its health check result data, Akita prefecture publishes the data.

It revealed the death rate of heart disease, cerebrovascular disease, and renal failure increased since 2010, and the death rate of heart disease became the highest in Japan.

Cesium is known to damage your myocardial cell.[LINK] [Link is to YouTube video by RT]

and JT changed the warning notice on MILD SEVEN package from “stroke” to “coronary”

Cesium-134/137 are known to accumulate in the heart muscle to cause heart disease.

and Infant death of heart disease doubled as 2010 in Fukushima

Death cases increased for every cause except for “other”, but especially the death of heart disease went up to as double as 2010.

Does nuclear radiation make heart attacks more likely in and of itself? That is, not caused by the stress associated with a nuclear incident, or because of actions done to avoid radiation, such as not exercising outdoors.

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Yes, it does.

Radiation therapy is well known in the medical community to be associated with future cardiovascular problems.

  • Crit Rev Oncol Hematol. 2003 Jan; 45(1):55-75. Radiation-associated cardiovascular disease. Adams MJ, Hardenbergh PH, Constine LS, Lipshultz SE. PubMed, Open access full text.

  • Cardiol Rev. 2012 Jul-Aug; 20(4):184-8. Radiation-induced heart disease. Filopei J, Frishman W. PubMed

  • Am J Cardiol. 2013 Nov 15; 112(10):1688-96. Cardiovascular complications of radiotherapy. Lee MS, Finch W, Mahmud E. PubMed

It might be possible to extrapolate from their data to estimate the risk from non-therapeutic doses of radiation, but I have not tried to do this.

  • Don't suppose you found how many mS are required to damage the coronary endothelium? – HappySpoon Jul 5 '14 at 1:29
  • @HappySpoon: Sorry, I did not. The closest thing is a note in the first paper that permanent effects are less likely with absorbed doses under 40 Gy. I'm not going to try to convert that to an equivalent whole-body dose because I don't understand the theory well and would probably do it wrong. – Nate Eldredge Jul 5 '14 at 2:25

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