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Lead Poisoning

Lead Poisoning

Lead poisoning is a condition in which there is gradual accumulation of lead in the body over the duration of months or years. Although little amount of lead can pose serious issues to health. Mental and physical development issues arises from lead poisoning making children younger than 6 years highly vulnerable. It’s poisoning can be fatal.

Symptoms

Usually at first lead poisoning is asymptomatic. Signs and symptoms are different in different age groups.

  • Symptoms in children include: delayed developmental milestones, learning disabilities, irritability, decreased appetite, weight loss, digestion problems, constipation, vomiting, hearing loss, seizures, pica ( eating urge of non nutritious objects like sand, clay etc)
  • Symptoms in babies before birth: premature birth, low birth weight, delayed growth.
  • Symptoms in adults are: hypertension, muscle and joint aches, concentration and memory difficulties, reduced sperm count, headache, abdominal pain, mood disorders and headaches, miscarriages in pregnant women.
Causes

Lead is a metal which is found in earth crust and other human activities like mining, burning and fossil fuels has caused it to become more widespread. Lead is present in different materials around us like in paints, Water pipes and imported canned goods, soil, household dust, pottery, toys, lead bullets etc.

Complications

Complications include:

  • Irreversible brain damage
  • Seizures
  • Unconsciousness
  • Death
Diagnosis

Diagnosis is done by detailed medical history and complete general physical examination of the patient. Along with this other tests are also done including:

  • Blood test are done to detect lead levels in the blood.
Treatment

Treatment options are as follows:

  • Removing the source of contamination
  • Avoid the exposure
  • Chelation therapy
  • EDTA chelation therapy
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