Heavy Metal Poisoning
What Is Heavy Metal Poisoning?
Heavy metal poisoning is caused by the accumulation of certain metals in the body due to exposure through food, water, industrial chemicals, or other sources.
While our bodies need small amounts of some heavy metals — such as , copper, chromium, iron, and manganese — toxic amounts are harmful.
If your body's soft tissues accumulate too much of heavy metals, the resulting poisoning can cause serious damage.
Lead, mercury, arsenic, and cadmium are the metals most commonly associated with heavy metal poisoning in the United States.
Men and women are equally susceptible to heavy metal poisoning if they're exposed in the same ways.
While children in the United States are still more prone to getting lead poisoning than adults, the number of children with harmful levels of lead in the blood has dropped 85 percent over the past 20 years, according to the National Organization for Rare Disorders.
Mercury poisoning is very rare in children.
Causes of Heavy Metal Poisoning
Heavy metal poisoning can be caused by:
- Industrial exposure
- Air or water pollution
- Improperly coated food containers, plates, and cookware
- Ingestion of lead-based paints
Heavy Metal Poisoning Symptoms
Symptoms of heavy metal poisoning depend on the type of metal causing toxicity.
If you have acute heavy metal poisoning — meaning you were exposed to a large amount of metal at once (for example, by swallowing a toy) — your symptoms may include:
- Falling into a coma
Long-term or chronic exposure to heavy metals may cause the following symptoms:
- Muscle pain
- Joint pain
Heavy Metal Poisoning Treatment
Your doctor may recommend a urine or blood test to find out if you have heavy metal poisoning.
If the test shows that you do have heavy metal poisoning, the first step of treatment is to eliminate the exposure.
Video: Flush Out Toxic Heavy Metals With Chelation Therapy | Well.org
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