How can you know if you suffered from lead poisoning or not?
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The risk of food insecurity leads to passive lead poisoning. How to identify specific lead poisoning symptoms?
What is lead poisoning?
Lead and its compounds are harmfully toxic to human tissues. When lead infects the body, it gets into the cells, goes through the respiratory tract and enters the bloodstream quickly.
Also, when absorbed through the digestive tract, lead also penetrates the blood circulation system, leading to poisoning.
When living in lead-contaminated areas, you can accumulate a large amount of lead in the body by many different paths. Firstly, inhalation, - breathing lead contaminated air sources will bring this metal into the body, primarily into the lungs and the bloodstream.
Eating lead contaminated food will make the body accumulate this toxic metal, too. When you are hungry, lead enters the blood up to 60%, and when you are full, only 6%.
The symptoms of lead poisoning are diarrhea, headache, tachycardia, however, not many patients with clinical symptoms of lead poisoning go to hospital.
Most cases of lead poisoning in children come from eating and drinking lead contaminated food. Firstly lead gets into the mouth and then it is brought into the digestive system.
Inhalation of air containing lead can cause chronic lead intoxication
The symptoms of lead poisoning
The core symptoms of lead poisoning are manifested in the digestive system, nervous system, blood system at all levels.
In case of lead poisoning, specific symptoms in the digestive system often are: loss of appetite, abdominal pain, metallic taste in the mouth, salivation, abdominal distension, constipation, blood in the stool, enlarged liver, jaundice and liver dysfunction, etc.
If we speak about nervous system, lead poisoning is manifested by such symptoms as headache, dizziness, anxiety, insomnia, drowsiness and irritability. In some severe cases may appear delirium, convulsions, coma and even cerebral edema, which can lead to more severe inflammation of peripheral nerves.
The destructive effect of lead poisoning on the circulatory system can be noticed as signs of anemia such as paleness, palpitations, shortness of breath and other symptoms.
In excretory system such symptoms are diagnosed as back pain, protein in urine, blood in urine, urine sediment, and severe renal impairment; also enlarged liver, liver dysfunction, etc.
Very often lead contaminated children behave hyperactively and distractedly, but this is not the most typical symptom of lead contamination.
For mothers who are at risk of lead exposure during pregnancy or suffer from lead contamination, testing is recommended for children when she/ he reaches 1 year old, and again when she/he is 2 years old to identify if the child was poisoned with lead or not.
How to treat lead poisoning?
It is necessary to start with a blood test which will show the content of lead. It will help to define the severity of lead poisoning and significantly help in determining the most appropriate treatment.
Moderate lead poisoning:
- It is necessary to provide the person who has a moderate lead poisoning with comprehensive information about lead intoxication and the diseases that may be caused by it; to prevent and limit the sources of lead in people’s daily activities.
- It is important to wash hands and take a bath regularly, and not to expose themselves to the lead contaminated environment.
- It is vital to establish good nutrition, add calcium, zinc and other minerals and trace elements, vitamins if necessary. Take medical checks periodically to know the extent of intoxication.
- Severe lead intoxication:
- It is necessary to use specific medicines to remove lead from the body. However, you should note that these drugs have a big number of side effects, which may cause the diseases of heart, liver, kidneys and other damage on internal organs and systems. Also strong chemical medications can cause such disorders as the digestibility delay of minerals, trace elements and water, electrolyte imbalance.
What to eat to prevent and reduce lead poisoning?
When you know that your body is at risk of lead poisoning, you should immediately adjust the diet to alleviate symptoms.
- Eat foods which are rich in vitamin C:
Vitamin C when combining with lead, makes insoluble substances, which are excreted from the body with waste.
For patients with lead poisoning the daily dose of vitamin C is at least 150mg, in some cases it should be increased up to 200 mg for children.
Vitamin C is contained in fruits and vegetables such as oranges, lemons, pomegranates, apples, strawberries, fresh peppers, cabbage, garlic, mustard, tomatoes and cauliflower.
- Eat foods which are rich in protein and iron
Protein and iron can replace lead in combining with organic tissues, these 2 substances accelerate metabolism to eliminate lead.
Foods which are rich in protein and iron: eggs, milk, lean meat, green vegetables, fruits, spinach, celery, tomatoes, citrus, peaches, plums, apricots, pineapple, etc.
Allicin in garlic combines with lead ad creates non-toxic compounds.
Yogurt can stimulate gastrointestinal motility and reduce the absorption of lead in the process of digestion, but it is essential to choose yogurt of high quality.
- Health supplements which support the excretion of lead and prevent lead poisoning:
Currently on the market, there are several health supplements which support toxin excretion, especially elements lead from the body. You should be aware of the choices of high quality and reputable products, which are certified, tested and verified carefully, to provide the real effectiveness of lead detoxification.