Lead Poisoning

Lead is a harmful chemical element which can be found anywhere—in the air, soil, water, and even in the homes. An exposure to too much lead results to a serious health problem because lead is a poisonous element. High level of lead in the body can be fatal.

Causes

Lead poisoning occurs when there is a build-up of lead in the body. There are many materials that have lead in it. Paint, for instance, has lead. Toys and things used in the home contain lead. Art supplies, gasoline, and even dust contain lead.

Lead poisoning in children is usually caused by the toys they play with. Kids are fond of putting their toys in their mouths, which serves as the lead’s gateway to their bodies. Similarly, if they touch something that has a lead in it and put their hands in their mouths, they automatically ingest lead. Lead poisoning is most likely to happen to children because their brains and nervous systems are not yet fully matured or developed.

In adults, exposure to lead leads to lead poisoning. It is very difficult to avoid lead since lead is contained in almost everything, including air and water.

Symptoms

There are many signs and symptoms of lead poisoning, and not all patients of lead poisoning exhibit the same symptoms. There are common systems evident to all poisoned by lead. These symptoms include the following:

  • Constipation
  • Poor sleeping pattern
  • Abdominal pain or abdominal cramps
  • Loss of appetite
  • Irritability and uneasiness
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of memory
  • High blood pressure
  • Kidney problems
  • Anemia
  • Vomiting
  • Numbness or weakness of muscles
  • Seizures
  • Coma

Symptoms of lead poisoning in children include the following:

  • Low IQ and poor school grades
  • Slow growth
  • Behavior problems and mood swings
  • Slow in learning

Complications, Prognosis, and Treatment

Adult patients recover from lead poisoning without any medical and health issues. Children, however, may recover in a rather slow pace. Lead poisoning may even result to permanent brain damage. Apart from brain damage, the kidneys and nervous system are affected as well.  Chelation therapy may be used as a treatment for lead poisoning. This process binds the lead build-up and exerts the lead to the urine. Activated charcoal is also a popular way of treating lead poison. This process binds the accumulated lead in the gastrointestinal tract and the lead is eliminated through defecation.

Prevention

  • Do not be exposed for too long in paints and gasoline
  • Throw toys that are of poor quality and contain a high level of lead
  • Do not put fingers in the mouth
  • Clean the house always to prevent accumulation of dust