- Lead Poisoning in Adults
- What Is
- Sources of Lead
- Complications in Children
- Avoid Lead Poisoning
What does lead poisoning do to adults?
Lead is a naturally occurring toxic metal found in the earth’s crust. Excess lead buildup in the body can cause lead poisoning. Although lead poisoning primarily affects children, it can also prove to be dangerous in adults. Lead poisoning signs and symptoms include
- High blood pressure
- Joint and muscle pain
- Difficulties with memories or concentration
- Abdominal pain
- Mood disorders
- Reduced sperm count and abnormal sperm
- Miscarriage, stillbirth or premature birth in pregnant women
- Pain or tingling in feet
- Loss of appetite
- Kidney and nervous system damage
What is lead poisoning?
Lead poisoning is caused by the accumulation of lead in the body. Even small amounts of lead can cause serious health problems. Small children are more vulnerable to lead poisoning, which can severely affect mental and physical development. At very high levels, lead poisoning can cause seizures, unconsciousness and even death.
Lead circulates and reaches the brain, liver, kidney and bones. It accumulates in the teeth and bones over time. During pregnancy, if there’s a high lead content in the bones, the fetus may be affected.
Lead exposure at any level is harmful, which can be prevented.
What are the sources and routes of lead exposure?
People can be exposed to lead through environmental and occupational sources, which may include
- Burning fossil fuel (such as diesel and petrol)
- Lead-based paints
- Lead pipes, brass plumbing fixtures and copper pipes soldered with lead
- Lead solder in food cans
- Lead-contaminated soil released from gasoline or paint
- Household dust may contain lead from lead paint chips
- Glazes in some ceramic or chinaware
- Toys and other products
- Tiro, an eye cosmetic, has been associated with lead poisoning
- Some traditional herbal medicines and folk remedies
- Tamarind used in Mexican candies that contains lead
People spending time in firing ranges are at an increased risk of exposure due to lead bullets. People working in auto repair, mining, pipe fitting, battery manufacturing, painting and construction are at a high risk of lead exposure.
What are the complications of lead poisoning in children?
Children are four to five times more likely to absorb lead. They are at the highest risk of lead poisoning because it affects physical and mental development. Exposure to low levels of lead can cause damage over time in small children. The biggest damage it causes is irreversible damage to brain development. The warning signs in children include
- Developmental delay
- Learning difficulties
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss
- Abdominal pain
- Hearing loss
- Laziness and fatigue
- Eating things that aren’t edible
- Premature birth
- Significantly low birth weight
- Slow growth
How can you keep yourself and your family safe from lead?
The following tips may help to prevent lead poisoning
- Eat or drink in a lead-free area.
- Use wipes or lead-removal products to clean hands before eating food.
- Shower and change clothes immediately after working around lead-based products.
- Work in well-ventilated areas.
- Clean dusty surfaces to prevent the accumulation of lead particles.
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Common Medical Abbreviations & Terms
Doctors, pharmacists, and other health-care professionals use abbreviations, acronyms, and other terminology for instructions and information in regard to a patient's health condition, prescription drugs they are to take, or medical procedures that have been ordered. There is no approved this list of common medical abbreviations, acronyms, and terminology used by doctors and other health- care professionals. You can use this list of medical abbreviations and acronyms written by our doctors the next time you can't understand what is on your prescription package, blood test results, or medical procedure orders. Examples include:
- ANED: Alive no evidence of disease. The patient arrived in the ER alive with no evidence of disease.
- ARF: Acute renal (kidney) failure
- cap: Capsule.
- CPAP: Continuous positive airway pressure. A treatment for sleep apnea.
- DJD: Degenerative joint disease. Another term for osteoarthritis.
- DM: Diabetes mellitus. Type 1 and type 2 diabetes
- HA: Headache
- IBD: Inflammatory bowel disease. A name for two disorders of the gastrointestinal (BI) tract, Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis
- JT: Joint
- N/V: Nausea or vomiting.
- p.o.: By mouth. From the Latin terminology per os.
- q.i.d.: Four times daily. As in taking a medicine four times daily.
- RA: Rheumatoid arthritis
- SOB: Shortness of breath.
- T: Temperature. Temperature is recorded as part of the physical examination. It is one of the "vital signs."
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dimercaprolDimercaprol is used as an antidote for poisoning from minerals including arsenic, gold, and mercury, and concomitantly with edetate calcium disodium to treat acute lead poisoning. Common side effects of dimercaprol include high blood pressure (hypertension), rapid heart rate (tachycardia), chest pain, headache, fever in children, burning sensation in the lips, mouth and throat; tightness and/or pain in the throat, chest or hands; inflammation of the conjunctiva, spasm of eyelids (blepharospasm), watering eyes (lacrimation), nasal discharge (rhinorrhea), nausea, vomiting, salivation, throat swelling and irritation, sore throat, abdominal pain, tingling of hands (paresthesia), anxiety, nervousness, weakness, burning sensation in the penis, excessive sweating (diaphoresis), pain at injection site, painful sterile abscesses, kidney insufficiency, and low count of leukocyte immune cells (leukopenia).
Fatigue and Exhaustion
Fatigue can be described in various ways. Sometimes fatigue is described as feeling a lack of energy and motivation (both mental and physical). The causes of fatigue are generally related to a variety of conditions or diseases, for example, anemia, mono, medications, sleep problems, cancer, anxiety, heart disease, and drug abuse.Treatment of fatigue is generally directed toward the condition or disease that is causing the fatigue.
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High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)
High blood pressure (hypertension) is a disease in which pressure within the arteries of the body is elevated. About 75 million people in the US have hypertension (1 in 3 adults), and only half of them are able to manage it. Many people do not know that they have high blood pressure because it often has no has no warning signs or symptoms.
Systolic and diastolic are the two readings in which blood pressure is measured. The American College of Cardiology released new guidelines for high blood pressure in 2017. The guidelines now state that blood normal blood pressure is 120/80 mmHg. If either one of those numbers is higher, you have high blood pressure.
The American Academy of Cardiology defines high blood pressure slightly differently. The AAC considers 130/80 mm Hg. or greater (either number) stage 1 hypertension. Stage 2 hypertension is considered 140/90 mm Hg. or greater.
If you have high blood pressure you are at risk of developing life threatening diseases like stroke and heart attack.
REFERENCE: CDC. High Blood Pressure. Updated: Nov 13, 2017.
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Poison Control CentersThe United States National Poison Hotline is 1-800-222-1222. When you call this number you will be automatically linked to the nearest poison center in the United States. Call this number 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to talk to a poison expert.
Seizures: Symptoms and TypesSeizures occur when there is an abnormal burst of electrical activity in the brain and are divided into two categories: generalized and partial. Learn about the symptoms of different types of seizures, and check out the center below for more medical references on seizures, including multimedia (slideshows, images, and quizzes), related diseases, treatment, diagnosis, medications, and prevention or wellness.
What Can Cause Fatigue?Fatigue is a constant, lingering feeling of exhaustion. Fatigue can also be caused by a number of factors working in combination including lifestyle factors, shift work, emotional factors, medications and chronic fatigue syndrome.