Lead poisoning develops if the body absorbs excess lead via breathing or swallowing. It is important to note that lead can impair almost every organ in the body.
Among children, excess lead in the body can result to lasting issues with growth and development. These can affect hearing, behavior, learning and even slow down the growth among children.
In adults, lead poisoning can impair the brain and nervous system, kidneys and the stomach. This can also cause high blood pressure and other health issues. Even though it is not normal to have lead in the body, a minimal trace is present in most individuals.
What are the causes?
Lead poisoning is typically brought about by months or even years of contact to minimal traces of lead at home or work. This can develop rapidly with exposure to large amounts. Various things can contain or has been contaminated with lead such as paint, water, food, soil and manufactured goods.
The usual source of exposure among children is lead-based paint as well as contaminated dust and soil. This is the issue in old buildings and houses. As for adults, they are exposed to lead while at work or engaging in hobbies involving the substance.
The symptoms are not initially noticed and usually missed out. Some of these seem to be linked to other conditions.
Among children, the symptoms include the following:
- Behavioral issues such as moodiness, aggressiveness or hyperactivity
- Slightly lower level of intelligence
- Smaller size compared to children of the same age
- Learning difficulties
- Poor energy levels
- Diminished appetite
As for adults, lead poisoning can cause the following:
- Changes in the mood, behavior, sleeping patterns and personality
- Muscle issues
- Memory loss
- Difficulty thinking clearly
In severe cases, the condition can cause paralysis, seizures and even coma.
- Removing the source of lead – dirt and old paint chips are the usual sources of lead in the house. The lead-based paint along with the dust and dirt must be removed by professionals.
- Proper nutrition – it is vital to eat foods that contain enough iron and other minerals and vitamins to reduce the level of lead in the body.
- Chelation therapy – if removal of the source and proper nutrition or lead levels are high, chelating medications are required. These medications bind to the lead in the body and remove it.