Gallium poisoning

According to a 2008 study, people who have severe lupus and other rheumatic diseases are more likely to have abnormal levels of lead and other heavy metals in their blood.

There is a connection between the amount of lead that’s present in the body and the severity of lupus. This is thought to be because of the immune system that’s involved in this condition. People who have lupus may be more sensitive to the effects of heavy metals.

Symptoms of lead poisoning

Some of the most common symptoms of lead poisoning are fatigue, headache, and weakness.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), some symptoms of lead poisoning include:

  • Fatigue that’s severe enough to interfere with daily activities
  • Numbness or tingling in the hands or feet
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Muscle pain or weakness

Treatment and prevention

Treatment options for lead poisoning depend on the severity of the condition.

Medical treatment

The goal of medical treatment is to remove the excess lead from the body. Treatment typically involves taking the following steps:

  • Removing dietary sources of lead
  • Reducing the amount of lead that’s in blood and urine
  • Taking medications to reduce the number of white blood cells that can attack the body
  • Removing lead from the body
  • Removing the teeth that contain the teeth with excess lead
  • Removing the bones and organs that contain lead
  • Removing the teeth and other areas of the body that are contaminated with lead
  • Replacing the teeth that are exposed to the contaminated environment
  • Removing the teeth that are in the brain

In some cases, people may need to be hospitalized as a precaution.

In some cases, people may need to undergo chelation therapy. This involves using chelating agents to remove excess lead from the body.

Chelating agents are designed to bind with lead and then remove it from the body.

Chelation therapy may be done by:

  • Taking chelating agents orally
  • Using chelating agents that are injected directly into the bloodstream
  • Injecting chelating agents through an IV

Chelating agents are not typically used for people who are pregnant or who are having trouble with their kidneys.

Medications

Depending on the severity of the condition, medications may be prescribed to remove excess lead from the body.

Some medications may be prescribed that are designed to stop the overactive immune system from attacking the body. Also known as immunosuppressants, these medications can help stop the overactive immune system from attacking the body.

Medications that may be prescribed include:

  • Cyclophosphamide
  • Azathioprine
  • Mycophenolate mofetil

Diet and supplements

Taking these steps may help reduce the amount of lead that’s in the body:

  1. Reduce the amount of dietary lead.
  2. Limit or remove your intake of foods that contain lead.
  3. Drink only water or other liquids that are filtered.
  4. Avoid eating foods that contain lead.
  5. Avoid drinking alcoholic beverages unless they’re diluted or purified.
  6. Drink filtered water instead of tap water.
  7. Avoid smoking.
  8. Avoid exposure to lead.

9. Avoid using some medications. These include:

Cisplatin

  • Carbamazepine
  • Cyclosporine
  • Hydroxychloroquine
  • Methotrexate
  • Methotrexate and rituximab

Outcomes

The CDC reports that most people with lead poisoning respond well to treatment. They also note that the severity of the condition can vary from case to case.

According to the CDC, the outlook for people with lead poisoning ranges from good to excellent. In some cases, it’s life-threatening.

However, the CDC notes that lead poisoning can be life-threatening if it’s not treated promptly and effectively.

The outlook for people with severe lead poisoning is good if they can get treatment early.

If you have questions about lead poisoning, talk with a doctor or other health care professional.

What causes lead poisoning?

The CDC reports that lead poisoning can be caused by many factors. It can result from a variety of external and internal factors.

Lead poisoning can occur during pregnancy, due to lead in drinking water, or if a child has been exposed to lead from sources such as old paint, paint chips, and dust from old lead-based paint.

Lead can also be found in the environment in some products, such as:

  • Batteries
  • Toys
  • Toys containing lead paint
  • Lead-based paint

Lead can also be a byproduct of industrial processes, such as lead-zinc mining, manufacturing, and smelting.

According to the CDC, the main sources of lead that’s found in the environment and in the body are:

  • Lead-based paint and other sources of lead in the environment, such as dust
  • Plastics, such as toys and other items
  • Lead-based paint chips
  • Lead-based dust
  • Air pollution
  • Lead-based batteries
  • Lead-containing antacids
  • Lead in drinking water
  • Pipes containing lead waste

How to prevent lead poisoning?

You can prevent lead poisoning by limiting your exposure to lead. This includes:

  • Avoiding drinking water that has lead.
  • Avoiding taking any medications that contain lead.
  • Avoiding eating any foods that contain lead.
  • Avoiding drinking any alcoholic beverages.
  • Avoiding all sources of environmental lead exposure.

What are the complications of lead poisoning?

If you have lead poisoning, it can cause complications, such as:

  • Neurological: Symptoms of lead poisoning may include cognitive impairment, behavior changes, speech problems, and seizures.
  • Gastrointestinal: Symptoms of lead poisoning can include abdominal pain, vomiting, and diarrhea.
  • Musculoskeletal: Symptoms of lead poisoning may include muscle stiffness and weakness, joint pain, and bone deformities.
  • Hematological: Symptoms of lead poisoning may include anemia, which is a condition in which your body doesn’t have enough of certain blood cells.
  • Dermatological: Symptoms of lead poisoning may include skin changes and hair loss.
  • Cardiovascular: Symptoms of lead poisoning may include fatigue, dizziness, and chest pain.

Outlook

According to the CDC, people with lead poisoning are less likely to develop other health problems.

The CDC also states that in most cases, lead poisoning is completely reversible. This means that once the lead is removed from the body, it will not return.

The outlook depends on the severity of the condition.

According to a 2020 study, people with lead poisoning may have a higher chance of developing other conditions, such as:

  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Heart disease
  • Liver disease
  • Lung disease
  • Memory loss
  • Depression
  • Seizures
  • Stroke

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