Overdose of lead


General or Other | - Others | Overdose of lead (Disease)


Description

Lead poisoning (also known as plumbism, colica Pictonum, saturnism, Devon colic, or painters colic) is a medical condition caused by increased levels of the heavy metal lead in the body.

Lead interferes with a variety of body processes and is toxic to many organs and tissues including the heart, bones, intestines, kidneys, and reproductive and nervous systems. It interferes with the development of the nervous system and is therefore particularly toxic to children, causing potentially permanent learning and behavior disorders. Symptoms include abdominal pain, confusion, headache, anemia, irritability, and in severe cases seizures, coma, and death.

Symptoms are nonspecific and may be subtle, and someone with elevated lead levels may have no symptoms. Symptoms usually develop over weeks to months as lead builds up in the body during a chronic exposure, but acute symptoms from brief, intense exposures also occur. Poisoning by organic lead compounds has symptoms especially in the central nervous system, such as insomnia, delirium, cognitive deficits, tremor, hallucinations, and convulsions.

Early symptoms of lead poisoning in adults are commonly nonspecific and include depression, loss of appetite, intermittent abdominal pain, nausea, diarrhea, constipation, and muscle pain. Other early signs in adults include malaise, fatigue, decreased libido, and problems with sleep. An unusual taste in the mouth and personality changes are also early signs.

Causes and Risk factors

Lead poisoning most commonly occurs over time. The ingested amount of lead is not cleared from the body and accumulates. The lead causes anemia, decreased IQ, abdominal pain, constipation, and kidney damage.

Children are more susceptible, and exposure is often from old peeling paint. Other types of exposure are from hobbies, toys, and in adults shooting lead bullets.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Diagnosis includes determining the clinical signs and the medical history, with inquiry into possible routes of exposure. Clinical toxicologists, medical specialists in the area of poisoning, may be involved in diagnosis and treatment. The main tool in diagnosing and assessing the severity of lead poisoning is laboratory analysis of the blood lead level.

The mainstays of treatment are removal from the source of lead and, for people who have significantly high blood lead levels or who have symptoms of poisoning, chelation therapy. ...