Infectious Disease

Identifying the common causes and symptoms of lead poisoning

Identifying the common causes and symptoms of lead poisoning
Lead is one of the most common metals found on the surface of the earth. It has many applications in industrial processes and is used in multiple household products including wall paint. However, lead is highly toxic in nature and repeated exposure to this metal can result in lead poisoning.

Lead poisoning occurs over a period of months or even years depending on the extent of the exposure and it results in severe mental and physical impairment. Children are commonly affected due to repeated exposure as it is difficult to monitor and identify the times when children were around the metal. Lead-based paints and products must be used in moderation to reduce the risk of contamination. Children have a habit of touching everything with their hands or playing with anything that catches their curiosity. Substances containing lead thus result in poisoning over a period of time in cases like these.

Associated causes of lead poisoning
Exposure to the following objects also increases the chance of lead poisoning.

  • Storage batteries
  • Figurines made out of lead, different types of jewelry and pottery
  • Art supplies and paint sets
  • Rusting pipes and sink faucets that contaminate the water
  • Toys manufactured out of the country without proper production lines
  • Toys and different household items painted before 1976
  • House paint manufactured before 1978

Lead poisoning can affect many parts of the body which is why the symptoms are varied in nature. Here are a few common indicators that can help identify the discomforts caused due to repeated exposure.

  • Abdominal pain
    Lead is a heavy metal and a high buildup of lead in the system will result in abdominal pain. If your child complains about a persistent pain in the stomach even if he or she is not exhibiting symptoms of stomach disorders, it Is advisable to check for the signs of lead poisoning.
  • Abdominal cramps
    It is not uncommon to experience abdominal cramps with persistent pain as a result of overexposure to lead. The toxic chemicals can result in aching and tightening in the lower abdomen, upper thighs or the lower back.
  • Aggressive behavior
    Lead poisoning can have a negative impact on one’s mental health and can lead to aggressive behavior. It is one of the more visual indicators of a developing condition and immediate medical consultation is advisable.
  • Constipation
    Constipation is a common symptom associated with multiple digestive and gastrointestinal disorders. However, it can also be triggered due to the increasing levels of lead in the bloodstream.
  • Sleep problems
    Lead poisoning does not necessarily result in insomnia, but one will experience difficulty in sleeping due to a developing condition.
  • Headaches
    High levels of lead in the bloodstream is a problem as the circulatory system pumps this toxic chemical in and out of vital organs including the brain. The deposits can cause severe headaches which is why a proper diagnosis is necessary to rule out other conditions that exhibit similar symptoms.

Aside from these, kidney dysfunction, anemia, memory loss, numbness or the experience of a tingling sensation in the extremities, high blood pressure, fatigue, loss of appetite, and loss of developmental skills in the vital years are also associated symptoms of lead poisoning.