Lead poisoning: Unpredictable complications

I. Overview

Lead poisoning occurs when lead builds up in the body, often over months or years. Even small amounts of lead can cause serious health problems. Children younger than 6 years are especially vulnerable to lead poisoning, which can severely affect mental and physical development. At very high levels, lead poisoning can be fatal.

II. Symptoms

Initially, lead poisoning can be hard to detect — even people who seem healthy can have high blood levels of lead. Signs and symptoms usually don’t appear until dangerous amounts have accumulated.

1. Lead poisoning symptoms in children

Signs and symptoms of lead poisoning in children include:

  • Developmental delay
  • Learning difficulties
  • Irritability
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Sluggishness and fatigue
  • Abdominal pain
  • Vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Hearing loss
  • Seizures
  • Eating things, such as paint chips, that aren’t food (pica)

2. Lead poisoning symptoms in newborns

Babies exposed to lead before birth might:

  • Be born prematurely
  • Have lower birth weight
  • Have slowed growth

3. Lead poisoning symptoms in adults

Although children are primarily at risk, lead poisoning is also dangerous for adults. Signs and symptoms in adults might include:

  • High blood pressure
  • Joint and muscle pain
  • Difficulties with memory or concentration
  • Headache
  • Abdominal pain
  • Mood disorders
  • Reduced sperm count and abnormal sperm
  • Miscarriage, stillbirth or premature birth in pregnant women

III. Complinations

Exposure to even low levels of lead can cause damage over time, especially in children. The greatest risk is to brain development, where irreversible damage can occur. Higher levels can damage the kidneys and nervous system in both children and adults. Very high lead levels may cause seizures, unconsciousness and death.

Source: 

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/lead-poisoning/symptoms-causes/syc-20354717?fbclid=IwAR1MZjJujenpwqjqjfm_AB0f_akytjcGnO-WItb3Zuu0raOuAcAd8zCsA40

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