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What Is Lead Poisoning? 10 Common Signs Of Lead Poisoning

Below we discuss the most common signs of lead poisoning.

What Is Lead Poisoning? 10 Common Signs Of Lead Poisoning

Frequent headaches, including migraines, can be a symptom of lead poisoning

Lead poisoning is a condition that occurs when there is an accumulation of lead in the body. Lead is a toxic metal that can have harmful effects on various organs and systems, particularly the nervous system. It can enter the body through various sources such as contaminated air, water, food, and products like lead-based paints and batteries.

The primary cause of lead poisoning is exposure to lead-containing substances. This can happen through inhalation of lead dust or fumes, ingestion of lead-contaminated substances, or direct contact with lead-based products. Common sources of lead exposure include old lead-based paint, lead pipes or plumbing fixtures, contaminated soil, lead-glazed pottery, and certain traditional or folk remedies.

Lead poisoning is especially dangerous for children, as their growing bodies absorb lead more easily. Children can be exposed to lead through lead-based paint chips or dust in older homes, contaminated toys or jewellery, and certain imported products. Adults can also be affected by lead poisoning, typically through occupational exposure in industries such as battery manufacturing, construction, and painting.

It is important to note that lead poisoning is entirely preventable. Taking measures to reduce exposure to lead, such as regular testing of drinking water, maintaining a clean living environment, and following safety guidelines in workplaces, can significantly reduce the risk of lead poisoning. Read on as we share some common signs.

Here are 10 common signs of lead poisoning:

1. Abdominal pain and cramping

Lead poisoning can cause abdominal pain, often accompanied by gastrointestinal symptoms such as vomiting and constipation.

2. Fatigue and weakness

People with lead poisoning may experience persistent fatigue, weakness, and a general lack of energy. You can tell this apart from normal fatigue as it is more persistent.

3. Headaches

Frequent headaches, including migraines, can be a symptom of lead poisoning. These headaches may be severe and persistent.

4. Cognitive difficulties

Lead affects the central nervous system and can impair cognitive function. People with lead poisoning may experience difficulties with concentration, memory, and learning.

5. Irritability and mood changes

Lead poisoning can cause irritability, mood swings, and behavioural changes, especially in children. They may become more aggressive or have difficulty controlling their emotions.

6. Loss of appetite

Lead poisoning can lead to a decreased appetite and weight loss, particularly in children.

7. Sleep disturbances

Lead can disrupt normal sleep patterns, causing insomnia or excessive sleepiness. If you have any sort of sleeping issues consistently, speak to a health professional.

8. Joint and muscle pain

Lead poisoning can cause muscle and joint pain, often mistaken for other conditions such as arthritis.

9. High blood pressure

Prolonged exposure to lead can increase blood pressure, leading to hypertension and an increased risk of cardiovascular problems.

10. Developmental delays (in children)

Children who are exposed to lead may experience developmental delays, including delayed growth, learning disabilities, and impaired cognitive and motor skills.

It is important to note that these signs and symptoms can vary depending on the level and duration of lead exposure. If you suspect lead poisoning, it is crucial to consult a healthcare professional for proper diagnosis and treatment. Early detection and intervention can minimise the long-term effects of lead poisoning.

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Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for a qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information.


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