With so many illnesses and ailments that people are constantly talking about, it’s easy to start forgetting about the ones that have been around for decades and that you should still be concerned by. Lead poisoning is an excellent example of an illness that isn’t new, but it hasn’t suddenly just disappeared off the map. Even so, it’s rarely discussed.
The problem is that lead is highly toxic, and exposure to it can be extremely dangerous, especially for the elderly, young children, and those with compromised immune systems. In fact, statistics show that more than 400,000 deaths in the U.S. are caused each year due to lead exposure.
So how concerned should you be about lead poisoning? Is it something that could affect you? Let’s take a closer look at how it happens, the symptoms, treatment, and how to avoid contracting it.
What is Lead Poisoning?
Lead poisoning is very simple, it happens when a person is exposed to high levels of lead and either swallows or breathes it in. It can be found in food, water, dust, and paint. Once absorbed into your body it can go on to damage all your organs, your nervous system, the brain, and even slow a child’s development and growth. Lead poisoning can seem confusing because every person naturally has some lead in their body, however, it is a very small amount so that means there is no damage done.
Where Does Lead Poisoning Most Often Occur?
Another common question is where the most common instances occur of lead poisoning. While it can happen to anyone at any time, for those who live in homes that were built before 1978, your risk is “exceptionally high” of being exposed to high levels of lead. Back in those days, it was commonplace to use lead paint in homes and office buildings. This paint was used inside and outside, as there were no laws set in place to ban it. People didn’t yet realize the harm it could cause.
For those who live in older homes such as these, you need to be aware of signs of peeling, chipping, dampening, or cracking paint in the home. As well, paint that looks worn or disturbed in any manner.
Besides paint, lead was also used in plumbing, petrol, and various other consumer products.
What Are the Symptoms of Lead Poisoning?
There are a number of symptoms associated with lead poisoning. You may suffer from just a couple or many at the same time. Some of the most common symptoms include irritability, vomiting, hearing loss, seizures, weight loss, loss of appetite, constipation, sluggishness, headaches, memory problems, high blood pressure, muscle and joint pain, mood disorders, and much more.
How to Treat Lead Poisoning?
Once a person has been diagnosed with lead poisoning, it’s vital to start a lead poisoning treatment right away. The first step is always to remove the contamination source. This will need to be done by professionals and isn’t a DIY job. If you have low levels of poisoning, removing the contaminant may be enough. For higher levels, you’ll need to start a medication treatment therapy.
Lead poisoning while not often talked about is certainly one that should be taken very seriously and avoided at all costs.