Lead poisoning is as bad as it sounds.
But without a lead blood test, it can be difficult to understand if you're actually experiencing this debilitating condition or if you're just feeling under the weather.
Nonetheless, it's a good idea to trust your gut if you're concerned about lead poisoning.
Knowing exactly what's ailing you can help you restore your quality of life and take the steps necessary to improve your health.
To learn about lead poisoning, keep reading so that we can answer six common questions about lead poisoning and lead blood tests. Afterward, you'll be ready to get your health back on track.
What Is Lead Poisoning?
Lead poisoning occurs when there's an excess amount of lead buildup in the body, which can cause serious health problems that result in long-term health conditions. It doesn't take much for this to happen, as even a small amount of lead can cause serious issues.
Lead toxicity in high levels is easily fatal. But again, lead poisoning can be debilitating even without the risk of death.
What Are the Risk Factors for Lead Poisoning?
There is only one proven biological risk for lead poisoning, and that's for children ages six and under. That's because their bodies are still developing. Not only is it easier for them to absorb lead, but they also experience more harm from lead.
However, there are far more environmental risks that can put anyone in danger. Regardless of age or body size, continual and elevated exposure to lead will inevitably cause severe health issues. Such environmental risks include:
- Buildings with lead
- Airborne lead contamination
- Lead-contaminated water
- Lead-contaminated soil
- Occupations that require lead exposure
- Battery handling
- Home improvement work
- Auto repair work
- Imported food
- Imported pottery
- Imported medicine
Those of lower socioeconomic status are also more prone to coming in contact with lead. That's because they have limited housing options. It's more likely that they will be living in ill-maintained or older buildings that have excess lead in them.
What Causes Lead Poisoning?
As we've covered, elevated lead exposure is necessary for lead blood poisoning to occur. But humans can actually be exposed to a minute amount of lead with no problem, for the most part.
The problem is that industrialization has sparked a demand for mining, fossil fuel use, and other activities, which has only increased lead's presence in our everyday lives.
Batteries, pipes, and building materials are all objects that contain lead. They're also objects we encounter in our daily lives.
For that reason, lead's presence is currently more potent than it was in the past. However, there have been many developments in the US to curb the use of lead in manufacturing. Nonetheless, there is still plenty of reason to be wary of lead exposure.
What Are the Symptoms of Lead Poisoning?
It can be fairly difficult to detect lead poisoning without a test. That's because even seemingly healthy people may have high levels of lead in their blood.
Not only that, but symptoms may vary depending on the age of the individual. But to start, newborn babies typically have lead poisoning because of their pregnant mother's lead exposure. This can cause health conditions upon birth such as:
- Below-average birth weight
- Slower development
- Premature birth
Children who are exposed to lead poisoning tend to express various other health issues and concerns such as:
- Abdominal pain
- Learning difficulties
- Low energy
- Pica, an eating disorder involving the consumption of non-food substances, most notably paint chips
Adults can express similar symptoms, but there are some differences. Some of their symptoms include:
- Abdominal pain
- Mood swings
- Memory/concentration difficulties
- Reduced sperm count
- Miscarriage, stillbirth, or premature birth for pregnant women
Can I Take a Lead Poisoning Test?
As mentioned before, even seemingly healthy people can have elevated blood levels of lead. That's why it's important to take a test when you A) know that you're exposed to many environmental risks and/or B) experience symptoms.
Whether you live in compromised housing, feel sick, etc., you can stop guessing if you're experiencing lead poisoning by having a blood test for lead performed. If you decide to take this route, you should understand the procedure beforehand. A typical lead blood test is performed as follows:
- Blood sample extracted from drawing blood
- Lab analysis will show whether there are high blood levels of lead
Is There a Cure for Lead Poisoning?
If your lead blood test reveals that you have lead poisoning, then it's time to take immediate action. Not doing so can cause existing lead poisoning symptoms to worsen.
The first thing you need to do is remove any potential sources of lead contamination. If needed, you may need to move to other housing especially if your building itself is a potential source of lead contamination.
But if that's not possible, then there are ways to mitigate the effects of these sources. For example, you can paint over lead paint instead of trying to remove it (per the health department's instructions). Most people suffering from lead poisoning can eliminate their symptoms by removing contact with these sources.
However, people with more severe lead poisoning may need additional treatment to rid their blood levels of lead. Such treatments include:
- Chelation therapy, designed for children with blood levels of 45 mcg/dL or adults with high blood levels of lead
- Drug-based treatment taken orally
- EDTA chelation therapy, designed for adults with blood levels of 45 mcg/dL and children who cannot tolerate the drug used in typical chelation therapy
- Injection-based treatment
Order Your Lead Blood Test Today!
At Ulta Lab Tests, we offer tests that are accurate and reliable with no insurance or doctor’s referral required, and confidential results provided directly to you. Best of all, we offer the lowest prices on lab tests.
After you get tested, your results will be delivered in 24-48 hours. So, take control of your health today and order your lead blood test now.