Heavy Metal Health Effects

Heavy metal health effects in humans, such as lead, cadmium, and mercury, present major concerns due to their presence in the environment. There are many documented cases noting the potential for serious health consequences (ATSDR).

Acute heavy metal poisoning has proven to damage central nervous function, the cardiovascular and gastrointestinal systems, lungs, kidneys, liver and bones. Chronic heavy metal exposure has been implicated in several degenerative diseases of these same systems and may increase the risk of some cancers (CDC).

Heavy metals are ubiquitous in the environment. Humans risk overexposure from environmental concentrations that occur naturally or human activities. It is very important to note that treatment regimens vary drastically and are custom-made to each individual’s medical condition and the occurrence of their exposure. Providing a complete history of the person, including their occupation, hobbies, recreational activities, and environment, is critical in diagnosing heavy metal toxicity. A possible history of ingestion often facilitates a diagnosis, particularly in children. Findings from physical examinations vary with the age of the person, health status of the person, amount or form of the substance, and time since exposure.

It is important to consult a medical professional when dealing with heavy metal poisoning or if experiencing any heavy metal health effects for further information.