Unfortunate as it is, lead poisoning still is not as uncommon as it should be at this point in 2021.
Even though lead-based paints were banned more than four decades ago, it continues to be a lingering issue in the United States because a large number of homeowners are not aware of the lead removal risks in old houses and apartments.
If you have had any construction/renovation/remodeling work done in your home recently, and you are not 100% sure about the contractor’s lead paint certification levels, it is possible that you and your family might already be suffering from mild to moderate levels of lead poisoning, depending on the exposure level. Check some of the usual signs and symptoms next to see if any of them feel relatable.
Gastrointestinal Symptoms of Chronic Lead Poisoning
Even though lead poisoning is most often associated with memory loss and other cognitive impairments, they become more apparent in cases of acute lead poisoning. As for the slow poisoning effects of lead exposure, the following gastrointestinal symptoms are far more common.
- Infrequent vomiting
- Stomach cramps
Understand that as the severity of the toxin becomes more and more acute, so will the symptoms, leading to more severe cramps, frequent vomiting, loss of appetite, and a constant sense of nausea.
Neuromuscular Symptoms of Chronic Lead Poisoning
The neuromuscular symptoms of chronic lead poisoning are not exactly like the neurological effects of the toxin, which we will discuss in the next point. Neuromuscular effects are observed in the form of:
- Poor coordination or loss of coordination should be distinguishable from other similar conditions on account of the symptom’s suddenness.
- Muscular fatigue.
- Headaches, similar to migraines.
- Tingling and/or loss of sensation and pain near the extremities, including places such as the fingertips, toe tips, and the nose tip.
- Speech problems, aka loss of verbal articulation.
- Low sperm production, leading to infertility.
- Abnormal sperm cell structure, which can lead to infertility or abnormalities in the fetus.
- Miscarriages or stillbirth.
- Premature birth.
Neurological Symptoms of Chronic Lead Poisoning
The most well-known of all the symptoms associated with lead poisoning are the neurological symptoms, although the gastrointestinal and neuromuscular symptoms are more common in chronic cases. Let’s go through the usual symptoms next.
- Loss of memory (short-term memory in most cases, but a loss of long-term memory can also occur when the exposure is severe enough).
- Inability to concentrate.
- Mental haze, aka stupor.
- Insomnia and broken sleep.
- Depression, mood swings, and constant anxiety.
- Cognitive impairment (inability to write, type, solve problems as quickly as before)
Lead is an element and although it is toxic for human beings, it is very much a part of the planet’s chemical structure. What that means is that lead exposure can happen via other points of contact as well, such as through coming in contact with lead-contaminated soil in the forest, or while drinking water from a plumbing system that still has corroded lead pipes.
Therefore, the symptoms we mentioned could be indicative of lead exposure and poisoning, irrespective of whether it happened while trekking, or while renovating your home. Seeking urgent medical assistance is critical to making a fast recovery and preventing permanent damage.