Some heavy metals, in trace amounts, are beneficial to the body; these include iron, zinc, copper and manganese. Other heavy metals can be poisonous or toxic to the human body; these include arsenic, lead, mercury, cadmium, iron, and others. These metals manifest themselves within the soft tissues of the body and may cause gastrointestinal, neurological, and other serious illness if left untreated. More people are undergoing heavy metal testing, via Live Blood Cell Analysis or Hair Mineral Analysis, to seek answers to some of their acute or long-term health issues. Still others ask for testing to get ahead of any potential health problems.
Heavy metals become poison to the body when the elements deposit in soft tissue and remain there due to the body’s inability to metabolize them. Toxic metals enter the body via consumption of food or water; inhalation of polluted air; or absorption through the pores of the skin. People may be exposed to heavy metals at work if they work within the agricultural, manufacturing, or pharmaceutical industries; they may also become exposed in older residential settings where lead paint was used. Both children and adults can be exposed; both acute and long-term poisoning may occur.
Live Blood Cell Analysis is a test whereby a health care practitioner pricks the patient’s finger to deliver a drop of blood onto a slide. The specimen is then studied through a high-resolution, dark-field microscope which sends an image to a TV monitor. This type of test is typically performed to detect lead, mercury, cadmium, and aluminum toxicity. It can also be used to test for the number one cause of acute heavy metal poisoning, arsenic; however, since arsenic clears from the blood rapidly, the Live Blood Cell Analysis may prove useless. In this instance, urine tests are more reliable for exposure over the last couple of days, and hair mineral analysis is preferred to detect exposure over the last few months.
Hair Mineral Analysis is a test which is considered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as an effective test for the “…biological monitoring of the highest priority toxic metals – lead, cadmium, mercury and arsenic,” and “For toxic exposure…(testing) hair appears to be superior to (testing) blood and urine.” Hair Mineral Analysis can show exposure to heavy metals dating back in time, while the aforementioned blood test typically shows more recent exposure. Furthermore, hair which has been chemically treated should not be tested for at least two (2) months after treatment due to the contamination of the hair specimens.
Acute exposure to toxic heavy metals is categorized as two (2) weeks or less. Intermediate exposure is between two (2) weeks and almost one (1) year. Chronic exposure is more than one (1) year. Depending upon a person’s unique situation, health care practitioners will decide which test is best for detecting heavy metal toxicity, and which treatment plan will benefit which patients.
What are “heavy metals”?
There are many heavy metals in our environment both naturally and from pollution. The term “heavy metal” applies to a group of metals with similar chemical properties. Some of these, including copper, iron and zinc, play important roles in our bodies. Others have no known benefit for health.
Examples of these are lead, which is found in paint in old homes as well as many other sources; arsenic, which can be found in well water and wood products; and mercury, which can build up in fish that we eat. At very high levels, most heavy metals can cause health problems.
How are people exposed to heavy metals?
People may be exposed to small amounts of heavy metals through food, water, air, and commercial products. People can also be exposed in their workplace, as several industries use or produce these metals. Each metal is different in where it is found and how it behaves in our bodies. Exposure alone does not mean that it is causing any disease or harm.
What is acute heavy metal poisoning?
Acute heavy metal poisoning usually occurs when people are exposed to large amounts of a metal at one time. For example, swallowing a leaded toy can cause a large amount of lead exposure all at once. This generally does not occur from exposures that you are not aware of. Acute exposures are dangerous and can quickly cause serious health effects or death.
Learn about Heavy Metal Testing visit us at www.datet.com or Call Us Toll Free (888) 201-0242