Heavy metals come in various sources, including tap water, factories, and even at home. However, not all people understand the harmful effects of heavy metal exposure and poisoning. Increasing your awareness about heavy metals and their possible health effects can help you find ways to keep your health safeguarded from them.
In this article, you’ll learn the signs of heavy metal damage to human health.
1. Stunted Growth And Development
Water is a vehicle of all essential nutrients, oxygen, and substances the body needs to grow and develop. However, heavy metals in drinking water may cause stunted growth and development, which can tremendously affect children. Lead, arsenic, and mercury in drinking water may cause this problem.
Tap water is a convenient drinking water source because it freely flows and takes it whenever you like it. However, tap water still requires better filtration. Solely drinking tap water could mean ingesting heavy metals, such as mercury, fluoride, lead, chlorine, arsenic, dioxin, and Polychlorinated Biphenyls or PCBs. While heavy metals may present in low concentrations, they could bring long-term harmful health effects.
You can protect your family by using high-quality water filters in your drinking water. It’s a great way to keep your drinking water safe and healthy to consume. Check this link to learn how water filters can help reduce heavy metals in drinking water.
2. Digestive Signs And Symptoms
Heavy metal damage can manifest as digestive signs and symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, constipation, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. Ingestion of heavy metals may cause immediate or delayed digestive reactions. So, it’s important to maintain overall health by ensuring you have your tap water tested and protected.
3. Kidney Problems
Urinary signs and symptoms may include difficulty urinating, painful urination, or reduced urine production. The most common heavy metals that cause kidney toxicity include arsenic, cadmium, barium, cobalt, lithium, mercury, copper, lead, and platinum.
Heavy metal detoxification removes metallic toxic substances from the blood. In conventional medicine, dialysis and chelation therapy are used to eliminate heavy metals. Chelation therapy refers to a chemical process using ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA), injected into the bloodstream, removing heavy metals from the body.
4. Liver Problems
According to a trusted source, people with higher cadmium urine levels due to chronic exposure to this heavy metal appear to be 3.5 times more likely to die because of liver disease. Cadmium levels accumulate in the body over time due to its long chemical half-life.
Cadmium is commonly found in the environment, including tobacco smoke, fossil fuels, municipal waste incineration, and other environmental sources. Batteries made with cadmium and plastics may also cause harmful health effects.
5. Body Weakness
According to a study, a blood lead level of 10 micrograms per deciliter or above causes health concerns without a specified threshold value that can be considered safe. Lead harms the production of blood cells. It affects calcium absorption needed for strong teeth and bones and muscle movements, blood vessels, and nerves.
6. Nervous System Problems
Occupationally exposed people are at an increased risk of neurological problems due to heavy metals. During circulation, heavy metals pass through the cross the blood-brain barrier via the nerve capillaries, settling down in the brain, causing neurotoxicity (kills nerve cells or neurons).
The nervous system signs and symptoms include peripheral neuropathy, restlessness, and cognitive problems. Chronic accumulation and excessive exposure to neurotoxic agents, like mercury, lead, cadmium, and other heavy metals may cause brain damage.
7. Immune System Problems
Immune system issues arise due to heavy metal poisoning. Heavy metals suppress the immune system, including mercury, arsenic, nickel, aluminum, lead, and cadmium. Immunotoxicity occurs or destroys immune cells responsible for fighting harmful microorganisms and substances that attack the body.
8. Metal-specific Symptoms
It’s crucial to take extra precautions to ensure safe drinking water at home to avoid heavy metal poisoning. While heavy metal poisoning rarely happens in tap water, it’s important to know the warning signs to be prepared for the worse.
Heavy metal poisoning also presents metal-specific symptoms, including the following:
- Lead Poisoning Symptoms: Sleep problems, constipation, anemia, irritability, aggressive behavior, headaches, anemia, memory loss, fatigue, and developmental skill problems in children.
- Mercury Poisoning Symptoms: Muscle weakness, trouble walking, lack of coordination, vision changes, speech and hearing difficulties, and tingling hands and face.
- Arsenic Poisoning Symptoms: Red or swollen skin, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle cramps, and abnormal heartbeat.
- Cadmium Poisoning Symptoms: Muscle pain, breathing problems, and fever.
The signs of heavy metal damage include digestive, muscular, kidney, nervous, and cardiovascular problems. Drinking water can have trace amounts of heavy metals. However, prolonged exposure may cause long-term and chronic effects, such as heart problems, liver and kidney damage, and cancer. It’s essential to reduce heavy metal exposure through water filtration and using appropriate safety gear when exposed in the workplace or elsewhere.