How Heavy Metal Contamination Could Be Affecting Your Health

Heavy Metal Contamination, Wellness at Century City

In sufficient levels, certain metals distinguished by their high densities can be toxic to your body. Some heavy metals are minerals that are essential to your health, such as iron, zinc, and copper. Heavy metal contamination occurs when you’re exposed to toxic levels of a particular metal. Any substance can be toxic if your exposure to it passes a certain point, but harmful heavy metals have low toxicity thresholds.

However, true heavy metal poisoning doesn’t happen very often in the United States. It doesn’t mean, though, that you won’t suffer negative health effects from contamination, an exposure level to a substance that falls short of true poisoning.

Sources of exposure to heavy metals

If you’re around sources of heavy metals, it’s possible to absorb these into your body. Typically, you can take in heavy metals through foods, drinks, or inhalation. Common causes of heavy metal contamination can include:

Heavy metal contamination can build over time, as metals accumulate to toxic levels before they’re naturally removed by your body’s waste disposal systems.

Signs of heavy metal contamination

The symptoms you experience depend on the type of metal that’s accumulated in your body. Heavy metal poisoning can be acute (coming on quickly due to large, sudden exposure) or chronic (building more slowly over time).

Symptoms of acute heavy metal poisoning include:

Acute heavy metal poisoning is a medical emergency. There’s usually an obvious reason for the exposure, such as an accident in a factory or a child swallowing an old toy made of lead. If the offices of Wellness at Century City are closed, contact the Poison Help Line at (800) 222-1222.

Chronic heavy metal poisoning can lead to:

Chronic heavy metal poisoning results from long-term, low-dose exposure, and your symptoms may build slowly over time.

Diagnosing heavy metal contamination

Testing for heavy metal poisoning isn’t usually routine, so if you’re aware of a work situation, hobby, medicine, or other possible source of heavy metal contact, make sure that Dr. Cho knows so the appropriate tests can be ordered. You may need blood and/or urine testing or X-rays, depending on the metals you’re in contact with.

Treating heavy metal toxicity

When a heavy metal toxin is identified, the first line of defense is avoiding further exposure. This typically prevents symptoms from getting more severe and may allow your body to recover naturally, if it’s possible. Acute heavy metal poisoning could require immediate intervention, such as having your stomach pumped.

For serious contamination, chelation is perhaps the most common form of treatment. Typically administered intravenously, chelation uses substances that bind with the heavy metal toxins, making it easier for your body to flush these through your urine. Dr. Cho determines which types of chelation treatment or supplementation works best for your particular toxins.

If you live in the Los Angeles area and think you may be suffering from heavy metal contamination, contact Dr. Cho and the integrative medicine team at Wellness at Century City. You can call the office or request an appointment through the online booking tool.

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