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Lead Poisoning in Adults

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:

Lead poisoning is dangerous levels of lead in your blood. Poisoning usually happens when items that contain lead are accidentally inhaled or swallowed. Lead is found in paint, batteries, and gasoline fumes. Lead is easily absorbed and can cause nervous system damage. Lead also replaces calcium in bones.

WHILE YOU ARE HERE:

Informed consent

is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that you may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done. Make sure all your questions are answered.

Intake and output

may be measured. Healthcare providers will keep track of the amount of liquid you are getting. They also may need to know how much you are urinating. Ask healthcare providers if they need to measure or collect your urine.

An IV

is a small tube placed in your vein that is used to give you medicine or liquids.

Medicines:

  • Iron This medicine may be given to treat anemia, which can be caused by lead poisoning.
  • Chelation therapy will bind with lead in the blood so it can be removed through your urine and bowel movement. These may be given as a pill or through an IV.
  • Vitamins and minerals may be needed. Calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin C can help decrease blood levels of lead.
  • Anticonvulsant medicine is given to control seizures.
  • Pain medicine may be given. Do not wait until the pain is severe before you ask for more medicine.
  • Steroids may be given to treat swelling in the brain caused by the lead.

Tests:

  • Blood tests may be used to check for lead or signs of lead poisoning, such as anemia (low red blood cells).
  • X-rays may show where the lead is, if it was swallowed.

RISKS:

Left untreated, lead poisoning may cause long-term mental and physical problems, and become life-threatening. Severe poisoning can cause seizures and coma.

CARE AGREEMENT:

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Learn more about Lead Poisoning in Adults (Inpatient Care)

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Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.