• Home
  • Blogs
  • What are the common types of heavy metal poisoning?
Sep 2023

What are the common types of heavy metal poisoning?

Posted By Suborna Fermi Posted on Sep 02, 2023

Heavy metals are toxic elements that are naturally present everywhere, including the food we eat, the water we drink and even in the air we breathe in. All the heavy metals are generally used in the agriculture and industry.

Our body naturally contains certain heavy metals including zinc, copper and iron, that are essential for many healthy body functions. However, the toxic amount of these heavy metals can be problematic. The buildup of heavy metals in the body can cause a range of heavy metal poisoning symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, shortness of breath, stomach pain and others.

Here we talk about the common types and causes of heavy metal poisoning.

What is heavy metal poisoning?

Heavy metals are naturally occurring elements, which are beneficial for the human body. Our human body also needs a sufficient amount of certain heavy metals including zinc, iron and copper for regular functions.

Heavy metal poisoning may occur when the soft tissues of the body absorb toxic amounts of a specific heavy metal. The most common heavy metals that our ingest in high amounts are:

1. Lead: Although lead poisoning occurs when you have drunk lead-containing water for a very long time, even small amounts of lead can cause serious health issues. People who live in old buildings that have very old plumbing, are at a high risk of developing lead poisoning. You can also inhale lead if you are exposed to lead-based paint. Lead poisoning can cause:

  • Birth defects in babies
  • Kidney damage
  • Brain damage
  • Anemia

2. Arsenic: While arsenic is a naturally occurring metal, it can also be synthetically generated. One can develop this poisoning through many ways. Especially, people who live near industrialized areas, exposed to the waste sites, eat arsenic-contaminated foods, and use tobacco products are at a high risk of developing arsenic poisoning. Too much exposure to this heavy metal can cause:

  • Liver disease
  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • Lymphoma
  • Lung cancer
  • Blood cancer
  • Liver cancer
  • Bladder cancer
  • Prostate cancer
  • Kidney cancer
  • Skin cancer
  • Digestive system complications
  • Nervous system complexities
  • Neurotoxicity
  • Birth defects or development defects in babies.

Arsenic toxicity can be highly poisonous for humans, therefore, if you experience any of these symptoms then go for the toxic elements test as soon as possible.

3. Mercury: Although many foods that we eat on a daily basis contain mercury, an excessive amount of mercury in our body can be deadly. You can develop this poisoning by eating too much mercury-containing fish. Mercury poisoning can cause permanent brain damage, kidney damage and circulatory failure. People with an advanced stage of mercury poisoning may experience:

  • Hearing loss
  • Muscle weakness
  • Difficulties in talking and walking
  • Vision issues
  • Nervous loss in hands and feet

If you are having these symptoms, then contact your doctor as soon as possible.

4. Cadmium: You can develop cadmium poisoning by smoking cigarettes or passive smoking. People who work at nickel-cadmium battery manufacturing, or metal welding are at the risk of developing this metal toxicity. However, this heavy metal can also be found in water and certain foods. Cadmium toxicity may cause

  • Lungs damage
  • Kidney disease
  • Heart disease
  • Poor bones health
  • Certain cancer

Apart from all the mentioned heavy metals, cobalt, aluminum, selenium, and barium poisoning are also very common. Examine yourself with a Blood Toxic Element Profile Test to know whether you have any heavy metal poisoning.