Aluminum Toxicity

(Aluminum Poisoning)

Definition

Aluminum toxicity occurs when a person ingests or breathes high levels of aluminum into the body.Aluminum is the most plentiful metal in the earth’s crust. It is present in the environment combined with other elements such as oxygen, silicon, and fluorine.Exposure to aluminum is usually not harmful, but exposure to high levels can cause serious health problems. If you think you have been exposed to high levels of aluminum, contact your doctor.

Causes

Because aluminum is found in food, water, air, and soil, people may be exposed to high levels of aluminum when they:
  • Drink or ingest substances containing high levels of aluminum
  • Breath aluminum dust in workplace air
  • Live where aluminum is mined or processed
  • Live near certain hazardous waste sites
  • Live where aluminum is naturally high

Risk Factors

Anyone can develop this condition, but certain people are more likely to develop aluminum toxicity. The following factors increase your chances of developing aluminum toxicity:
  • Diminished kidney function
  • Hemodialysis
  • Drinking or ingesting substances that are high in aluminum
  • Living or working in an environment that contains high levels of aluminum
  • Receiving long-term IV nutrition
  • Living in dusty environments

Symptoms

If you have any of the following symptoms, see your physician, especially if you have kidney disease or are on dialysis :
  • Confusion
  • Muscle weakness
  • Bone pain, deformities, and fractures
  • Seizures
  • Speech problems
  • Slow growth—in children
Complications may include:
  • Lung problems
  • Nervous system problems causing difficulty with voluntary and involuntary actions
  • Bone diseases
  • Brain diseases and disorders
  • Anemia
  • Impaired iron absorption
Red Blood Cells
Red blood cells new
These vital cells transport oxygen through the body. Symptoms of aluminum toxicity such as anemia and impaired iron absorption decrease the number of red blood cells.
Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

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