25 Dec What Can a Heavy Metals Test Reveal About Your Health?
Heavy metal poisoning usually happens over time after multiple instances of unintentional exposure to heavy metals such as lead, mercury, and arsenic. A heavy metal test can help determine if you have been exposed to these metals and need treatment. Today, we will discuss what you need to know about heavy metal tests and how to get one.
Understanding Heavy Metal Poisoning
You may also hear of a heavy metal poisoning test being referred to as a heavy metal toxicity test. You can be exposed to heavy metals through certain foods or environmental exposure. Heavy metals usually enter the body as microscopic molecules, and they slowly accumulate in the body over time. They attach to cells, preventing the cells from functioning correctly.
Common heavy metals and where they are found:
- Lead: lead pipes, batteries, paint, and gasoline
- Mercury: lightbulbs, thermometers, batteries, seafood, dental fillings, topical antiseptics
- Arsenic: herbicides, pesticides, insecticides, fungicides, paints, glass, contaminated water, seafood
- Cadmium: cigarette smoke, metal paint, batteries
- Thallium: rodenticides, pesticides, fireworks
Heavy Metal Poisoning Symptoms
The more your body’s exposed to heavy metals the more severe the symptoms get. They also vary depending on the type of metal.
Symptoms of heavy metal toxicity include:
- Throat discomfort
- Low body temperature
- Abdominal pain
- Nausea and vomiting
- Numbness in the hands and feet.
On the other hand, more severe symptoms include:
- Miscarriage in people who are pregnant
- Risk of developing cancer
- Difficulty breathing
- Kidney damage
- Liver damage
- Abnormal heartbeat (arrhythmia)
- Brain damage and memory loss.
How does a Heavy Metals Test Work?
A heavy metal blood test screens your blood to determine if you have been exposed to heavy metals. Heavy metal tests may look for a single metal or a group of them, also called a panel test. Common metals tested in a heavy metal test include lead, mercury, arsenic, cadmium, and chromium.
If you are experiencing strange symptoms and you think you might have been exposed to a heavy metal, a diagnostic test can help determine what’s going on in your body.
You can get tested for heavy metals in three different ways:
- Testing at a clinic or your doctor’s office. You can make an appointment and visit a clinic, where a medical professional will take a blood sample and send it to a lab. After a few days, your results should be available for you and your doctor to review. Because certain types of fish contain high levels of mercury, you may be advised to avoid seafood for 48 hours before your test.
- DIY tests can be performed at home, but these do not always offer accurate results. Also, suppose you do a DIY test that returns positive for heavy metals. In that case, your doctor will still require professional testing to arrive at a diagnosis and move forward with treatment. For this reason, spending money on a DIY test kit is rarely worth it.
- You can have a professional heavy metal test performed at home by using a concierge medical service. This allows a medical professional to come to your home to perform a test. Much like testing at a clinic, your sample will be sent to a lab with results returning a few days later.
What do the Heavy Metal Test Results Mean?
If your heavy metal test finds higher than normal levels of heavy metal in your blood, this may indicate heavy metal poisoning. How your doctor chooses to move forward depends on the type of metal that was found and any symptoms that you’re experiencing.
If it is found that you have normal or low levels of heavy metals in your blood, then this means that you probably do not have heavy metal poisoning. However, some metals can quickly leave the bloodstream and become stored in the tissues. If you are still experiencing unexplained symptoms, your doctor will likely order further testing to determine the cause of the symptoms. You may be required to do the:
- Hair test for heavy metals
- Urine test for heavy metals
- Skin test for heavy metals
- Fingernails test for heavy metals
These tests will help by determination of heavy metals that have left the bloodstream.
What Treatments are Available for Heavy Metal Poisoning?
If your heavy metal test finds an abnormally high level of heavy metals in the blood, your doctor will recommend treatment to help your body eliminate the toxic metals.
You may need treatment to help your body get rid of the metal, or your doctor may recommend chelation therapy. This therapy will help your body excrete the metal through the urine. Chelation therapy is associated with serious risks, so you will need to consider the risks and benefits before agreeing to this treatment. In severe cases, heavy metal poisoning may require having the stomach pumped or having hemodialysis for kidney failure.
Your doctor will help you determine where you were exposed to the metal so that you can take steps to avoid further exposure. For example, if your mercury poisoning test is positive, you may be told to avoid eating certain types of seafood, such as tuna, since it typically contains moderate amounts of mercury. If you live in an area where tap water contains heavy metals or your home has lead pipes, you may be instructed to drink only filtered or bottled water.
Some medications may help with heavy metal detoxes, such as Dimercaprol and Ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA). If your doctor thinks you are a good candidate for these medications, they will prescribe them to you with special instructions for monitoring how your body responds.
Some DIY heavy metal detox kits can be purchased online but be aware that these kits have not been tested for safety and effectiveness. It is important to follow the instructions of a trained healthcare professional to treat heavy metal poisoning.
Heavy metal poisoning is not something to be taken lightly. Even mild instances can still cause long-term effects on your health. It is important to seek professional testing promptly if you think you may have been exposed to heavy metals. Using a DIY test kit or detox kit may seem convenient, but these methods are not always accurate or effective. A professional healthcare provider can safely guide your heavy metals testing and treatment.
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Get your at Home Lab Test in with Concierge MD
If you need a lab test but want to avoid traveling to the doctor’s office, consider Concierge MD as an option. We are a licensed mobile healthcare provider with a wide range of services, including lab testing. You can make an appointment online or over the phone for one of our healthcare specialists to visit you in your home and collect samples for one of our many accessible lab tests:
- Wellness Panel
- Male Hormone
- Female Hormone
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- Anemia Panel
- Food Sensitivity
- Genetic Cancer Screening
- Gut Microbiome
- Inflammation Panel
- Heavy Metal Panel
- Sleep and Stress Panel
- Urinary Health Panel
- Vaginal Health Panel
- and more…
Our staff will assure the safe delivery of samples to our lab. When your results are ready, we can assist you in interpreting them and help you move forward toward a better self. Concierge MD is a private and professional healthcare service that focuses on you. Contact us immediately to order your lab testing!Learn More