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You are here : 3-RX.com > Medical Encyclopedia > Diseases and Conditions > Lead Poisoning: Symptoms & Signs
      Category : Health Centers > Poisoning and Toxicology

Lead Poisoning

Alternate Names : Lead Toxicity, Plumbism

Lead Poisoning | Symptoms & Signs | Diagnosis & Tests | Prevention & Expectations | Treatment & Monitoring

What are the signs and symptoms of the condition?

The symptoms of lead poisoning can vary widely. The effects of lead poisoning depend on the person's age, the amount of lead in the body, and how long the exposure has been going on. Lead poisoning is called acute if the exposure happens quickly. Chronic exposure occurs over weeks or months.

Both types of poisoning are harmful, but the symptoms tend to be slightly different. Acute or sudden poisoning may cause:

  • sudden changes in behavior
  • abdominal distress
  • nausea and vomiting
  • unsteady gait or walking style, known as ataxia
  • seizures, impaired consciousness, or even coma
  • Chronic or slow poisoning may cause:

  • gradual changes in behavior, such as a child who becomes hyperactive
  • decreased school performance
  • intelligence problems and memory loss
  • occasional abdominal distress
  • paralysis of the hands or feet, which usually only occurs in adults
  • fatigue
  • joint pain
  • anemia, or low red blood cell counts
  • kidney damage
  • a bluish-black line at the area where the teeth and gums meet

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    Lead Poisoning: Overview, Causes, & Risk Factors


    Lead Poisoning: Diagnosis & Tests

    Author: Adam Brochert, MD
    Reviewer: Eileen McLaughlin, RN, BSN
    Date Reviewed: 07/27/01

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