Chrome 2001
.
Aetna Intelihealth InteliHealth Aetna Intelihealth Aetna Intelihealth
 
.
. .
.
Chrome 2001
Chrome 2001
InteliHealth
Ask the Doc
4464
Ask the Doc
Ask The Expert
Harvard Medical School
Image of a cadeusus
. .
General Medical Questions
.
Question : Are there any tests that can determine what levels of heavy metals are in a person's body, particularly mercury? If testing showed high levels, what can be done to reduce them?
.
.
.
The Trusted Source
.
.
Howard LeWine, M.D.

Mary Pickett, M.D. is an Associate professor at Oregon Health & Science University where she is a primary care doctor for adults. She supervises and educates residents in the field of Internal Medicine, for outpatient and hospital care. She is a Lecturer for Harvard Medical School and a Senior Medical Editor for Harvard Health Publications.

.
.
October 04, 2013
.

Metals are a part of our natural environment. And tiny amounts of many metals are normally found in our bodies.

However, higher concentrations of some metals in our bodies can be harmful. Mercury is a good example. It t can result in neurological injury, kidney damage, or a rash if a substantial quantity of the metal is circulating within your body.

Doctors can measure mercury concentrations in the blood or in the urine. A concentration above 5 micrograms per liter is considered to be outside of the normal range. But slightly elevated levels are common. Concentrations above 100 micrograms per liter are usually required for there to be significant poisoning. Lower levels of exposure are a concern in pregnancy.

Routine testing for heavy metals is not recommended. However, if you have a symptom that could be caused by an unusual presence of metal in your blood, then your doctor may test your blood or urine to evaluate that possibility.

If there is an extraordinary concern about poisoning, a “chelating” medicine can lower high mercury levels. These drugs help get mercury out of the body quicker by making it pass into the urine.

Chelation treatments are rarely needed. If needed, they should only be done under a doctor’s supervision. And you should never use chelating products that are advertised without your doctor’s recommendation.

You can reduce your mercury exposure by limiting the amount of mercury in your diet. For instance, predator ocean fish (including shark, swordfish, and tuna) and large fish from lakes (pike, walleye, and bass) can accumulate mercury in their meat. So it’s common for people who frequently eat these fish to have mercury levels in their blood above 20 micrograms per liter. If you are going to have your mercury level tested, you should avoid eating fish for a week before your test so the result will be more accurate.

Silver (amalgam) dental fillings also contain mercury. And tooth grinding can cause small amounts of mercury from fillings to enter the bloodstream. However, the mercury exposure that comes from dental fillings is quite small. So doctors do not currently recommend that you have metal fillings removed.

.
.
InteliHealth
.
Ask A Question
.
.
InteliHealth
Do You Have A Question?
.
. . .
.
Ask The Expert Archives
Topics
.
InteliHealth
.
InteliHealth

    Print Printer-friendly format    
   
dmtatd
dmtATD
dmtatd
126747
InteliHealth
1998-05-15
f
InteliHealth
NULL
411, 4464, 4581, 4582, 7991, 7992, 7995, 7996, 7997, 8122, 8438, 8463, 8464, 8465, 8466, 8467, 8468, 8469, 8470, 8471, 8472, 8473, 8474, 8475, 8476, 8477, 8479, 8480, 8481, 8482, 8483, 8484, 8486, 8487, 8488, 8489, 8490, 8760, 14219, 20807, 21346, 21349, 21351, 23926, 23938, 24017, 24025, 24075, 24151, 24510, 24519, 24549, 24869, 24878, 25107, 25518, 25646, 25968, 29367, 29516, 29595, 48666, 48812, 59367,
4581
.
.  
This website is certified by Health On the Net Foundation. Click to verify.
.