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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:

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:

Symptoms

If you have any of the following symptoms, see your physician, especially if you have kidney disease or are on dialysis :
Complications may include:
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.
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Diagnosis

You will be asked about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done.
Tests may include the following:
The diagnosis is usually made by typical symptoms along with high aluminum in the blood. Aluminum in the bone marrow will confirm the diagnosis.

Treatment

Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Treatment options include:

Medications

The medication, deferoxamine mesylate, may be given to help eliminate aluminum from your body. This substance works through a procedure known as chelation, which helps the body remove poisonous materials.

Aluminum Avoidance

You will be instructed on how to avoid exposure to excess aluminum from your diet and other sources.

Prevention

To help reduce your chances of getting aluminum toxicity, take steps to avoid the following if they contain aluminum:
Talk to your doctor about your risk of aluminum poisoning from dialysis, immunizations that contain aluminum, and total parenteral nutrition solutions.

RESOURCES

Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov

United States Environmental Protection Agency http://www.epa.gov

CANADIAN RESOURCES

Guide to Less Toxic Products Environmental Health Association of Nova Scotia http://www.lesstoxicguide.ca

Poison Control Centers for Canada Association of the Chemical Profession of Ontario http://www.acpo.on.ca

References

Andia JB. Aluminum toxicity: its relationship with bone and iron metabolism. Nephrol Dial Transplant. 1996; 11 Suppl 3:69-73.

Bia MJ, Cooper K, et al. Aluminum induced anemia: pathogenesis and treatment in patients on chronic dialysis. Kidney Int. 1989 Nov;36(5):852-8.

Delmez J, Weerts C, et al. Accelerated removal of deferoxamine mesylate-chelated aluminum by charcoal hyperfusion in hemodialysis patients. Am J Kidney Disease. 1989 Apr;13(4):308-11.

D’Haese PC, Couttenye MM, et al. Use of the low-dose desferrioxamine test to diagnose and differentiate between patients with aluminum-related bone disease, increased risk for aluminum toxicity, or aluminium overload. Nephrol dial Transplant. 1995;10:1874-84.

Kawahara M. Effects of aluminum on the nervous system and its possible link with neurodegenerative diseases. J Alzheimers Dis. 2005;8:171-82.

Krewski D, Yokei RA, Nieboer E et al: Human health risk assessment for aluminium, aluminium oxide, and aluminium hydroxide. J Toxicol Environ Health b Crit Rev. 2007:10 supl 1: 1-269

Malluche HH. Aluminum and bone disease in chronic renal failure. Nephrol dial Transplant. 2002; 17:21-24.

Molloy DW, Standish TI, Nieboer E et al: Effects of acute exposure to aluminum on cognition in humans. J Toxicol Environ Health. A 2007: 70:2011-9

Toxic substances portal: Aluminum. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/toxfaqs/tf.asp?id=190&tid=34#bookmark08. Updated March 3, 2011. Accessed February 16, 2015.

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