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Lead exposure

Electrocardiographs detect heart rhythm changes from lead exposure

Monday, March 03, 2014 by: PF Louis
Tags: lead exposure, heart rhythm changes, cardiovascular health

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(NaturalNews) It may seem odd to associate lead toxicity with cardiac health issues. But there has been considerable research put into that association. Health experts seem to agree that there is no safe level of lead in our bodies, and this heavy metal toxin isn't easily flushed out of our system. Those small amounts can collect and accrue in vital organs, especially the kidneys and liver.

However, determining lead poisoning by symptoms is just like reaching into the symptom bucket for most general maladies: fatigue, low energy, poor appetite or digestion, gastrointestinal problems and so on. All these symptoms are common to many ailments and diseases.

So if you have some of those symptoms and are trying to get at the cause, include a blood test for lead in your screening process. It's not unusual for people with high blood lead to appear healthy and not show any symptoms at all. So if you have any contact with lead in your environment, from water pipes or work-related, it's not a bad idea to get that blood lead test also. [1]

Lead and matters of the heart

Researchers at the Wroclaw Medical University in Wroclaw, Poland, decided to see what using a 12-lead electrocardiogram (ECG) and 24-hour Holter monitor, a portable device worn to monitor heart rates and rhythms, could do for predicting cardiovascular issues among people exposed to lead in their work environments.

They gathered 60 workers from area smelters and other metallurgical industries and 45 healthy men from non-metallurgical work places. The title of their study, published by the Annals of Noninvasive Electrocardiology in 2011, is "Electrocardiographic changes in workers occupationally exposed to lead."

The ECG and Holter devices were used to analyze anomalies within heartbeat rates and rhythms as well as heart rate turbulence (HRT). The HRT phenomenon is that flutter after a premature ventricle contraction (PVC), or skipped beat when the heart pumps out blood before a chamber is filled.

The flutter is the heart trying to make up for that skipped beat, which is normal if occurring only occasionally with short durations that allow the heart to catch up with itself within 10 rapid beats.

Another activity that the researchers examined was heart rate variability (HRV), the duration and frequency of heartbeats. Among the 60 metallurgy workers and smelters, ECG revealed that 27 had various pathologies.

Their conclusion: Electrocardiographic evaluation showed that various heart rhythm disorders were more frequent in metallurgists, as compared to the control group.... Noninvasive electrocardiographic evaluation could be a valuable method of the early prediction of cardiovascular disorders in men occupationally exposed to lead. [2]

Opinion: The lead-to-heart health connection would have been more obvious and conclusive if all the subjects had their blood lead levels tested.

Other tests and studies that do support lead poisoning for heart health

N.D. Vaziri and H.C. Gonick of the University of California's Division of Nephrology and Hypertension submitted a paper titled "Cardiovascular effects of lead exposure" to the Indian Journal of Medical Research in 2008 to provide an overview of several studies that contributed links of hypertension, varied cardiovascular diseases including heart attacks, and low levels of chronic lead exposure.

This paper shows that there has been a lot of research, including in vitro (lab specimens), in vivo (animal) and long-range epidemiological surveys of human subjects. Even arterial inner wall epithelial cell damage that leads to atherosclerosis (arterial plaque) has been observed from lead intoxication. [3]

Yet, cardiovascular health's relationship to lead toxicity is not mentioned much. But if you are having excessive heart palpitations with high blood pressure, checking your blood lead level would be wise.

Sources for this article include:

[1] http://articles.baltimoresun.com


[3] http://icmr.nic.in

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