Lead Levels in Blood
A blood test measures the lead levels
in your body. A high level of lead in the body indicates lead poisoning.
Children and adults who have been
exposed to lead should have their lead levels tested. Lead is especially
harmful to children. It can damage their developing brains, leading to problems
with their mental development. It can also cause organ damage.
Who Needs Testing
Children should have their lead levels
checked when exposure is suspected or when local guidelines suggest it.
Generally, children get tested between 1 and 3 years old.
Local governments often set guidelines
for lead testing particular to the risks in that area. Your local health
department can tell you when testing is recommended.
Adults and children who are at risk
for lead poisoning should be tested. High-risk groups include:
- low-income families
- living in
large metropolitan areas
- living in
older homes, especially homes that were built before 1978
Exposure to certain materials also
increases the risk of lead poisoning. Sources of lead exposure include:
- soil and water
exposed to lead paint, gasoline additives, or lead pipes
- lead paint and
cosmetics and costume jewelry
- folk remedies
using azarcon and greta
- working in
- working in
automotive repair or construction industries
Why Lead Testing Is Done
Lead testing is done to check for lead
poisoning. In the early stages, lead poisoning typically doesn't cause
symptoms. That’s why routine testing is necessary in children and adults
exposed to lead. Lead poisoning in children can cause:
- brain and
nervous system damage
language, and attention deficits
- growth failure
- hearing loss
- anemia, which
is a decrease of red blood cells
- sleep problems
- weight loss
- abdominal pain
In adults, lead poisoning can cause:
- miscarriage or
- pain and
tingling in the hands and feet
- muscle and
- high blood
- memory loss
- mood changes
- changes in
Your doctor may also order a blood
test to check your lead levels if you have been previously diagnosed with lead
poisoning. This test will be ordered to check that your lead levels are
lowering with treatment.
What Happens During the
A blood test to check your lead levels
may be performed in your doctor’s office or a medical lab. It’s also called a
blood draw or venipuncture.
To begin, the technician will clean
the area that the blood will be drawn from with an antiseptic to help prevent
infection. The blood is usually taken from a vein located on the inside of your
elbow or the back of your hand. The technician will tie an elastic band around
your upper arm. This is done to cause blood to collect in the vein, making it
easier to draw blood.
They’ll insert a sterile needle into
your vein and begin drawing blood. The elastic band will be removed from your
arm. When the technician is done drawing blood, they will remove the needle.
They'll apply a bandage to the wound. You’ll need to keep pressure on it to
help stop the bleeding and prevent bruising. You may continue to feel some
throbbing around the wound area, which will go away within a few minutes to a
Having your blood drawn may cause mild
to moderate pain. Most people report a burning or pricking sensation. Relaxing
your arm while having your blood drawn can help reduce the amount of pain.
Your blood sample will be sent to the
medical lab to be tested for blood.
Risks of Lead Levels
The risk of having your blood drawn is
low. Possible risks include:
puncture wounds due to trouble finding a vein
- feeling lightheaded
which is a collection of blood under the skin
Getting a blood test is a routine
procedure. If you are at risk for lead poisoning, it's important to check your
blood lead levels.