What is included in the patient education about lead toxicity?

Updated: Jan 16, 2020
  • Author: Pranay Kathuria, MD, FACP, FASN, FNKF; Chief Editor: Tarakad S Ramachandran, MBBS, MBA, MPH, FAAN, FACP, FAHA, FRCP, FRCPC, FRS, LRCP, MRCP, MRCS  more...
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Answer

In cooperation with local health departments, the physician should educate families about the following:

  • Causes and effects of lead poisoning

  • Relationship between blood lead level and anticipated medical or neuropsychological problems

  • Importance of follow-up or serial blood lead level determinations to monitor effects of treatment and environmental lead abatement

  • Identifying and eliminating possible sources of lead exposure

  • Increased lead absorption in patients with iron-deficiency anemia

  • Local resources about lead exposure and treatment

All patients must be educated in lead avoidance. The termination of exposure to lead is imperative. In particular, workers should be educated regarding the health risks of lead and sources that may cause poisoning.

A good, substantial diet is important; lead absorption is increased when a diet rich in fats is consumed. Also, diets low in iron, calcium, and vitamin C increase the likelihood of lead absorption and resultant lead poisoning. Dietary fiber helps promote good peristalsis and decreases the opportunity for lead absorption; thus, at least 15 g of dietary fiber is suggested for children each day.


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