Symptoms of lead poisoning in adults include abdominal pain, constipation, high blood pressure, muscle and joint pain, and mental functioning declines, according to Mayo Clinic. Memory loss, weight loss, headaches, premature birth or miscarriage, and abnormal or reduced sperm counts are also symptoms of lead poisoning.
Even in people with high blood levels of lead, lead poisoning sometimes produces no symptoms, warns Mayo Clinic. Typically, by the time a person exhibits symptoms of lead poisoning, the blood contains dangerous levels of lead.
The main cause of lead poisoning is exposure to lead through lead-based paints in the home, reports Mayo Clinic. This is usually only a problem in older homes, since the United States banned the use of lead in paint in 1978. Lead poisoning also occurs due to exposure to lead in water pipes, soil, household dust and some cosmetics, among other sources.
Treatment for lead poisoning involves removing exposure threats and sources of contamination, notes Mayo Clinic. Chelation therapy, which involves taking medication that binds to the lead and allows it to pass during urination, is standard in treating the condition. EDTA therapy using ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid is another treatment reserved for people with higher levels of lead. Even with therapy, damage caused by lead poisoning is not always reversible.