What Are Some Symptoms of Mercury Poisoning in Adults?


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Symptoms of mercury poisoning vary depending on the type of mercury exposure, according to eMedicineHealth. Symptoms of elemental mercury poisoning include impaired cognitive functioning, muscle atrophy and weakness, mood swings, tremors and insomnia. Symptoms of organic mercury poisoning include loss of coordination, speech and hearing impairments, peripheral vision impairment, and stinging sensations in the mouth and extremities. Inorganic mercury poisoning symptoms include memory loss, mood swings, skin rashes, muscle weakness and bloody diarrhea.

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Anecdotal reports link mercury poisoning to high blood pressure and endometriosis, though no scientific studies support these claims, as of 2015, states eMedicineHealth.

Mercury poisoning can occur as a result of ingestion, inhalation or skin contact with mercury, and treatment varies depending on the form of poisoning, explains eMedicineHealth. If a person has ingested inorganic mercury in edible or liquid form, toxicologists use activated charcoal to bind and inactivate the toxin. Aggressive gastric lavage, in which laxatives and fluids are used to wash out the stomach, is typically recommended to remove bound and unbound toxins. Additional treatment includes the use of a chelating agent, most often dimercaprol, to bind ingested mercury. Specialists sometimes administer neostigmine to improve motor function.

Suspected mercury toxicity should be treated immediately, as waiting for confirmation from medical testing can allow permanent damage to occur, advises eMedicineHealth.

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