This occurs when a person takes in too much aluminum.Aluminum is a common element that is all around us. Being around it is usually not harmful. Taking in high levels of it can cause serious health problems
People may take in high levels of it when they:
- Drink or eat things that have high levels of it
- Breathe aluminum dust in the air at work
- Live where it is mined or processed
- Live near some hazardous waste sites
- Live where aluminum levels are naturally high
People may be at higher risk for this if they:
- Have kidney problems or are on dialysis
- Drink or eat things that have a lot of aluminum
- Live or work in an place with high aluminum levels
- Have gotten IV nutrition for a long time
- Live in dusty environments
People with aluminum toxicity may have:
- Muscle weakness
- Bones that hurt, change shape, or break
- Speech problems
- Slow growth (in children)
Without treatment, severe symptoms may lead to:
- Lung problems
- Stomach and bowel problems
- Nervous system issues that cause movement problems
- Bone diseases
- Brain diseases and disorders
These vital cells transport oxygen through the body. Symptoms of aluminum toxicity such as anemia and impaired iron absorption decrease the number of red blood cells.
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The doctor will ask about symptoms and past health. You may also be asked if there is aluminum at work or around your home. A physical exam will be done. To see how much aluminum is in the body, the doctor may test your:
- Urine (pee)
- Stool (poop)
- Bone marrow
The goal of treatment is to get the extra aluminum out of your body. This may be done with medicine.
The doctor may discuss ways you can avoid taking in more aluminum.
People who are on dialysis or get IV nutrition should talk to their doctor about ways to reduce the risk of taking in too much aluminum.
- Aluminum measurement, blood. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/lab-monograph/aluminum-measurement-blood. Accessed April 29, 2022.
- Igbokwe, I.O., Igwenagu, E., et al. Aluminum toxicosis: a review of toxic actions and effects. Interdisciplinary Toxicology, 2019; 12 (2): 45-70.
- Klotze, K. Weisteinhöfer, W., et al. The health effects of aluminum exposure. Deutsches Ärtzeblatt International, 2017; 114 (39): 653-659.
- Toxic substances portal: aluminum. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/toxfaqs/TF.asp?id=190&tid=34. Accessed April 29, 2022.
- James Cornell, MD
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