Signs & Symptoms of High Levels of Mercury in the Blood

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Symptoms of high mercury levels in the bloodstream range from minor impairment of peripheral vision to severe loss of coordination and mental disturbances. These problems depend on how the mercury enters the body, how long the body is exposed to the mercury and how the body chooses to respond.

Effects

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, common symptoms include impairment of the peripheral vision; disturbances in sensations, usually in the hands feet and sometimes around the mouth; lack of coordination of movements such as writing; impairment of speech, hearing and walking; muscle weakness; skin rashes; mood swings; memory loss; and mental disturbances.

Types

According to MedLine Plus, health problems can result from exposure to elemental mercury, inorganic mercury salts or organic mercury.

Warning

Mercury poisoning most commonly occurs as a result of consuming mercury-contaminated fish. The highest levels of mercury are typically found in marlin, titlefish, grouper, orange roughy, shark, mackerel and swordfish.

Famous Ties

In December 2008, actor Jeremy Piven dropped out of a Broadway show because of a high mercury count.

Significance

A researcher from UCLA estimated 30 percent of women ages 18 to 49 had inorganic mercury in their bloodstream in 2005 and 2006.

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