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Arsenic (As), Blood

Arsenic (As) is a heavy metal found in all human tissues. The concentration of arsenic in the body can be increased by professional, environmental (carbon burning), or intentional exposure. About 60% of the ingested arsenic is excreted in the urine. Arsenic is found in the environment in water and as a component of pesticides, paints, processed wood, cosmetics, and some antiprotozoal drugs. Arsenic acts toxically by inhibiting specific enzymatic systems necessary for cellular metabolism. Determination of arsenic in the blood is used to confirm acute poisoning quickly. Chronic occupational exposure and chronic ingestion of arsenic are associated with skin, lung, and other cancers.

Symptoms of acute arsenic poisoning include abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, bloody diarrhea, a thirst that develops into dehydration and imbalance of liquids and electrolytes, hematuria, metallic taste, renal failure, jaundice, hypoxia, convulsions, coma, and respiratory and cardiovascular shock. It can lead to death.

Symptoms and laboratory findings of chronic arsenic poisoning include abnormal erythropoiesis and myelopoiesis, alopecia (hair thinning), anemia, basophilic stippling, delirium, diarrhea, gastrointestinal symptoms, hepatomegaly, hyperkeratosis of the palms of the hands and the soles of the feet, leukopenia, macular degeneration, Aldrich-Mees lines, metallic taste, peripheral neuropathy, changes in skin color and thrombocytopenia.

A diet rich in seafood can increase arsenic levels in the blood. Arsenic is transferred to the fetus via the placenta.

Some Asian herbs commonly prescribed for hemorrhoids and the treatment of congenital retinoblastoma may contain high concentrations of arsenic.

The determination of metals is done by ICP-MS (Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry), a method that enables the simultaneous detection of many metals. Its sensitivity and accuracy are significantly better than conventional atomic absorption, with the ability to measure metals at concentrations up to 1 in 1015 (1 in 1 quadrillion, ppq)!

This particular method measures arsenic to the total amount of the metal in the biological sample without separating the organic from the inorganic Arsenic.



Important Note

Laboratory test results are the most important parameter for diagnosing and monitoring all pathological conditions. Between 70% and 80% of diagnostic decisions are based on laboratory tests. The correct interpretation of laboratory results allows a doctor to distinguish "healthy" from "diseased."

Laboratory test results should not be interpreted solely based on the numerical result of a single analysis. They should be interpreted in relation to each individual case, family history, clinical findings, and the results of other laboratory tests and information. Your physician should explain the importance of your test results.

At Diagnostiki Athinon, we answer any questions you may have about the test you perform in our laboratory and contact your doctor to ensure you receive the best possible medical care.

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