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Mercury (Hg), Urine

Mercury (Hg) is an element that occurs in inorganic and organic forms. Elemental Mercury is the only liquid metal at room temperature used in thermometers, thermostats, and dental amalgams. The human body poorly absorbs the inorganic form of Mercury found in Mercury salts. The organic form of Mercury is found in some fish and industrial waste. The most common sources of Mercury poisoning are from industry through inhalation of Mercury vapors from paints and other materials and by direct contact with Mercury through broken thermometers or tooth sealants.

Mercury is mainly absorbed by inhalation but can also be absorbed through the skin and gastrointestinal tract. It is then distributed to the central nervous system and kidneys and excreted in the urine, with a half-life of up to 25 days.

Signs of chronic Mercury poisoning include difficulty concentrating, short-term memory loss, irritability, fatigue, ataxia, muscle spasms, gingivitis, chills, joint pain, and hallucinations. Signs of acute poisoning include cardiovascular shock, kidney failure, and severe damage to the gastrointestinal tract, as well as headache, fever, chills, tremors, shortness of breath, and chest tightness.

In clinical practice, DMPS effectively mobilizes and excretes Bismuth, Mercury (organic and inorganic), Copper, Lead, Arsenic, Antimony, Nickel, Tin, Tungsten, and Gold. Still, it does not affect Aluminum or Uranium excretion. Mercury is the predominant metal eliminated after using DMPS in most adult patients. DMPS-stimulated metals are mainly excreted by the kidneys and, to a lesser extent, by the liver (bile/stool). Another chelating agent for the mobilization of metals by the body, DMSA, is used in challenge tests and for detoxification from Lead, Mercury, and other sulfhydryl reactive metals (e.g., Arsenic, Antimony). Several studies have shown the efficacy of DMSA in increasing renal excretion of Lead and Mercury and in lowering the blood levels of these metals.

How can one determine if one has been exposed to Mercury?

We can measure Mercury levels in the blood and most biological materials. Blood Mercury measurement is used to evaluate its toxicity, although urine testing is more accurate for measuring the body's mercury.

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)!



Important Note

Laboratory test results are the most critical parameter for diagnosing and monitoring all pathological conditions. 70% and 80% of diagnostic decisions are based on laboratory tests. Correctly interpreting 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 concerning each 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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