Water

Arsenicosis – Diagnosis and Treatment

Arsenicosis

is primarily caused by the chemical substance, arsenic. This is a toxic chemical substance that causes adverse health effects in humans. In all the water bodies, natural arsenic is found but in trace amounts. The major sources of water around the world have certain natural arsenic concentrations which is less than 0.01 mg/liter. Arsenicosis is caused by consumption of arsenic contaminated drinking water for over a period of time. This disease may also be caused due to ingestion of arsenic contaminated food or air inhalation. These multiple routes of contamination leads to chronic poisoning. Read on to know more about the

diagnosis and treatment of arsenicosis

.

Contamination of water due to arsenic can be because of industrial processes like timber treatment, metal refining and mining. Condition like malnutrition may enhance the adverse effects of arsenic in the blood vessels. According to the WHO’s Guideline, arsenic concentration in drinking water should be 0.01 mg/liter.

Diagnosis of Arsenicosis

Several tests are available to effectively diagnose arsenic poisoning by measuring the levels of arsenic in fingernails, hair, urine and blood. The most reliable test to measure arsenic concentration in the body is the urine test, which is done within the last few days.

For an accurate analysis, the urine test should be done within the 24-48 hours of acute arsenic exposure. The tests on fingernails and hair can measure high levels of arsenic exposure for over the last 6-12 months. Hair is considered to be a potential bioindicator as it has the ability to store the trace elements found in the blood.

Treatment for Arsenicosis

To treat arsenicosis, synthetic and chemical methods are now being used. Chelating agents like

dimercaptosuccinic acid

and

dimercaprol

are used to treat acute arsenic poisoning. One of the most prominent side effect is hypertension. Also, dimercaprol is toxic when compared to succimer.

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