Is there any effect of lead on musculoskeletal system

Last Updated on March 14, 2023 by Dr. Saqib Mueed

What is lead?

It is a chemical element which is denoted by Pb which has 82 atomic numbers. It is denser than many other elements.

Therefore we also called it heavy metal. It is soft, ductile, or pliable and has a low melting point because it can easily be converted into liquid form even at low temperature as compare for other metals.

When we cut lead freshly its colour changes. When lead is exposed to air or in the presence of oxygen its colour change and it looks dull.

What is the musculoskeletal system?

The skeletal system is composed of ligaments, tendons, cartilages, and bones. These components of the skeletal system help to stabilize our body and connect the tissues. Some time skeletal system also known as musculoskeletal system.

The skeletal system supports body weight. In addition to it, ossein and brawn work simultaneously to keep up the body posture. It also helps to make up controlled and exact or accurate movements.

Furthermore, to carry the mass of the body, ossein works in conjugation with muscles to nurture the stance of the body, and to give rise to retrained, exact movements. [1]

Routes of exposure for lead

The primary way of lead due to which it enters into our body is oral ingestion. Approximately 99% of lead enters the body with the inhalation process. Lead exposure is greatly done by mouthing and holding which is the greatest threat to the children.

Due to these physiological changes, 5-10% lead is absorbed in the intestinal tract of adults, and 30-40% is absorbed in children. Lungs of the children are at high risk for the storage of lead than that of adults.

It can also be entered into the body through cuts or injuries that are exposed to the environment. After absorption, lead enters the blood. Lead that is entered into the body through inhalation is approximately 30-40%.

Effect of lead on musculoskeletal system

Lead is often present in our surroundings because of its frequent use in the environment. It can be stored in the soft tissues of the body.

Approximately all organ systems of our body are sensitive to lead exposure. If our body is exposed to lead even at a very low concentration such as 5 micrograms per deciliter can affect our tissues.

It will affect our normal body functions such as it will affect the growth of bone, development of teeth, and affect the number of bone minerals in the bone tissue, affect the mechanism of healing or fracture. It will delay all these processes in the body or stops these processes. It can also affect the function of motor nerves.

Lead is used in paint industries, plumbing, and pesticides, and gasoline due to which our environment becomes polluted with a high level of lead.

If it enters our body it will affect all cells, organs, and systems of the body and disturb their normal functioning and cause lethal effects in the reproductive system, nervous system, and excretory system as well as musculoskeletal system.

When lead deposit in musculoskeletal system than it interfere the normal function of muscle and bones. It can disturb the normal deposition of calcium and other minerals in bone. Similarly, it can give negative impact on muscle contraction and can enhance the aging process.

If lead is once deposited in the surroundings it cannot be easily broken down and it will hold tightly with the uppermost layer of the soil. If lead enters the body, it is isolated and hidden away and led out in the soft tissues or connective tissues.

The major pool of the reservoir in our body is the skeleton. In the skeleton, approximately 95% lead is present. And its half-life is approximately 20-30 years. Scientists made experiments on the lead stock in the body.

They described that 40-70% of lead in the blood is released from the skeletal repositories and causes diseases such as menopause endocrine diseases such as thyrotoxicosis. During these conditions, lead is released back into blood circulation. [2][3] [4] [5]

Reviewed by:

Dr. Shahid Bukhari, MBBS, FCPS (Medicine), Ex. Registrar DOW Medical College Karachi, Medical Officer Aga Khan University Hospital Karachi

Dr. Akhtar Nawaz Lak, MBBS, FCPS (Internal Medicine), Ex. Medical Specialist, Services hospital, Lahore, Ex. Medical Specialist, Allied hospital, Faisalabad

Our reviewers’ details, Click Here


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