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Suffer from bipolar disorder. Mood swings, high lead levels in the blood. Are these related?

I have bipolar and I work in a factory with high lead levels. Lately I have noticed that I want to eat ALL the time and I have started having mood swings (more then normal). I was tested last week and found out that my lead level is up from 10 to 25. All the things I have read says that with high lead levels I shouldn t be hungry. Once I eat I become bloated for a couple of hours then I am hungry again. I have never been overweight but I am afraid that if something doesn t give soon I will be. Can you tell me why i am staying so hungry. Is it the lead levels? The bipolar (no I haven t been put on any new meds in the past 6 months)? A combination of these? Or is it something else all together?
Asked On : Wed, 20 Mar 2013
Answers:  2 Views:  46
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Psychiatrist 's  Response
Dec 2014
Welcome to HCM

Normal lead levels are less than 10. As you are having levels of 25 it is in higher side. Lead poisoning or excessive lead levels in blood are the reason of mood swings. Individual tend to develop depression and behavioral problems. They may become more and more irritable. High lead levels usually cause decrease in appetite. The excessive hunger in you are mainly because of your mood problems or Bipolar Disorder. In bipolar disorder appetite may increase out of proportion. Lead poisoning is not a cause of this.
I will advise you to use proper occupational precautions as you are working in a high risk environment. Visit your psychiatrist for opinion.

Dr. Seikhoo Bishnoi
Answered: Wed, 20 Mar 2013
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Psychiatrist Dr. Sundar Gnanavel's  Response
Thanks for your query. As you mentioned rightly your lead levels are on the higher side. Lead toxicity may lead to encephalopathy characterised by mood swings and behavioural abnormalities. I would suggest MRI-Brain as it is likely to demonstrate the changes.
However, increased lead levels may not lead to hunger though during stages of encephalopathy it might be a presenting symptom. I would suggest you take adequate precautions from lead poisoning considering it an occupational hazard for you. A thorough psychiatric evaluation is recommended in your case. Wish you good health.
Dr Sundar
Answered: Tue, 26 Mar 2013
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