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Worried about mercury toxicity after consuming tuna fish - Online Doctor Chats

Date : 21-Feb-2012
User rating for this question
Very Good Posted in: Eating Disorders
Answered by

General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2004
Answered : 40 Questions
User :   Hi,
I am worried that I could have slight mercury poisoning after all of the tuna I ate this week. I have been on a diet, and I have been eating a lot of tuna and sushi since I thought it was healthy. Someone then warned me of the mercury levels in the tuna. In the past week I have had one whole can of light tuna, and then two days later, I had another can of tuna in the morning, and a tray of twelve tuna sushi rolls in the evening. I immidiately went to sleep afterwards. It is the sushi I am worried about due to the type of tuna used (the highest in mercury toxicity). I am a female (age 35), 107 pounds, and exactly 5 feet tall.I am worried about the methylmercury crossing the blood brain barrier, as I have noticed myself being more agitated, less able to concentrate, and often unable to recall words or remember simple things lately. I have also felt extra weak in the heat (even though this could be my dieting in general). Please, if you could shed some light on this for me or help clarify the situation, I would be so grateful.
Doctor :   Hi
User :   Hi
User :   Are you still there?
User :   Hello?
Doctor :   Do you have any skin symptoms?
Doctor :   Such as itching, rashes?
Doctor :   skin discolorations?
User :   No skin symptoms, but I didn't come into contact with the direct metal.. It was consumption from food
User :   I have been itching a little near my eyes, and stomach actually
Doctor :   Ok.
User :   but very light, hard to tell
User :   no dicolorations though
Doctor :   Do you have numbness, tingling sensation or weakness?
User :   no numbness or tingling. I've beena little weak in the heat but I have been reducing calories also
Doctor :   Are your present symptoms noticed only since a week after the consumption of the fish?
User :   the itching and weakness in the heat. It's very mild, so I don't know if it's from the sieting or the fish
User :   dieting
Doctor :   Ok
Doctor :   Let me explain.
Doctor :   It is a fact that fish consumption can induce mercury poison, however your symptoms are very vague to predict if the symptoms are exactly due to the mercury toxicity.
Doctor :   You would need the check of blood mercury levels to diagnose mercury toxicity.
Doctor :   If your symptoms have developed only after the consumption of the fish, then I would suggest you to consult your doctor and then get the blood mercury levels checked.
Doctor :   Have you followed what I have suggested?
User :   I will get my blood checked; however I guess to ease mhy worries, I wanted to know if it was possible to get any type of mercury poisoning for eating a large quantity of tuna in one day.
User :   I have been told that it is cumulative, whatever this means
Doctor :   Usually acute toxicity develops following consumption of the metal in the whole.
Doctor :   Dietary factors of poisoning are generally chronic in nature meaning they occur over period of time,
Doctor :   period in which the main diet being the fish.
User :   I see. So did I consume enough to get acute toxicity?
Doctor :   mercury toxicity may not be the responsible for your present symptoms.
Doctor :   It may have occurred due to stress and anxiety more than the consumption of the fish.
Doctor :   But if your symptoms are following the fish consumption, then it is worth consulting the doctor for the examination and getting the test.
Doctor :   Have you followed what I have suggested?
User :   In your opinion though do you think I consumed enough to get acute mercury toxicity? I haven't checked my blood yet, but I will
User :   I only have a few seconds left
Doctor :   No.
User :   Okay, I will get tested, thank you
Doctor :   You may not have mercury toxicity.
Doctor :   Do you have any other query that I can assist you with?
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