What are the other names for this test?
Blood Lead Test, BLL, Blood Lead Level, Serum Lead level
What is a Lead test?
A lead test helps to measure the amount of lead in your body. This test diagnoses whether your child experienced exposure to lead. A high lead risk may develop in your children’s blood due to accidental lead intake from its sources. Lead poisoning may affect anyone if you are taking high amounts of doses.
Lead was a common and vital ingredient in household paint before 1978. Nowadays, it may be present in older houses and soil near them. Children or infants eat or chew lead paint from walls, doors, etc. It is because they get lead dust in their bodies. High blood lead levels may show severe health problems.
What is the purpose of this test?
A lead test is a blood test that helps to screen for lead in the body. Your provider may also use this test to observe lead levels and how well the treatment is going with time for reducing lead in the body.
When do I need to take this test?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends this test to start from age six months to 6 years. The following are situations or possibilities that may consider:
- People living in older homes before 1960 are in the recovery phase.
- Visiting homes that were established before 1960 to meet families.
- Having siblings, relatives, or classmates with lead poisoning.
- Parents of kids have jobs or hobbies from exposure to lead.
- Kids reside around battery recycling plants or places that release high lead amounts into the atmosphere.
You may need this test if you have time passed in homes, schools, or buildings established before 1978. Regular lead testing may be required if you have a job where you may receive high exposure to lead. Your healthcare provider may also suggest this test for children if they are experiencing symptoms of lead poisoning that include:
- Losing weight
- Nausea or vomiting
- Extreme Tiredness
- Anemia (deficiency of red blood cell counts)
- Pain in the belly
- Hair loss
- Difficulty in concentration, changes in behavior, and lack of learning disabilities.
Visit here to see blood lead levels in children and adults. Parents may request an online order of the lead test for their child.
What is the procedure for this test?
A lead test is a blood test that requires a blood sample. Blood may also collect from fingers with finger sticks in children and infants. If your child has an abnormal finger stick test, your provider will use a blood sample from their vein. The following are the steps for this test after visiting the laboratory.
- Sit in front of your provider. Be relaxed and stay in a fixed position. It is difficult for your provider to collect a blood sample if you do the muscle movement.
- Remove the portion of your cloth from the arm.
- A small needle will inject into a vein in your arm.
- A small amount of blood will collect in a test tube.
- Blood samples will store in the laboratory for examination of an allergy.
- You can go home for regular activities.
- This test finishes within five minutes.
How do I need to prepare for this test?
You do not need special preparation for this test. For children, your provider will guide you about the procedure. Children may feel uncomfortable or troubled during this test.
Are there any risks involved in this test?
A lead test has low risk when you give a blood sample. Veins differ from person to person. Some people or children may have difficulty providing a blood sample compared to others. Your child may experience low risks when the needle injects into his vein. These risks include:
- Extreme Bleeding
- Slight pain
- Hematoma (Deposition of blood under the skin)
What do the test results indicate?
The recommended range for lead test results:
- For an adult lies below or equal to 10 micrograms per deciliter (µg/dL) or 0.48 micromoles per liter ((µmol/L).
- For children lies below 3.5 µg/dL or 0.17 µmol/L.
The test results depend on many factors, such as age, gender, and medical history. The test results may also slightly differ among laboratories. It is because each lab may use different methods for examination.
What do high lead levels mean?
High risk for lead levels may lead to abnormal growth, lack of learning disabilities, kidneys, and nerve damage in children and adults.
Blood lead level higher or equal to 5 µg/dL or 0.24 µmol/L is considered high in adults. Treatment may require if you have these conditions, such as
- Blood lead levels higher than 80 µg/dL or 3.86 µmol/L
- Symptoms of lead poisoning with a high blood level greater than 40 µg/dL or 1.93 µmol/L
Additional testing may be required in children if blood lead levels are higher than 3.5 µg/dL or 0.17 µmol/L. Treatment may need when:
- Lead blood level lies above 45 µg/dL or 2.17 µmol/L.
- Lead level as low as 20 µg/dL or 0.97 µmol/L.
Before treatment for excess lead levels in the blood, you can talk with a healthcare professional to review your lead test results.
What factors may affect the test results?
The test results may show false or inaccurate in these conditions, including
- The children may have dust or dirt on their hands when blood collects from one of their fingers.
- Eating high amounts of fat and low calcium, iron, and vitamin C levels in the blood.
What additional tests do I need along with this test?
Your healthcare provider may recommend a complete blood count to diagnose anemia. Your child may not receive oxygen supply in their body due to anemia. Your child may also need additional blood tests along with a this test, such as
- Serum iron
- Total iron-binding capacity
- Reticulocyte count
If children receive treatment for lead poisoning, additional tests may require them to see how well their kidneys and liver are working. These tests may include
- Liver function tests
- Blood urea nitrogen
- Serum electrolytes
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