Lead poisoning is a preventable environmental disease, able to produce many problems, including gastrointestinal disorders.
The aim of this study was to evaluate blood lead levels (BLLs) in children with chronic non-organic abdominal pain, constipation and growth retardation and whether there is a connection between BLLs and these functional disorders.
In this cross-sectional study, fifty-five children aged 2 - 14 years with non-organic chronic abdominal pain, constipation and growth retardation were selected as a case group. Fifty-five healthy children of the same age acted as a control group. The blood lead level in all children was measured. Lead poisoning was considered when the level was higher than 5μg/dL.
The mean lead level in the case group (4.34 μg/dL) was higher than in the control group (1.19 μg/dL). There is a significant relationship between BLL and gastrointestinal symptoms. (P=0.0001). Constipation was the most common (38.2%) gastrointestinal disorder. Anemia and living in old housing were most commonly found in the case group (73.9% vs. 12.5%), (43.5% vs. 16.1%), which was statistically significant as well.
In the study, BLL in children with these disorders was significantly higher than healthy children. In this study, 23 patients had BLLs above 5 μg/dL, all of whom were in the case group. None of the children in the control group had BLL higher than 5 μg/dL. There were significant differences between the groups with anemia and living in old housing. Our patients presented symptoms at lower lead levels (less than 5 μg/dL) than estimated as toxic.
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