Lithium is a trace element chemical, a soft silver-white alkali metal with the symbol Li. It and its compounds are used in the manufacture of heat-resistant glass and ceramics, lithium oils, flux additives, steel and aluminum, lithium and lithium-ion batteries. It is also widely used in the pharmaceutical industry as a mood stabilizing drug in the treatment of bipolar disorder. It is contained in the vertebral tissues and fluids of the human body in the amount of about 70 mg.
The effect of lithium on the human body
Studies that study the effect of lithium ions on synthesis and metabolism have so far led to inconsistent results, without finally clarifying the mechanism of its action. It was possible to find out the following:
- Li affects the central nervous system (head and back of the brain), reduces anxiety, plays an important role in strengthening the connections of nerve cells in the brain, which are responsible for thinking and controlling mood and behavior.
- The metal helps prevent future manic and depressive states, so it can be prescribed as maintenance therapy for mental disorders and suicidal tendencies.
- It enhances immunity, reduces the risks of exposure to radiation and heavy metals on the body, is involved in neuroendocrine processes.
Metal is safe for the human body, but there have been cases of poisoning when it is consumed in excessive amounts. An overdose, usually with a plasma concentration of more than 1.5 mol, is harmful to health and in some cases can lead to death. Side effects can be tremor, kidney failure, confusion and seizures.
Symptoms of Toxicity
Salts and other compounds of lithium slowly and unevenly spread throughout the human body with the help of blood. Poisoning can be chronic or acute depending on the dose, duration of use of the drug based on Li, the age and weight of the patient.
Symptoms of chronic poisoning:
- neurological and mental disorders;
- hand tremor;
- epileptic seizures, coma;
- hyperthermia, ataxia;
- feeling of thirst, frequent urination;
- involuntary movement of body parts, muscle twitching.
Symptoms of acute poisoning:
- nausea, vomiting;
- loose stools;
- hair loss, acne;
- confusion, epileptic seizures;
- renal failure, reduced thyroid function;
- neuromuscular excitability, tremor.