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Cobalt Poisoning From A Stryker Hip Device
The chemical element cobalt is found in plants, water, rocks, and soil, making it naturally absorb in the body through the food and beverages we drink. The cobalt found in what we ingest are in such minuscule trace amounts that they are not toxic in our systems. However, when larger amounts are introduced to our bodies, cobalt can become poisonous and cause extreme harm to our organs as well as death. For those with malfunctioning metal hip implants that contain cobalt, this has become a very real and dangerous risk to their health.
Effects Of Cobalt In The Body
Cobalt is needed in most animals and humans to remain healthy; however, it is only needed in tiny amounts. When larger amounts are introduced, as has happened with some patients with metal hip implants, the element becomes toxic in the system. Metal poisoning is a very serious and detrimental illness, wreaking havoc on several systems in the body.
Cobalt toxicity can be difficult for physicians to diagnose as a patient may experience many different symptoms that do not seem to be related. Since cobalt poisoning is fairly rare, it would not be a common element to test for in the bloodstream. It may take weeks or months of cobalt building up in the body before any side effects are felt. However, the danger is that once cobalt toxicity takes place, many of the problems associated with this condition are not reversible, even after the cobalt levels return to normal. Some of the common symptoms and effects of cobalt poisoning include:
- Cardiovascular problems. Cardiomyopathy and other cardiovascular problems are often caused by high levels of cobalt in the body. This can lead to strokes, cardiac arrest, and death.
- Neurological issues. Cobalt poisoning can cause auditory and visual loss from neurological damage as well as other problems in the brain.
- Renal failure. Kidney failure can result from exposure to high levels of cobalt, causing your body to stop eliminating waste from the body, which can be deadly.
- Hypothyroidism. Effects of cobalt on the thyroid can cause fatigue, weight gain, and other thyroid dysfunctional symptoms.
Any of these symptoms can be signs of cobalt poisoning. In addition, if the cobalt toxicity is from a metal hip implant, there may be additional symptoms related to chromium poisoning. The two together can be extremely deadly, affecting almost every system and organ in the body.
Anyone who has had a metal hip implant, especially one of the many that have already been recalled, should be discussing the possibility of cobalt toxicity with their doctor. Many companies that made these recalled medical devices are suggesting that metal toxicity tests be run on all patients that have had them implanted. If there are high levels of cobalt or chromium in your body from your Stryker hip implant, your doctor may suggest having the implant removed. You should also seek legal representation.