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Blood Lead Levels, Dietary Calcium, and Hypertension

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Veterans Administration Medical Center; East Orange, New Jersey

Ann Intern Med. 1985;102(3):403-404. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-102-3-403
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The hazards of lead are as old as civilization and acute poisoning has been recognized for at least 2000 years (1). In the 20th century, diagnosis based on the classic symptoms of abdominal colic, wrist drop, and encephalopathy has been supplemented by blood lead measurements. Blood lead levels increase promptly with increases in lead exposure, but because over 90% of the body lead is stored in the skeleton, the blood concentration tends to reflect recent, rather than cumulative, absorption. These levels can be misleading when used for diagnosis of the late sequelae of lead exposure. Although blood lead levels in


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