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    Arsenic is a toxic element found in the environment that exists in both organic and inorganic forms. It is present in the air, water, and soil. Although the presence of a small amount of arsenic is common in the human body, long-term exposure to inorganic arsenic can lead to arsenic poisoning.

    Usually, arsenic particles travel through the air and are inhaled by the lungs. The more soluble these particles are, the easier their absorption into the bloodstream. After their absorption, the inorganic arsenal is metabolised by two methods:

    • Conversion of arsenate to its trivalent form–arsenite.
    • Methylation–the addition of a methyl group to this trivalent form.

    The process of methylation helps in the rapid elimination of arsenic through urine. A noticeable increase in arsenic is also seen in blood concentration shortly after exposure. However, an abnormal level of arsenic is only visible in the blood for 4-6 hours, after which it rapidly disappears into the tissues.

    The arsenic urine test utilises a urine sample to gauge the level of arsenic in the human body. In this test, the patient is asked to collect their urine over a 24-hour period in a sample box provided by the laboratory.

    The values signalling normal levels of arsenic vary among laboratories. However, values over 100 micrograms (µg) per litre (L) (µg/L) are considered abnormal and may indicate arsenic poisoning. 

    On the other hand, an arsenic blood test checks for abnormal blood arsenic concentrations in the body. The results could indicate significant exposure, and a subsequent treatment plan can be devised. Arsenic blood test results are usually denoted in nanograms per millilitre (ng/ml). If the test results have a value of over 12 ng/ml, it might indicate excess arsenic in the body. 

    A build-up of arsenic in the body may lead to high skin, bladder, and lung cancer rates. Additionally, arsenic poisoning can also lead to heart diseases. 

    Apollo 24|7 offers a comprehensive arsenic test to determine the level of arsenic exposure in the body. Patients can talk to their doctor to get this test done if they observe the following symptoms:

    • Headache
    • Nausea and Vomiting
    • Abnormal heart rhythm
    • Muscle cramps
    • Tinging of the fingers and toes
    • Red or swollen skin

    Long-term exposure to arsenic can also cause symptoms like a constant sore throat and persistent digestive issues. Since extreme poisoning can be fatal, it is advisable to contact a health practitioner if these symptoms last more than a few days.

    Medically reviewed by Dr S V Prashanthi Raju, General Physician/Internal Medicine, Apollo Hospitals Jubilee Hills, Hyderabad.

    faqFrequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

    Frequently asked questions

    Arsenic can be found in two forms – organic and inorganic. Organic arsenic is already in our bodies in minor quantities and poses little risk. However, water, air, or soil can expose you to inorganic arsenic particles.
    An arsenic test is conducted using either blood or urine samples. Both of these methods of testing pose minimal to no risk. In the case of blood tests, there might be slight bruising at the spot where blood is drawn. However, this bruise subsides quickly without any medication.
    Even though an arsenic test can be done using blood and urine, the latter is the more reliable way to obtain results. The reason is that arsenic particles stay in the blood for not more than 4-6 hours, after which they disappear into the tissues. On the contrary, arsenic particles in the urine may be detectable for up to 20 hours after exposure.
    The results may differ according to the lab in which you get tested. The standard wait for an arsenic test report is usually 5 days, after which your doctor can devise a treatment plan if needed.
    Certain food items, like seafood, may contain large amounts of arsenic, which may hinder the test results. Due to this, it is advisable not to consume any such items at least 48 hours before the test is scheduled.
    For an arsenic test, you must take urine samples in a 24-hour period. Since arsenic particles stay in the urine for about 20 hours, it can help determine if you are suffering from arsenic poisoning.

    Why should Apollo be your preferred healthcare partner?

    • 40 Years of legacy and credibility in the healthcare industry.
    • NABL certified multi-channel digital healthcare platform.
    • Affordable diagnostic solutions with timely and accurate test results.
    • Up to 60% discount on Doorstep Diagnostic Tests, Home Sample Collection.
    • An inventory of over 100+ laboratories, spread across the country, operating out of 120+ cities with 1200+ collection centers, serving over 1800+ pin codes.

    The information mentioned above is meant for educational purposes only and should not be taken as a substitute to your Physician’s advice. It is highly recommended that the customer consults with a qualified healthcare professional to interpret test results