Chromium - Whole Blood

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  • Chromium - Whole Blood

    1 test included



blood sample




Age group

7 years & above

Chromium is a naturally occurring element present in the soil, water, rock, and even animals. It exists in different forms, depending on its oxidation state. Out of these forms, two of them are present in abundance in nature:

  • Trivalent chromium
  • Hexavalent chromium

Among these, trivalent chromium (Cr (III)) is the most chemically stable form of the compound and plays a vital role in the normal functioning of the human body. It is responsible for regulating sugar and fat metabolism. In addition, trivalent chromium has low toxicity, making it relatively less harmful to the body.

On the other hand, hexavalent chromium is not naturally-occurring and is released into the environment due to human activities. It is most commonly generated during industrial activities that target stainless steel like welding, casting, and cutting.

The human body is exposed to chromium by inhalation, ingestion, or direct contact. Airborne exposure to hexavalent chromium is usually due to tobacco smoke, especially if smoking in an enclosed space.

If left unchecked, overexposure to chromium can lead to a variety of ailments like:

  • Pulmonary sensitization
  • Irritation in the respiratory tract
  • Increased likelihood of nasal, lung, and sinus cancer
  • Mild to severe lung abnormalities
  • Cardiovascular collapse
  • Haematological toxicity

To help prevent these ailments, the chromium whole blood test is used to determine the level of chromium in the blood. It can gauge if the levels of chromium are more than required, prompting urgent medical care for the patient.

The procedure for this method is that of a standard blood test. The clinical lab assistant draws blood from a vein in the arm, usually near the elbow. This sample is then stored carefully in a labelled container and sent for analysis.

The results can be interpreted as follows:

  • If the serum chromium level is more than 1.4 micrograms/litre (mg/L), the patient may be susceptible to chromium toxicity.
  • If the levels are below 1.4 mg/L, chromium is present in a normal range in the body.

The values might slightly differ according to the lab. Additionally, a unit called nanomoles/litre (nm/L) could be used instead of mg/L.

Often, high concentrations of gadolinium and iodine are believed to interfere with tests involving metals. Due to this, it is advisable not to consume any substances with these compounds at least 96 hours before the specimen is collected.

A chromium blood test is instrumental in determining if exposure to chromium can be fatal. Apollo 24|7 offers a chromium whole blood test, which the doctor may advise to explain the following symptoms:

  • Irritation to the nose and throat
  • Development of sores in the nose
  • Nosebleeds
  • Formation of a red, itchy rash that may turn crusty and thickened without medical attention

In addition, patients with metal prosthetics (made of chromium) may also be asked to take the chromium whole blood test periodically to track the level of the compound in their blood.

Medically reviewed by Dr. Soumya Bhattacharya, Haematologist, Apollo Multispeciality Hospitals, Kolkata.

faqFrequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is chromium harmful to the body?

Chromium exists in numerous states, with hexavalent and trivalent chromium being the most abundant forms. The former is associated with low toxicity and is required by the body to help metabolise fats and sugar. However, the accumulation of hexavalent chromium can lead to various respiratory and liver issues.

What are some of the chromium-rich food items?

he human body needs trivalent chromium to help regulate the metabolism of fats and sugar. This compound occurs in nature. It can be obtained from various food sources, including: Meats Grain products Beer and wine Nuts Spices

What is the reason for high chromium levels in the body?

Out of all the forms of chromium, hexavalent chromium is responsible for causing chromium toxicity in the body. This form is not naturally occurring and is usually released into the environment by human activities, especially welding and cutting stainless steel. The potential reasons for exposure could be: Inhalation of chromium, usually due to smoking in an enclosed space Skin contact Ingestion of food contaminated by hexavalent chromium

Is the chromium whole blood test safe?

Yes, the chromium whole blood test is one among the thousands of blood tests performed across the world every day. It consists of a standard procedure that is easy to follow and poses minimal to no risk for the patient.

What are some issues that can occur due to overexposure to hexavalent chromium?

Hexavalent chromium is toxic for the human body and its overexposure can result in issues such as: Airway obstruction in the lungs Chronic pharyngitis Dryness of the skin Erythema Increased risk of respiratory system cancers

How long do the results of a chromium whole blood test usually take?

The duration of the results of a chromium whole blood test varies with labs. However, the results are usually obtained within 7 days of testing. These results can then be used to determine if a treatment plan for chromium toxicity is necessary.

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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