BLOG 182 COBALT POISONING
Cobalt is an element in the earth’s crust. It is a byproduct of nickel or copper. It is used for high temperature allowing magnets, ceramics, and tools. Even though it is such a tiny element of our environment, this small amount is needed for our health and for animal health. It is actually found in vitamin B12. A deficiency can cause anemia. Overexposure can result in poisoning. This can happen when a person swallows too much of it, breathes in too much of it, or it is in constant contact with the skin causing irritation.
Recently, the metal used in hip replacements has caused a higher case of cobalt poisoning. This implant made of cobalt acts as an artificial hip socket. The hip is a ball-and-socket joint. Metal on metal joints were introduced by manufactures as a solution to joint durability. A metal ball is basically situated in a metal cup. However, complications have occurred. Sometimes metal particles like cobalt are released when the ball grinds against the cup while walking, running, or during activity. These particles can then be released into the bloodstream. Inflammation and pain would start to be felt in the hip area if this was occurring. This can be quite serious, resulting in heart disease, kidney failure, thyroid disorders, or even cancer. Other signs of cobalt poisoning include fatigue, vertigo, ringing in the ears, and headaches.
Blood tests would reveal high levels of cobalt. If the levels are dangerous, removing the hip replacement is necessary. After removal, cobalt levels quickly drop. The longer the exposure, the worse the prognosis might be. Some patients never fully recover, especially if their kidneys aren’t properly functioning. Regular cobalt testing with bloodwork is highly recommended for anyone who has had a hip replacement.
There have been a number of recalls on these metal-on-metal hip replacements. There are also a high number of product liability lawsuits against these manufacturers. They are usually found liable, because even if they were unaware of the danger, they are still at fault. It is important to act quickly if one plans to take action against one of these manufactures because the statute of limitations is applicable against product manufacturers.
2.5 million Americans have a hip replacement. As we age, we become more and more at risk for falls and arthritis to the hip area. Surgery can put a person in the hospital for 3 or 4 days and then recovery can take 3 to 6 months. This is pretty serious and we don’t want future complications with this. Take preventative measures for your hip health through regular exercise, practicing your balance, and making sure your kinetic chain is in alignment in the lower body. Watch those knees and toes as they all relate to the hips. The hips don’t lie so avoid cobalt poisoning all together by sticking to that FIT Life.