What are the other Names for this Test? (Equivalent Terms)
- Aluminum Toxicity - Hair Analysis
What is Aluminum Hair Test? (Background Information)
- Aluminum is a heavy metal. Heavy metals may be loosely defined as a group of elements associated with numerous conditions and disorders. The most common heavy metals are nickel, cobalt, chromium, arsenic, iron, zinc, copper, selenium, silver, antimony, thallium, mercury, aluminum, and lead
- Some heavy metals are required by the body in trace amounts. These include iron, selenium, copper, molybdenum, and zinc. Other heavy metals, such as aluminum, lead, mercury, and arsenic, are not required and are generally harmful
- Heavy metals, such as aluminum, are obtained through environmental exposure. Common sources of heavy metals include manufacturing byproducts, paints, solvents, as well as air, water, and soil pollutants. Aluminum may also pass from a mother to her baby during pregnancy
- Exposure to more heavy metals than the body is capable of detoxifying can cause various adverse effects. These include cancer, neurological disease, and developmental abnormalities
- Factors important to a heavy metal’s potential for causing disease include dose, duration of exposure, and the individual’s age and health status
- The Aluminum Hair Test is a test that is used to assess the levels of aluminum in hair. It is used to diagnose heavy metal poisoning and its resulting adverse effects
- The test is sometimes performed as part of the heavy metals panel of tests, which includes tests for lead, mercury, arsenic, cadmium, and chromium
What are the Clinical Indications for performing the Aluminum Hair Test?
Following are the clinical indications for performing the Aluminum Hair Test:
- Abdominal pain
- Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
- Altered mental status
- Horizontal lines on the nails (Mees’ lines)
How is the Specimen Collected for Aluminum Hair Test?
Following is the specimen collection process for Aluminum Hair Test:
Sample required: Hair
Process: Plucking of one or more hairs from the head.
Preparation required: No special preparation is needed prior to the test.
What is the Significance of the Aluminum Hair Test Result?
- A high level of aluminum in hair indicates heavy metal poisoning
The laboratory test results are NOT to be interpreted as results of a "stand-alone" test. The test results have to be interpreted after correlating with suitable clinical findings and additional supplemental tests/information. Your healthcare providers will explain the meaning of your tests results, based on the overall clinical scenario.
Additional and Relevant Useful Information:
- Despite changes in policy and law, there still remains aluminum, lead, and arsenic in paint, soil, pipes, and various other fixtures
Certain medications that you may be currently taking may influence the outcome of the test. Hence, it is important to inform your healthcare provider of the complete list of medications (including any herbal supplements) you are currently taking. This will help the healthcare provider interpret your test results more accurately and avoid unnecessary chances of a misdiagnosis.