Chelation therapy is a form of treatment used for detoxification. It involves the use of specific chemical compounds, known as chelating agents, for the removal of poisonous metals from our body. It can be administered through injections into the blood or muscle, or can even be taken orally. These chemical compounds form chemical bonds with the toxic metals present in the body, which are then excreted out of the body usually through urine. Even though many feel that there are little to no side effects of this therapy, some do exist, and can be either minor or dangerous and fatal.
A person undergoes chelation therapy when there is a high level or concentration of some heavy metal in the body. These metals have no useful function and can cause injury to various organs if they remain in the body. Some of them can affect the functioning of the brain as well.
People who are in the occupation of soldering, welding, smelting, and battery reclamation are exposed to lead poisoning. Children living in old houses may get exposed to the metal through dust and chips at home.
People who are involved with manufacturing of batteries or thermometers, tannery workers, and dental workers are at high risk of getting affected by mercury poisoning. Large amounts of mercury can get into the body as a result of consumption of contaminated seafood as well.
There are so many insecticides, rodent poisons, and herbicides which contain arsenic as an ingredient. It can enter the body if a person is exposed to them in any way. Manganese, cadmium, cobalt, copper, zinc, and nickel are some of the other heavy metals which, when get into our body, cause poisoning.
Here is a list of common side effects that are observed in people undergoing chelation therapy. The possible measures to minimize the effects are also given below.
This is a common side effect and is observed at the site where the chemical is infused. There is nothing to be afraid of as it is a temporary effect and usually gets resolved after some time.
Lowering of Blood Pressure
This is more common in people who have high blood pressure. As a result, people often get a fainting-like sensation. One can get rid of this by lying down for an hour or so, and keeping the feet at an elevated position. This will ensure blood flow into the brain and will make one feel better. Sometimes, doctors administer nutritional supplements to tackle this.
This side effect is found in patients of metal poisoning who take the therapy quite frequently; about three times a week. If you report this problem to your therapist, he will change the dose to once a week.
This is mainly caused due to deficiency of useful minerals like potassium and zinc. These substances are useful for our body, and when they are removed as a result of chelation therapy, one might feel fatigued. Proper intake of food rich in potassium will be helpful in such cases.
This happens because of the decrease in sugar levels in the blood after the infusion. Therefore, one should not go for infusion on an empty stomach. Moreover, within an hour of infusion if a ripe banana is eaten, one can easily prevent this bad headache which occurs after the therapy.
Serious Side Effects
Apart from these minor problems, there are some serious side effects that can occur in some people. These include cardiac arrhythmias due to blood pressure fluctuation, low blood cell count due to bone marrow depression, kidney failure, respiratory arrest, etc. All these conditions are life-threatening, and hence, should be treated immediately.
Other Rare Side Effects
Irritation of the skin, upset stomach, fever, and muscle cramps at night are some other side effects that are noticed in very few people. Proper diet along with right nutritional supplements often help in getting over these problems quite easily.
If you notice any side effects while undergoing the treatment, you should inform your therapist immediately, as all such side effects can be treated successfully. Your therapist will suggest what needs to be done in order to tackle the problem.