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Study Links Diabetes, Insulin Resistance and Cardiovascular Disease to Metal Poisoning

Nov 13, 2014

The effects of metal in the body have become more of a concern as metal-on-metal hips have come under increased scrutiny in the past few years. The hips, which are made of all-metal components, have prompted thousands of personal injury lawsuits and substantial safety concerns due to a high failure rate and an accompanying array of complications. The devices are said to release metal particles into the bloodstream as the surfaces of the implant rub together, leading to metal poisoning. Now, a recent study published in Environmental Health suggests that metal exposure is associated with cardiometabolic risk factors.

The study was titled “Modeling the Epidemiologic Transition Study” (METS). According to Seventh Space Interactive, metals are already known to disrupt the endocrine system. Researchers who conducted METS found that toxic metal concentrations may contribute to a higher risk of diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular disease. This type of exposure may lead to abnormal glucose metabolism and disrupt the glucocorticoid receptor, which affects a number of processes, including insulin sensitivity. There is also evidence to suggest that metal exposure can trigger insulin resistance and oxidative stress, which may provide “biological plausibility” to metal-induced diabetes, the study found.

The authors stated that the results “… are suggestive of potentially important associations between blood metals concentrations and cardiometabolic risk…. This is consistent with previously published cross-sectional studies examining these associations.” The study authors added that, “These data are suggestive of potentially important associations between blood metals concentrations and cardiometabolic risk.”

Metal exposure has been linked to hypertension, impaired kidney function and peripheral arterial disease as well as all-cause and cardiovascular mortality, the study said. Research has also shown that metal exposure may be associated with metabolic syndrome, a combination of several factors, such as obesity, dyslipidemia, hyperglycemia, and hypertension. Metabolic syndrome is a precursor to diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

All-metal hip implants, such as the DePuy ASR, have been linked to a high rate of premature failure. Patients allege that the defective hips cause complications such as pain, dislocations, fracture, difficulty walking, noise from the joint, pseudotumors and metal poisoning.

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