Argyria – causes, side effects and treatments at NaturalPedia.com

Wednesday, January 03, 2018 by

Argyria is caused by prolonged contact with or the ingestion of silver salts. Silver may be deposited in the skin either via industrial exposure or as the result of medication that contains silver salts.

Argyria is often caused by the mechanical impregnation of the skin by small silver particles in workers involved in the following:

  • Silver mining
  • Silver refining
  • Silverware and metal alloy manufacturing
  • Metallic films on glass and china
  • Electroplating solutions
  • Photographic processing

Colloidal silver dietary supplements are widely sold for cancer, AIDS, diabetes mellitus, and herpetic infections. In some cases, patients have been diagnosed with argyria following the prolonged use of silver salts for the irrigation of urethral or nasal mucous membranes, in eye drops, wound dressing, and the excessive use of an oral smoking remedy containing silver acetate.

Argyria has also been attributed to surgical and dental procedures like silver amalgam-tattooing and silver sutures used in abdominal surgery. Blue macules also appear at sites of acupuncture needles and silver earring sites.

Known side effects of argyria

Argyria is a permanent skin condition with the following symptoms:

  • Black/bluish gray or blue coloration in certain areas of the skin.
  • Gums stained with blue-gray spots.
  • The blue coloration can eventually extend to wider skin areas like the forehead, nose, hands and other body areas commonly exposed to sunlight.

An individual usually has at least one milligram (mg) of silver in their body. Argyria often develops when the minimum amount of silver in the body goes beyond four grams (g). In most cases, the symptoms only start manifesting after the levels of silver in the body are at least 20g to 40g.

Body systems harmed by argyria

If the exposure to silver and silver compounds continues even after the onset of argyria, an individual can develop dangerous complications like:

  • Idiopathic thrombocytopenia
  • Decreased night vision
  • Loss of coordination
  • Persistent bronchitis
  • Fatty degeneration of major organs
  • Albuminuria
  • Hemorrhage
  • Vestibular impairment
  • Gustatory disturbance

A patient with argyria must receive immediate medical attention to manage these complications. Otherwise, they can eventually lead to silver toxicity, which may then cause potentially fatal conditions such as paralysis of the respiratory system and brain disorders like tonic–clonic seizures.

Food items or nutrients that may prevent argyria

There is currently no known cure for argyria and the condition appears to be irreversible.

Other treatment options include:

  • The use of hydroquinone to reduce the volume of silver particles in the upper layer of skin and the sweat glands.
  • Robust cleansing protocols can also be followed to remove silver and other environmental toxins.
  • Laser surgery can help reverse the discoloration to a certain degree of success.
  • Patients can also supplement other treatments with selenium and vitamin A, C, and E to decrease the size of any silver particles within the skin and prevent them from absorbing light.

Treatments, management plans for argyria

Patients with argyria are advised to stop using treatments that contain silver to prevent further exposure. Occupational exposure can also be prevented by wearing the appropriate protective clothing and gear.

Once an individual is diagnosed with argyria, sunscreens with a high SPF (sun protection factor) can help prevent the further discoloration of the skin. As a last resort, individuals with argyria can use cosmetics to disguise their skin’s appearance.

Where to learn more

Summary

Argyria is caused by prolonged contact with or the ingestion of silver salts. The skin disorder is characterized by the gray to gray-black/blue staining of the skin and mucous membranes produced by silver deposition.

Patients with argyria are advised to stop using treatments that contain silver to prevent further exposure. Occupational exposure can also be prevented by wearing the appropriate protective clothing and gear.

 

Sources include

EMedicine.Medscape.com

PrimeHealthChannel.com

HealthyFocus.org



Comments

comments powered by Disqus