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Methaeglobinemia

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Methaeglobinemia is characterized by the reduced ability of the blood to carry oxygen because of reduced levels of normal haemoglobin.
One of the most common causes is nitrate in drinking water. In the body nitrates are converted in nitrites. The nitrites react with the haemoglobin in the red blood cells to from methaemoglobin.

Controlling nitrate levels in drinking water sources to below around 50 mg/l (WHO guidelines) is an effective preventive measure.

Is it uncommon, infants are the most affected, showing signs of blueness around the mouth, hands and feet, having trouble breathing as well as vomiting and diarrhoea. In extreme cases there is marked lethargy, an increase in the production of saliva, loss of consciousness, some cases can be fatal.

It is now rare in most of the industrialized countries due to control of nitrate contamination in water supplies. Occasional cases continue to be reported from rural areas. It is a risk in developing countries, for example where the drinking water is from shallow wells in farming areas.

For more information read also our web page health risks from drinking demineralized water.

Click here to learn for more information about waterborne diseases, dimension of the problem, transmission, prevention.

Sources:
http://www.who.int/water_sanitation_health/diseases/methaemoglob/en/
http://www.answers.com/topic/methemoglobinemia?method=5
Picture:
http://images.google.com/images?hl=en&rls=GGLD,GGLD:2005-12,GGLD:en&q=metahemoglobina&spell=1







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