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Diseases » Methaemoglobinaemia » Wikipedia
 

Methaemoglobinaemia in Wikipedia

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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Methemoglobinemia". (Source - Retrieved 2006-09-07 14:27:18 from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Methemoglobinemia)

Introduction

Methemoglobinemia, also known as "met-H", is a usually genetic blood disorder characterized by the presence of a higher than normal level of methemoglobin in the blood.

Types

Congenital methaemoglobinaemia

Due to an enzyme deficiency, the blood of met-H victims has reduced oxygen-carrying capacity. Instead of being red in colour, the arterial blood of met-H victims is brown. This results in the skin of Caucasian sufferers gaining a bluish cast. Hereditary met-H is caused by a recessive gene. If only one parent has this gene offspring will have normal-hued skin, but if both parents carry the gene there is a chance the offspring will have blue-hued skin.

Types include:


Acquired/Toxic methaemoglobinaemia

Acquired methemoglobinemia can be caused by the use of nitrite-containing drugs, such as amyl nitrite. Nitrates do not directly cause methemoglobinemia, however nitrate is readily metabolized to nitrite in infants and, in this case, can cause methemoglobinemia indirectly. Infants under six months of age are particularly susceptible to this effect. The current EPA standard of 10 ppm nitrate-nitrogen for drinking water is specifically designed to protect infants.


Treatment

Methemoglobinemia is treated with the use of methylene blue, which restores the hemoglobin to its normal oxygen-carrying state.

Symptoms

Symptoms of methemoglobinemia include headache, weakness, dizziness, and can progress to seizures, arrythmia, coma and death.

One visual indicator is a blue tint to the skin.


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