A toxicologist is a specialist in the medical environment who is responsible for diagnosing, preventing and treating all kinds of damage to the human body by damaging toxic or harmful substances (poisoning). The main duties of a toxicologist are research on those diseases of the human body, the cause of which is the toxic effects of chemicals and their compounds. The task of this specialist is to identify toxins and optimize the processes of their neutralization and elimination, as well as minimizing the negative impact of these substances on the human body.
What does a toxicologist do in a medical environment: organs, diseases, symptoms
So, a doctor who studies in detail poisonings and their effects on health is called a toxicologist in medicine. As a separate field of medicine, toxicology began to emerge in the 19th century, and got its name from two Greek terms – “toxicos” (poison) and “logos” (science).
The main functions of a toxicologist are not only the identification and neutralization of toxic substances that affect a particular organism, but also the search for methods of treating poisoning and their continuous improvement in the course of a doctor’s practice. Also, do not forget that many poisons in small dosages can have medicinal properties for humans, which is why toxicologists study in detail the chemical composition and chemical reactions of many toxic substances with the human body. Sometimes a tiny amount of poison can cure serious illnesses, and it happens that an overdose of a common drug can lead to extremely negative health consequences. These studies are also carried out by toxicologists.
When it comes to diseases within the competence of a toxicologist, it is important to remember that in case of any poisoning, the heart, blood, liver and kidneys always suffer first. It is the diseases of these organs in the human body that often need to be diagnosed by toxicologists. The diseases that are treated by a toxicologist include liver failure, all kinds of poisoning of the body, intoxication, and kidney failure. You should consult a specialist in cases of suspicion of various poisonings: in case of alcohol poisoning, narcotic, food or industrial and household poisoning (poisoning caused by chemical detergents, for example), in contact with insects and snakes (their bites), with non-medical use of certain medicines.
A toxicologist deals with the observation of patients with chronic signs of intoxication, liver and kidney failure. Any intoxication of the body can occur in acute or chronic form. In acute intoxication, poisoning occurs with an overdose of a toxic substance during its single use. Such intoxication proceeds very pronouncedly, with vivid symptoms. An example is acute intoxication in case of alcohol poisoning, when a person, after active libations, begins to feel very sick, he has pains in his head, limbs, he cannot remember some moments from the events of the day before.
In chronic intoxication, small doses of poisonous toxins gradually accumulate in the human body, which regularly enter this body, and may not immediately cause a response, but after the cumulative effect they give many pronounced signs that are immediately very difficult to identify. With chronic intoxication, the patient begins to pursue insomnia, emotional disturbances, memory impairment and concentration, nausea, dizziness, headaches, fatigue, pallor of the skin, changes in the quality of the skin and hair. All these manifestations allow us to conclude that it is necessary to consult a toxicologist to identify pathological processes and conditions in the body and to search for methods to combat diseases.
Analyzes and diagnostic techniques used by toxicologists in their work
When contacting a toxicologist, the patient will have to pass a series of tests to clarify the picture of the pathological state of the body. For general purposes, drug screenings for amphetamines, barbiturates, cocaine, methamphetamine, morphine, cannadinoids and other drugs, as well as general urine and blood tests, are mandatory. For an accurate diagnosis of diseases of the pancreas, liver and kidneys, it is important to provide the toxicologist with the following test results:
- total protein;
- alanine aminotransferase;
- alkaline phosphatase;
- Aspartate aminotransferase;
- direct and total bilirubin;
- alpha 1-acid glycoprotein;
- prothrombin time and fibrinogen;
- protein fractions;
At the same time, the toxicologist, depending on the disease or the affected organ, can prescribe to his patients such diagnostic procedures as abdominal ultrasound, computed tomography, magnetic resonance imaging and electrocardiogram.
Recommendations for preventing poisoning from toxicologists
In order to prevent the effects of toxic substances on the human body, experts recommend, first of all, to reduce the likelihood of human contact with poisons. However, this rule is sometimes impossible to comply with due to the fact that not only chemicals can be toxic, the use of which in everyday everyday life can be one-time, even many food products placed in a specific environment have such qualities, which can contribute to the cultivation of poisonous people in food. microorganisms.
Toxicologists recommend that in order to avoid food poisoning, the following simple rules should be followed in everyday life:
- never neglect the rules of personal hygiene – frequent hand washing can prevent the development of more than 60% of infections and poisonings;
- always keep the premises and equipment that are involved in the preparation and processing of food products clean;
- never eat foods whose quality and safety are not completely certain. At the same time, various verification certificates, distinctive signs on packaging, state certification and quality marks can serve as a guarantee of food safety;
- in the kitchen, it is mandatory to use separate cutting objects and boards for cooked and raw food;
- ensuring the safety and security of food products from carriers of infections and toxic substances – a variety of insects;
- ensuring the correct storage of food suitable for food: preventing food from being stored on the floor, in an open form, without heat treatment after defrosting;
- proper use of eggs in the kitchen – processing eggs that have not undergone heat treatment with soda solution, chloramine solution and finally with clean water;
- obligatory washing of vegetables and fruits in running water, and when eating – additional washing with acidified water;
- mandatory and high-quality heat treatment of all types of food products that need it;
- rapid cooling of hot food by grinding it, preventing mixing of cold and hot ingredients in one dish in order to avoid spoilage;
- storage of food at a temperature not higher than 5 degrees Celsius;
- while heating food, it must be boiled, and then stored for no more than 2 hours at a temperature of about 70 degrees;
- compliance with the shelf life of finished printed products, which are indicated by the manufacturer on the packaging, with a decrease in the allowed periods by 12 hours (if it is indicated that the product can be eaten after opening 48 hours, it is better to eat it only for the next 36);
- avoiding eating foods when there is doubt about their quality or safety.
Thus, toxicology and specialists in this field are engaged in the prevention, treatment and study of negative interactions of various substances and the human body, as a result of which poisoning occurs in the latter. A toxicologist, through a professional examination, identifies the cause of intoxication, eliminates the symptoms, and also ensures that toxic substances do not enter the organs and monitors changes in the body’s response to its own treatment. With effective therapies, the toxic effect becomes noticeably less pronounced in a short time, and the well-being of patients improves.