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When manganese goes from healthy to hazardous

Your body requires a certain amount of minerals found in nature in order to work properly. Manganese is one of them. When in appropriate amounts, it is in your liver, kidneys, brain, blood and bones, among other places. It helps with many of your body's metabolic processes.

However, when ingested or inhaled in large quantities, the effects of this mineral can quickly jeopardize your health. Manganism, referred to as the "welder's disease," often appears in welders due to the fumes created during their work. Other sources of this condition come from working closely with some pesticides and gasoline.

Identifying the condition

Unfortunately, manganism closely mimics Parkinson's disease. Many people diagnosed with the latter condition find that the medications given to them by doctors fail to work. In many cases, this is often the first indication that it could be manganism instead. The onset of the disease does not often appear quickly. You could experience some symptoms for years before others begin.

For example, many people suffering from manganese toxicity only exhibit seemingly unrelated symptoms at first. You may notice that you have trouble with a lack of coordination, and you could experience high levels of irritability and mood changes. This could go on for years before you exhibit other symptoms, such as the following: 

  • Loss of motor control
  • Facial muscle spasms
  • Shakiness of your appendages
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Fixed facial expressions

This is by no means an exhaustive list of the symptoms, but it gives you an idea of why your doctor may misdiagnose you with Parkinson's disease. If your health fails to improve with medication for that condition, you may have to advocate on your own behalf, especially if you spent your career as a welder or in another industry in which your exposure to chemicals such as manganese was frequent -- like those who deal often with gasoline.

Pursuing compensation for your condition

Because it took several years for you to develop manganism, you may wonder whether you could receive compensation for it. After all, your medical expenses alone could put a strain on your financial situation. As is the case with other work-related chemical exposure matters, you will need to link it to your employment, which could have ended years prior to your diagnosis.

However, you can rest assured that you may have legal options for pursuing the compensation you need. The process may become complex, stressful and frustrating, however. You may find the assistance of an attorney experienced in these types of cases invaluable under these circumstances.

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