Can you get ammonia poisoning?
Ammonia is a strong, colorless gas. If the gas is dissolved in water, it is called liquid ammonia. Poisoning may occur if you breathe in ammonia. Poisoning may also occur if you swallow or touch products that contain very large amounts of ammonia.
Exposure to high concentrations of ammonia in air causes immediate burning of the nose, throat and respiratory tract. This can cause bronchiolar and alveolar edema, and airway destruction resulting in respiratory distress or failure. Inhalation of lower concentrations can cause coughing, and nose and throat irritation.
- There is no antidote for ammonia poisoning. Treatment consists of supportive measures. These include administration of humidified oxygen and bronchodilators and airway management; treatment of skin and eyes with copious irrigation; and dilution of ingested ammonia with milk or water.
- Ammonia is a regular metabolite in the central nervous system (CNS). However, when it enters the brain from blood in excessive quantities it becomes toxic to CNS cells. Acute hyperammonemia is often associated with increased cerebral blood flow that by a complex mechanism contributes to hyperammonemic brain edema.
- : a heavy liquid that has a high vapor pressure at ordinary temperatures, that causes freezing when brought into contact with the skin, that is obtained by compressing anhydrous gaseous ammonia, and that is used in refrigeration and as a solvent (as in the study of ammono compounds) and as a source of gaseous ammonia.
When ammonia becomes toxic. In healthy people the liver will convert ammonia into urea, a substance which washes out with the urine. People with impaired liver function will, however, be unable to rid their body of ammonia fast enough. The result is excessive concentrations of ammonia in the blood.
- Amino acids and ammonia come from protein in the diet. Some evidence shows that patients with cirrhosis do better when they get their protein from vegetables (such as beans, lentils, and tofu) and from dairy products (eggs, milk, yogurt) instead of from meats.
- Hepatic encephalopathy (HE) describes a spectrum of potentially reversible neuropsychiatric abnormalities seen in patients with liver dysfunction after exclusion of unrelated neurologic and/or metabolic abnormalities. The term implies that altered brain function is due to metabolic abnormalities.
- The normal range is 15 to 45 µ/dL (11 to 32 µmol/L). Normal value ranges may vary slightly among different laboratories.
Updated: 28th September 2018