Paula Spurlock is one such person. She spent two years in pain, suffering from horrible migraines and her whole body itched.
No doctor could diagnose her issue until one day she underwent a PET scan. The scan highlighted her hip, which she’d had replaced with a metal implant in 2008.
“They said that I should go in and get that looked at,” said Spurlock.
Spurlock eventually saw Dr. Karin Pacheco at National Jewish Health.
Cases like Spurlock’s prompted National Jewish researchers to develop a simple blood test to detect a metal allergy.
Dr. Vijaya Knight and others came up with a test for nickel, a more common allergan also found in artificial joints.
“The blood sample can be mailed in and it doesn’t involve multiple visits,” said Knight.
They are now working on tests for allergies to cobalt, chromium and bone cement.
Spurlock has since replaced her metal hip with a ceramic one.
She’s grateful to National Jewish.
“I don’t want people to have to go through what I did,” said Spurlock, who is now pain free.