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Abnormally high iron in blood test.

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HiI am 29 years old, girl, 160 cm height, 57kg weight, my period time is also almost always at when it should be. I feel almost healthy except that I feel exhausted after a working day. I don't like red meat, and I rarely eat it. However, I have no problem with sea foods or chicken. Grilled potato however is my favorite food to eat and I eat it too much almost everyday. Pistachio, nuts, wheat are also always with me!To find out why I sometimes feel exhausted, I have had a complete blood and urine analysis. All wasnormal except Fe(Iron) and TIBC. The Fe level is very high (it was 399 while it should be less than 170) and TIBC is very low (158 while it should be more than 270). Ferritin however, is in normal range (was 48 and it should be less than 70). HGB, WBC, RBC, SGOT, SGPT, T3, T4, TSH,... and urine analysis, all are normal.I was wondering why this overdosed of iron has happened to me, I know it is very dangerous to have such high amount of Fe. I have almost no exposure to medical facts, however, how can HGB could be normal and Fe is high,I think it is like Fe is located in HGB!!! I want to repeat the test next month, however, I fear it happens again. If I suffer iron poisoning somehow by too much intake of iron, could it normally be cured and next month the test result would be normal? or it needs special treatment. After finding about the test result, I don't like to eat anythings because I feel like all of them have iron and they may increase my Fe :(P.S: Two weeks before the test, I had a dental surgery and consumed antibiotics for 1 week after surgery.

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Category: Family Physician-GP
 32 Doctors Online


It seems from your symptoms that you have hereditary hemochromatosis.

Considering your sex and age, it seems more likely than acquired causes. Hemochromatosis is the abnormally high iron in blood with low TIBC .As you said hemoglobin constitutes of iron but only a small part of total body iron is found in Hb. In hemochromatosis the excretion of the iron is defective with normal absorption and hence causes increased store of iron in blood and bone marrow.

It is usually diagnosed in routine blood count and asymptomatic initially but may cause complications later like liver failure and skin pigmentation.

I would recommend the following-

1)Re check the blood iron levels with TIBC as the first results might have been false positive.

2)If the iron level continues to be high, discuss with your physician the possibility of hemochromatosis. There are a few molecular and genetic tests that will help in diagnosis of hemochromatosis. A bone marrow biopsy can also be done for confirming diagnosis.

3)If it is confirmed that you have hemochromatosis, you will need regular follow up of iron levels which may require phlebotomy.

4)Make sure you do not consume citrus fruits , sea food or alcohol as these agents increase the iron in body,

Hope this helps.

Thank you.

Dr. John Monheit
Category: Family Physician-GP
Residecny: North Colorado Family Medicine
Medical School: The Chicago Medical Center
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