Accumulation of iron in the tissues. It may be a manifestation of an inherited disorder (e.g., hemochromatosis) or acquired (in patients with repeated blood transfusions). Symptoms include hepatomegaly, arthritis, diabetes mellitus, and bronzed skin. If untreated it has a progressive course and may lead to death.

Symptoms of Iron Overload

The following features are indicative of Iron Overload:
  • joint pain
  • abdominal pain
  • fatigue
  • weakness
  • diabetes
  • loss of sex drive
  • impotence
  • heart failure
  • liver failure
It is possible that Iron Overload shows no physical symptoms and still is present in a patient.

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Common Causes of Iron Overload

The following are the most common causes of Iron Overload:
  • genetic mutation
  • frequent blood transfusions in patient with severe anemia
  • liver diseases

Risk Factors for Iron Overload

The following factors may increase the likelihood of Iron Overload:
  • family history
  • hereditary
  • age > 40 years

Prevention of Iron Overload

No, it is not possible to prevent Iron Overload.
  • mutations in the human hemochromatosis protein

Occurrence of Iron Overload

Number of Cases

The following are the number of Iron Overload cases seen each year worldwide:
  • Very common > 10 Million cases

Common Age Group

Iron Overload can occur at any age.

Common Gender

Iron Overload can occur in any gender.

Lab Tests and Procedures for Diagnosis of Iron Overload

The following lab tests and procedures are used to detect Iron Overload:
  • Serum transferrin saturation test: To measure the amount of iron bound to a protein transferrin
  • Serum ferritin: To measure the amount of iron stored in the liver
  • Liver function tests: To evaluate the liver damage
  • Magnetic resonance imaging: To measure the degree of iron overload in the liver
  • Genetic testing: To diagnose the hemochromatosis
  • Liver biopsy: To diagnose the hemochromatosis

Doctor for Diagnosis of Iron Overload

Patients should visit the following specialists if they have symptoms of Iron Overload:
  • Hematologist
  • Gastroenterologist
  • Primary care doctor

Complications of Iron Overload if untreated

Yes, Iron Overload causes complications if it is not treated. Below is the list of complications and problems that may arise if Iron Overload is left untreated:
  • liver problems
  • pancreas problems
  • heart problems
  • reproductive problems
  • skin color changes
  • cirrhosis

Procedures for Treatment of Iron Overload

The following procedures are used to treat Iron Overload:
  • Phlebotomy: To eliminate blood from body and lower iron levels to normal

Self-care for Iron Overload

The following self-care actions or lifestyle changes may help in the treatment or management of Iron Overload:
  • Avoid alcoholic beverages: Lowers the risk of liver damage in people with hereditary hemochromatosis
  • Avoid vitamin C supplements: Reduces the absorption of iron
  • Avoid eating raw fish and shellfish: Decreases the risk of complications of hemochromatosis

Patient Support for Treatment of Iron Overload

The following actions may help Iron Overload patients:
  • Genetic counseling: Beneficial for affected individuals and their families

Time for Treatment of Iron Overload

While time-period of treatment for each patient may vary, below is the typical time-period for Iron Overload to resolve if treated properly under an expert supervision:
  • More than 1 year

Last updated date

This page was last updated on 2/04/2019.
This page provides information for Iron Overload.

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