The complications of too much iron in the blood

Patient

Q: Is it possible to have too much iron in your blood and what do you do to lower your iron? Natural food suggestions please. What are the results of iron overload?

Doctor

A:   It is possible to have too much iron in the blood. This is unlikely from excess iron in the diet, but can be due to repeated blood transfusions, overdose of iron supplementation, and genetic disorders such as haemochromatosis. The excess iron is deposited in body organs such as pancreas, liver, skin, joints, and heart and may result in diabetes mellitus, liver cirrhosis, skin pigmentation, arthritis, heart enlargement or heart rhythm abnormalities respectively. The treatment depends on the individual cause, but mainly involves regular phlebotomy (removal of blood) to maintain iron levels within a normal range, thus preventing complications from iron overload.

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