Excess iron, hypersideremia

Excess iron causes hypersideremia (through excessive consumption of products rich in iron) which is a relatively rare disorder. However, this situation may occur especially if children are abusing drugs or supplements containing iron.


Hypersideremia appearance is more common in patients with hemochromatosis (genetic disease where the body is unable to regulate iron absorption).

This hereditary disorder causes iron accumulation in tissues. The deposit is so consistent that may lead, in some cases, to visceral injuries, especially in the liver and pancreas (with manifestations of liver failure and diabetes mellitus). Treatment of such diseases is phlebotomy. This procedure is indicated when the ferritin level is more than 300mg/liter and is done weekly until this value reaches less than 20 mg.

The patient should also follow a strict dietary regime: no alcohol, vitamin C, red meat and high consumption of foods containing calcium and oxalic acid (because they decrease gastrointestinal absorption).

Symptoms of patients with excess iron include tiredness (fatigue), loss of appetite (anorexia), dizziness, nausea, vomiting, hyper pigmentation of skin (skin becomes a shade of gray).

If iron reaches certain critical values it may also cause a state of shock.

Excess iron can accumulate in the body of the following causes:

Numerous blood transfusions, excessive iron therapy; hemochromatosis – an inherited disease, various chronic inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis or malignant liver lesions, viral posthepatite caused by alcohol abuse or Gaucher disease – a hereditary illness; family associated with hereditary congenital cataract and excessive iron accumulation in the liver and other organs.

Over 50% of people may have elevated serum iron levels after meal, but this level is transitory. Also, serum iron figures have an allowed variation.

There are situations in which physiological concentrations of iron in the blood is increased, but repeat tests will show normal values:

menstruation: premenstrual serum iron levels may be increased by 10-30% from normal value, this value decreases after menstruating; during pregnancy the value of serum iron can increase due to iron intake (including vitamin complex containing and iron), high values of serum iron and transferrin.

There are some pathological situations associated with increases in blood iron values. They exclude the diagnosis of hemochromatosis:

-hepatitis – causes a severe increase in serum iron values up to 1,000 micrograms / dl and ferritin in hepatocyte injury. Iron deficiency – there may be situations where there is low or normal serum iron and transferrin, but increased CTLF (total iron binding capacity).

Excess iron may amplify risk of cancer by producing free radicals. If there is more iron, the more free radicals are produced. They oxidize cellular DNA and increase the risk of cancer. Free radicals produced by iron can also lead to cardiovascular disease. These free radicals can oxidize cholesterol in the blood, leading to increased risk of attaching the arteries and blood vessels in the body, especially the arteries that carry nutrients and oxygen to the heart.

It should be noted that not every person with excess iron in the blood will develop the disease mentioned. The secret lies in not exaggerating with iron-rich aliments.

If you consume daily iron-rich products (meat, liver, eggs, spinach, beans and other vegetables) is good to associate them with food to decrease iron absorption, so will not risk to accumulate it in the body. Such foods are:

rice (contains oxalates which decrease iron absorption), wheat and other cereals (phytates decrease absorption of iron from them), polyphenols from chocolate, wine, apples, grapes (including black tea).

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