Iron is an essential mineral our bodies need to function properly. It helps transport oxygen and supports immune system function. But did you know that too much iron can actually be harmful? In this article, we'll explore the risks of iron overload.
What is Iron Overload?
Iron overload, also known as hemochromatosis, occurs when there is too much iron in the body. This excess iron can accumulate in organs such as the liver and heart, leading to serious health problems.
Fun Fact: Did you know that Hemochromatosis was first described by an Indian doctor named Armand Trousseau?
There are two types of hemochromatosis: primary and secondary. Primary hemochromatosis is a genetic disorder where your body absorbs too much dietary iron even if it's only needed small amounts while secondary, on the other hand, results from underlying medical conditions like chronic liver disease or frequent blood transfusions which can lead to excessive deposition of circulating blood cells among many others.
The symptoms of iron overload may not appear until significant damage has occurred within. Most people do not experience any symptoms at all for decades but some early signs over time include abdominal pain/cramping,fatigue, joint paint stiffness due to gout attack because urate precipitation increases with higher levels oxidative stress / muscle weakenss & darkening skin pigmentation commonly seen in neck region often referred to as bronze diabetes because prolonged accumulation could cause dysfunction ion pancreatic beta cells increasing risk type 2 Diabetes .
As more organs become affected by high levels of stored irons there will be more intense arthritis with large lumps/ nodules evident around joint regions, loss sex drive ( libido), reduced male pattern baldness , impotency and possibly organ damage characterized scarring transformation 'cirrhosis', resulting jaundice (yellowish discoloration eyes and skin) , liver cancer, fibrosis & infection.
Iron overload can be caused by a number of factors such as genetic disorders like Hereditary Hemochromatosis Hypoferritemia, Thalassemia and genetic deficiency of hepcidin production within the body which acts as transient suppression hormone involved in reducing circulating iron amount.
Typically,Thalassemic individuals require routine blood transfusions to supplement their inadequate erythropoiesis thereby creating an pathway where they accumulate enough Iron over time to cause hemochrmatogenesis.
In addition overly high intake of dietary iron supplements or multi minerals multivitamin compounds containing high amounts iron for excessive supplementation can initiate Overload symptoms among some people with certain predispositions that would not have experienced complications otherwise themselves
However primary Hemochromatosis accounts for majority of the cases.. this condition is autosomal recessive in nature & is attributed gene mutation that affects HFE protein synthesis.
Excessive Alcohol Consumption: Excessive consumption may injure liver cells inducing changes due oxidation-reduction reaction involving toxic metabolite acetaldehyde causing increased inflammation leading to release ferritin stored excess reserves which worsens deposition org fine already overloaded.
Chronic Liver Disease: chronic hepatitis C induced cirrhosis exposes individual microRNA risk accumulation through alteration expression genes Hepcidin Fetuin B circadian clock glancing despite keeping appropriate attachment sites eventually leading to Scarring evolution ...cirrhosis decreases hepatic clearance efficiency resulting slower elimination irons from circulation causing exacerbation iron toxicity events
### Risk Factors
- Genetics - Frequent blood transfusions - Cirrhosis - Chronic alcohol use - Certain diet plans i.e those high in fortified bites/cereals # Testing for Iron Overload:
Symptoms alone are usually insufficient enough warning indicators pointing to hemochromatosis as general transfusion requirements complement regular erytropoietin support thus other physical signs liver & heart disorders may be detected early enough; Screening tests disease such serum transferrin saturation, ferritin levels, genetic markers for underlying causes help confirm diagnosis.
### Treatment There are several treatments available for iron overload.
Before it gets too serious one can remedy by avoiding excessive Iron supplements i.e not relying on non regulated compounds like herbal remedies if higher dosages been widely circulated.. For instance foods known to have less iron content include fish without muscles (scaly fish) and with oilfish(Fatty fish), Green vegetables mostly Kale/ spinach and Blackberries.. Apart from that one should ensure reduced alcohol intake overall possibly seeking counseling or therapy if needed.
However to clear excess amount already in circulation chelation therapy either through DMSA injections orally given every day accompanied strict dietary regulation can advance medical procedures promote better quality healthy life consider implementing steps that enhance longevity .
Iron overload or Hemochrmatosis is a harmful condition that can lead to serious health problems. By knowing what causes this condition, its symptoms and treatment options you may increase your chances of preventing complications arising aftermath especially when preventable measures were overlooked during earlier stages.
If you suspect you have an iron overload issue, talk to your doctor about testing options, prevention methods and /or remedial solutions which would be helpful in keeping the impact minimal in so far diagnosis has led to detection at early stages before major organ sclerosis occurs eventually leading permanent damage transplants et al.
Stay aware of the risks associated with high iron levels - after all we do strive for long fulfilling lives!