Health Questions and Answers

QUESTION: What are the causes and consequences of IRON overload


Overload of iron from chronic administration to non-iron deficient persons, chronic transfusion therapy, hemochromatosis, amd in patients with thalassemia major and certain refractory anemias such as sideroblastic anemia.

  • Iron overload has many effects
    1. Cardiomyopathy, arrhythmias
    2. Hepatic dysfunction and cirrhosis
    3. Hepatoma
    4. Endocrine dysfunction (hypothyroidism, hypogonadotrophic hypogonadism, hyperpigmentation, diabetes mellitus)
    5. Arthropathy (chondrocalcinosis, synovial fluid containing calcium pyrophosphate or hydroxyapatite crystals)
    6. Osteopenia and subcortical cysts
    7. Peripheral neuropathy

    When hereditary hemochromatosis is identified, screening of relatives can detect young individuals at risk, who may then be saved considerable morbidity.

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