Hyperferritinemia is a condition where there is too much of ferritin in the blood.
Ferritin is a protein that stores iron in the body, and high levels of ferritin may mean there is too much iron in the blood.
Iron helps to make red cells but too much of it can harm the body, causing organ and tissue damage.
This blog will discuss the causes, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of hyperferritinemia.
What are the causes of hyperferritinemia?
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There are several causes of hyperferritinemia, including:
- Hemochromatosis: A genetic disorder that causes the body to absorb too much iron from food and supplements.
- Chronic liver disease: The liver processes and stores iron in the body. When it is damaged, the process stops, building up high levels of iron in the liver and other organs.
- Inflammatory disorders: When there’s inflammation in the body, ferritin levels increases as a result of the body’s immune response.
- Hematologic disorders: This makes the body produce more red blood cells than it needs, leading to high levels of iron in the blood.
Symptoms of Hyperferritinemia
Hyperferritinemia may not cause any symptoms, but if the high ferritin levels are due to hemochromatosis, symptoms may include:
- Joint pain
- Abdominal pain
- Muscle weakness
- Loss of energy
- Loss of appetite
- Grayish-brown skin discoloration
- General malaise
Diagnosis of Hyperferritinemia
To diagnose hyperferritinemia, a series of tests like serum ferritin test, genetic testing, and imaging tests may help.
This is done to get a clear picture of the amount of ferritin that’s in the blood, and then identifying any medical condition that’s causing it.
Serum ferritin test measures the levels of ferritin, iron, and transferrin saturation in the blood. High levels of ferritin and transferrin saturation indicates iron overload.
Whiles genetic testing determines if a patient has a genetic mutation linked with iron overload disorders like hereditary hemochromatosis.
The normal range of ferritin levels for both men and women is 500 ng/mL and 300 ng/mL respectively.
Other tests that may be of help are magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computed tomography scans, which detects iron accumulation in the body’s organs.
Treatment of Hyperferritinemia
For hyperferritinemia, depending on how serious the condition is, if its severe, treatment may involve:
- Removal of blood from the body to reduce the levels of iron in the body.
- Using drugs like deferasirox to bind and remove excess iron from the body.
- Treating liver inflammation may help reduce ferritin levels.
- Using anti-inflammatory drugs to lower ferritin levels reduces inflammation in the body.
Prevention of Hyperferritinemia
There are several lifestyle changes you can make to help prevent hyperferritinemia from occurring in the first place.
Here are some tips on how to prevent hyperferritinemia:
- Eating a well-balanced diet that includes plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein sources can help keep your iron levels in check.
- Drink green tea to help lower iron levels.
- Doing regular exercise helps regulate iron metabolism and reduces inflammation.
- Diabetes and chronic kidney disease increases the risk of hyperferritinemia, so it’s important to manage these conditions with right treatment plan.
- Drink less alcohol. Heavy alcohol consumption damages the liver, and this raises ferritin levels.
- Avoid taking high amounts of iron supplements. If you’ve been diagnosed with iron deficiency anemia you can still take iron supplements but should not be too much.
- Regular checking of ferritin levels through blood tests.
- Screening for iron overload disorders for people with a family history of hemochromatosis.
If hyperferritinemia is left untreated, it may become more serious, leading to severe complications like diabetes, heart disease, liver disease, and arthritis.
Conclusion: What You Need to Know About Hyperferritinemia
Hyperferritinemia can cause many problems if not treated well.
Been mindful of the symptoms, treating this condition early on will help avoid severe complications.
If you have a family history of iron overload disorders, get tested for hyperferritinemia.
By taking the right steps, you can manage hyperferritinemia and avoid future health problems.