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Hemochromatosis

High ferritin with high TIBC, normal iron?

03/02/2009

Question:

I`d greatly appreciate any help you can provide.

For fourteen years, I`ve had severe, constant restlessness with involuntary movements and cervical dystonia as well as fatigue and a number of other problems. Recently, a blood test revealed high ferritin (427), high TIBC (404), low saturation (16%), and normal iron (65). However, I eat about two pounds (no exaggeration) of red meat per day and suspect this has muddied the waters.

I have to wait another month to see the hepatologist. In the meantime, I can`t find any disorder characterized by lab results like mine. I saw a response to another individual with somewhat similar numbers; he was told the problem could be "acute phase reactants." Could that be my problem? If so, can it be treated? If not, are there any other possibilities?

Again, any advice or information is appreciated.

Answer:

Acute phase reactants refers to inflammatory changes that can disrupt normal iron studies, and this is certainly possible. Iron studies for that reason are not terribly reliable.

One test that would be reliable in this situation is the genetic assay for hereditary hemochromatosis. If you are curious about it, you can order it through your primary care physician. Iron indices per se will change from day to day, depending on how much inflammation may be present in the body, and therefore, are notoriously unreliable for diagnostic procedures otherwise.

I cannot ascribe the current symptoms that you are having to your current iron levels, however.

For more information:

Go to the Hemochromatosis health topic, where you can:

Response by:

Mark   Wurster, MD Mark Wurster, MD
Former Clinical Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University