High Iron in Blood

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    Mar 10, 2009 12:25 AM GMT
    So my doctor found that I have high iron in my blood. I looked up high iron and read a myriad of disturbing things from it causing heart disease and heart attacks to helping encouraging and spreading cancer. Needless to say I wish to get rid of this excess of iron. The best way is to give blood. I read that you cannot give blood if you have been with another man sexually because of HIV. Not only am I disease free, but HIV is found more in the black straight males demographic than the gay population and they can still give blood. Of course I could lie, but they don't deserve my blood and I should be allowed to be who I am.
    Is there anywhere I can go to take it or do I need to buy a syringe and do it myself? My doctor had no answer for me on this (other than lie).
    Thanks for anything you guys can help me with!
  • MikemikeMike

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    Mar 10, 2009 1:57 AM GMT
    Talk to your Dr. and have him draw blood for medical reasons, even if it can't be used.

    Also read everything you can about it. Check food labels. I have a friend who has very high iron, and he's alive and well.

    Good Luck to you!!
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    Mar 10, 2009 2:17 AM GMT
    how does this happen? I eat a ton of pumpkin seeds, which I guess would give me a lot of iron. Does this work like eating too many carrots will turn you orange?
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    Mar 10, 2009 2:54 AM GMT
    My partner has that (hemochromatosis).

    Every month or so he goes to a blood collection center and gives blood that is somehow disposed of. The center is called Lifesource, but I believe they are just in Chicago. You could probably google something similar in your area.

    The doctor told him it was genetic and diet doesn't have a lot to do with it, but that it wouldn't hurt to avoid high iron foods. It effects men much more than women because women get rid of blood during their monthly cycles.

    We can really tell when he needs to give blood - his face gets red blotches and he doesn't sleep well, but within hours of giving blood that is all gone.

    Excess iron builds up in patients organs and can cause serious damage over time, so it's best to deal with it on a regular basis and get rid of the blood.

    It was so weird to hear that in this era he had to basically go in for a blood letting treatment, but that's what they say is the only way to deal with it.

    I hope this helps a bit, and good luck to you.
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    Mar 10, 2009 3:00 AM GMT
    Hereditary hemochromatosis is the name of the disease. Its a hereditary condition in which the mechanisms that regulate iron uptake from the intestine lead to overload. I think if you have too much iron you can't give blood because it could damage the recipient but once you get to a maintenance level you can give blood just fine. They used to prohibit all people with this condition from donating but have found that its just as safe as normal blood if the iron levels aren't too high. No you cant get it by eating too much iron because your body regulates that very closely if you don't have hemachromatosis.

    Also black straight males (and females) do not have a higher rate of HIV. They are the fastest growing group because they do not get tested and consider it a gay mans disease. The reason gay men can't give blood isn't personal and its not discrimination its just statistics. People who have been to certain other countries (like Britain) are are excluded too. Because there is a high population of gay men alive with HIV who do not accurately know their status because the long window period between infection and testing they are simply eliminated because safety is more important than hurt feelings. It has nothing to do with you being "Who you are". It has to do with statistics and safety. Although I would feel better if there was a question about safe sex on there but you can't eliminate people for that cause then all the married couples would be eliminated and they give a lot of blood.

    Also most blood banks and hospitals and some MD offices do therapeutic bloodletting. You should ask your doctor or call the local blood bank or hospital.
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    Mar 10, 2009 3:39 AM GMT
    Yeah my doctor went round and round with the local blood bank when he ordered blood letting for one of his patients.

    There is a real simple way around this though. It is very common for people to donate their own blood prior to surgery. Some will stock pile several pints. Have your doctor simply write an order for "autologous donation". Obviously you won't actually have surgery so after a certain period of time they will simply discard it.
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    Mar 10, 2009 9:28 AM GMT
    My doctor actually tested for hemochromatosis. He said it was very rare and he doubted I had it (and I don't). So every two months I guess I have to go to the doctor to have him write and order for "autologous donation?"
    I guess for the mean time I should watch my diet. Iron is in freakin' everything! My shredded wheat alone had 90% (which I only ate a few times a week)...plus a multi-vitamin of 100%...plus my daily spinach salad of 15%...not to mention all the odds and ends with 3-4%. I've already cut out the cereals - strictly oatmeal now (10% iron).
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    Mar 10, 2009 10:08 AM GMT
    Increased body stores of iron have several causes

    1. Hemachromatosis... you will read that it is rare...but I don't thing so.. one million Americans have the disease.. It is autosomal recessive and one of the most common genetic diseases....occurs more often in individuals of northern European ancestry...can be treated by repeat phlebotomy (blood letting)..if left untreated can cause some bad problems: bronze skin, cirrhosis or the liver, diabetes mellitus, heart failure, and more

    2.lead poisoning
    3. liver disease
    4. kidney disease
    5. excessive intake of iron

    If you have an inflammatory process going on such as arthritis the assays used to measure iron can become falsely elevated. The actual total body iron level is normal yet the tests are abnormal...

    Why do you think the physician is lying?...he would have no reason too
    Does he think you need to see a hematologist for a definitive diagnosis? This kind of problem may not be in the expertise of all primary care physicians.
    Figuring out the problem can be very difficult in some individuals
    You need the correct diagnosis of why the iron is elevated..Once a diagnosis is known then treatment, if any, can be started.

    Doing self phlebotomy is not an option!!
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    Mar 10, 2009 10:38 AM GMT
    There is one other source/cause: Vitamins with enhanced Iron. I was taking these about twenty years ago, I was only halfway through a small bottle when I had my checkup and blood work done. The Dr. was alarmed by the content of iron in my blood as nearly toxic and after some discussion, realized it was the vitamins. I didn't realize that the iron enhancement was for women (nothing on the label at the time) nor had I ever heard of 'too much iron' in the blood.
    I simply stopped those vitamins and was OK shortly thereafter. I do remember that it takes a while for a man to dissipate iron from his blood.
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    Mar 10, 2009 10:41 AM GMT
    bgcat57 saidThere is one other source/cause: Vitamins with enhanced Iron. I was taking these about twenty years ago, I was only halfway through a small bottle when I had my checkup and blood work done. The Dr. was alarmed by the content of iron in my blood as nearly toxic and after some discussion, realized it was the vitamins. I didn't realize that the iron enhancement was for women (nothing on the label at the time) nor had I ever heard of 'too much iron' in the blood.
    I simply stopped those vitamins and was OK shortly thereafter. I do remember that it takes a while for a man to dissipate iron from his blood.


    Thanks..I forgot about that one and have added to the list...yes women require large amounts of iron because of menstrual blood loss. Men usually don't need much iron replacement. That is why regular multiple vitamin contain little iron; so that men are not poisoned by the iron.You are not the first guy that took vitamins enhanced with iron and had this problem icon_biggrin.gif
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    Mar 10, 2009 10:46 AM GMT
    I actually have the opposite problem, low blood iron. I am borderline anemic. But I have Crohn's Disease so I have my own blood-letting problem, haha. Maybe I need to take women's multi-vitamins icon_smile.gif
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    Mar 10, 2009 9:21 PM GMT
    Kneedraggen...I wasn't trying to say the doc was telling me a lie, but rather he told me I could lie to the red cross about having "relations" with a man so that I could donate blood.

    Would it be harmful for someone to get a blood transfusion with high iron?

    Why are we still not allowed to donate blood? Don't they test it anyway?
  • MikemikeMike

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    Mar 11, 2009 12:52 AM GMT
    Or or or...you could get a bunch od medicinal leaches as pets. Or one big lamprey!!icon_idea.gif
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    Mar 11, 2009 2:40 AM GMT
    Fishfriend saidKneedraggen...I wasn't trying to say the doc was telling me a lie, but rather he told me I could lie to the red cross about having "relations" with a man so that I could donate blood.

    Would it be harmful for someone to get a blood transfusion with high iron?

    Why are we still not allowed to donate blood? Don't they test it anyway?


    I had to research your questions

    I found out that individuals with hereditary hemochromatosis can donate blood.
    here is a link to a blood bank website. They require a note from a physician.
    http://www.winterhavenhospital.org/fac/blood/donate.shtml

    Since it is okay for individuals with hereditary hemachromatosis to donate blood, I can not see why it would not be safe for someone with elevated iron to donate blood. You would not be able to donate blood until a cause is found for your elevated iron. Some causes may preclude blood donation. Bgcat57 said he got high levels of iron from taking too high doses of oral iron. Your cause might be just this simple..People with certain diseases have blood letting ;however, their blood is discarded. Individuals with polycthemia ( to much blood) have blood letting but their blood is never donated but discarded.

    Men who have sex with men are prohibited for life from donating blood. This is a rule from the FDA.. The FDA refuses to change this rule. Many blood banks want it changed since it is possible to now diagnosis HIV within 10 to 21 days after infection. The blood banks want a one year wait after male to male sex rather than a lifetime.. This lifetime ban also applies to IV drug users and individuals who pay for sex..Some people consider a lifetime ban as discriminatory to gay men.
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    Mar 11, 2009 2:48 AM GMT
    kneedraggen said
    bgcat57 saidThere is one other source/cause:


    Thanks..I forgot about that one and have added to the list...yes women require large amounts of iron because of menstrual blood loss. Men usually don't need much iron replacement. That is why regular multiple vitamin contain little iron; so that men are not poisoned by the iron.You are not the first guy that took vitamins enhanced with iron and had this problem icon_biggrin.gif



    so the only way to get it out is to bleed?
    is this also why blood tastes kinda like metal?
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    Mar 11, 2009 10:45 AM GMT
    Miasma said


    so the only way to get it out is to bleed?
    is this also why blood tastes kinda like metal?


    If you have to get rid of the iron quickly the patient can be given IV Deferoxamine. This drug will chelate the iron and it will be passed in the urine. This is how iron poisoning is treated in young children that take a bottle of their mother's iron pills. It is not that uncommon a cause of poisoning in children. A large dose of iron can be fatal in children.
    If you do not have the disease hemochromatosis, the body will slow the absorbtion of iron from the GI tract once the level is excessively high. This is what happened in bgcat57's case. With time, his body would use the excessive iron to make blood. Once it was used up, the GI tract would start absorbing iron at a normal rate again.. If you have hemochromatosis, the body will not stop the absorption of iron even though you have toxic levels that are damaging body organs. The only way to get the iron levels down is to remove it( by blood letting) faster than it is being absorbed..

    I don't know the answer but it is certainly possible that the iron in hemoglobin is giving blood its metallic taste. I'm waiting for some joker on RJ to accuse you of vampirismicon_smile.gif