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Old 09-11-2007, 08:56 AM   #1
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High iron, High tsat, High tibc, Low ferritin ... huh?

year 98 03 07

Iron 88 244 199 (ug/dL, optimal range:34-175)
tsat 23 75 53 (%, optimal range 13-48)
tibc 385 325 375 (ug/dL, optimal range 250-400)
ferritin ? 24 14 (ng/mL, optimal range 15-115?)

mildly high cholesterol since 92
WBC, RBC, hemoglobin, hematocrit, mcv, mch, mchc, rdw, B12, B6, liver enzymes, CRP, TSH - all very normal
family history of thalessemia minor
tested for hemochromatosis, negative for 3 common markers
age 42, normal BMI, normal menstruation
mostly vegetarian diet, some turkey, chicken & fish. No red meat.

- Is my high iron a problem? (I would guess so, as it deposits in joints and wreaks havoc in various ways in other areas - but without much ferritin?)

- Is my low ferritin a problem (again, I would guess so)

Is there ANYone else out there that has had similar values and a low iron diet?

Should I just forget about this until I have some more major symptoms (other than my fatigue, heart palpitations (diagnosed recently as bigeminy / PVCs), sore joints (especially my fingers, also shoulder, hips, tmj))

Any thoughts on this will be much appreciated.

Last edited by juice82; 09-11-2007 at 08:57 AM. Reason: clarity

 
Old 09-14-2007, 08:19 AM   #2
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Re: High iron, High tsat, High tibc, Low ferritin ... huh?

Think this is a qestion for a Hematologist. FLFLOWERGIRL

 
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Old 09-17-2007, 07:34 AM   #3
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Re: High iron, High tsat, High tibc, Low ferritin ... huh?

Thanks for your input, FLFLOWERGIRL.

So far, the doctors don't have a clear answer for me. That's why I'm inquiring on this board as to whether anyone else has had similar blood iron values without anemia. Just trying to find out all I can about iron metabolism and overload.

 
Old 09-17-2007, 05:52 PM   #4
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Re: High iron, High tsat, High tibc, Low ferritin ... huh?

Good luck to you. I know what it is like trying to get answers. I thought that a Hematologist would be able to tell you this. FLFLOWERGIRL

 
Old 09-17-2007, 06:42 PM   #5
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Wink Re: High iron, High tsat, High tibc, Low ferritin ... huh?

Juice, I have similar numbers. I just got them today as a matter of fact.

Iron 206 (high)
tsat 71 (high)
tibc 289 (normal)
ferritin 24 (normal)

My internist told me that at this point, it's nothing to worry about, but she wants to test me again. I'm researching this myself since I can't imagine having excess iron would be okay.

Other than that, I don't know if I have HH. All other lab results were good except my alkaline phosphatase was low: 26 (33-115 U/L), and that is probably okay.

I'll keep researching and post anything that might be worth exploring, but it could take awhile.

I'm also 42.

 
Old 09-18-2007, 04:04 AM   #6
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Re: High iron, High tsat, High tibc, Low ferritin ... huh?

One thing I've come across through reading is that organs can hold onto iron during an infection. They "hide" the iron because bacteria looooves iron and its an automatic reaction the body has to fight infection. Could it be possible that your body is doing an iron dump after having an infection of some kind? Probably reaching here, but its a thought.

 
Old 09-18-2007, 04:34 AM   #7
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Re: High iron, High tsat, High tibc, Low ferritin ... huh?

Nyxie, that may very well be. I just finished taking antibiotics for a bug bite that infected my lymph glands, so maybe that has something to do with it.

 
Old 09-18-2007, 08:42 AM   #8
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Re: High iron, High tsat, High tibc, Low ferritin ... huh?

Thanks MarthaB. I will also post again if I get any pertinent information about these numbers. What a weird set of numbers we have. I also can't imagine that it's good to have lots of unbound iron in the bloodstream. If I find out differently, I'll let you know.

I haven't had any infections recently. I get ear infections from time to time - but that is nothing new. The increased iron in my blood IS new, since at least 2003, and has been recorded as high for a few years now. All iron values were totally normal in 1998 and prior. Something changed. It wasn't my diet.

I'm a biologist by trade at a large university, and therefore have access to all sorts of journal articles. Again - they don't give me a clear answer yet as to what is going on with the iron, nor whether it is cause for concern.

 
Old 09-18-2007, 12:53 PM   #9
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Re: High iron, High tsat, High tibc, Low ferritin ... huh?

Juice, you might know about this already, but have you read about being iron avid? If I remember correctly, you did not test positive for hereditary hemochromatosis? Aren't there some unusual genetic mutations that aren't normally tested, though? Might you have an odd mutation that causes HH?

"A word of caution: some hemochromatosis patients have become so efficient at inhibiting the absorption of iron that they become iron avid. The iron avid patient has a normal to low ferritin (usually low) but a very high transferrin-iron-saturation percentage (Tsat%). Experts agree that iron avidity is probably the body's response to not enough iron coming into the system. Hemochromatosis patients who have become iron avid, should discontinue phlebotomies and eat to replenish iron stores."

[url]http://www.irondisorders.org/Disorders/about.asp[/url]

I haven't been tested for HH yet.

 
Old 09-18-2007, 02:44 PM   #10
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Re: High iron, High tsat, High tibc, Low ferritin ... huh?

MarthaB,

I've wondered the same thing - am I iron-avid. I've been told (not by a "real" doctor, but by a researcher) that I'm probably not iron-avid, as I don't give blood - I don't get rid of ferritin by phlebotomy. And I have this excess iron - you'd think that the ferritin would gather it up and store it. I get the impression that iron-avidity is an acute thing that would work itself out over a few months time as more iron is absorbed. I've had high iron and low ferritin for years now. And I used to eat 1-2 bowls of iron-fortified cereal today - a single serving would give me 50% of the RDA, so I was getting plenty of non-heme iron these past few years. I've switched, 2 months ago, to a lower-iron-content cereal - has 10-15% of the RDA of iron.

I wonder, also, if I have a different hemochromatosis than the one they tested for. I'm wondering if it's related to my transferrin receptor or something else. I think that is HH IV.

I'll let you know in about 2 weeks when I meet with the docs again. I'm having a blood draw this weekend, and will get new readings on iron, tsat, and tibc - but not ferritin this time.

Thanks so much for your input!

 
Old 09-27-2007, 10:29 AM   #11
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Re: High iron, High tsat, High tibc, Low ferritin ... huh?

Hi, Juice,

Have you heard anything about your recent blood draw?

Have you seen a hematologist? I plan to see one this year after things settle down for me. I want to find out if the extra serum iron is okay.

MarthaB

 
Old 09-27-2007, 12:57 PM   #12
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Re: High iron, High tsat, High tibc, Low ferritin ... huh?

Thanks for asking, MarthaB. I have an appointment next week with a hematologist. I had a difficult time getting the appointment. Although I had a referral from my regular doctor, his office staff called me and said an appointment wasn't necessary. I said I'd still like to have an appointment, and the woman said that wouldn't be possible. I was taken aback by that. I asked if the hematologist had seen my blood results - they said "yes it shows you don't have hemochromatosis so he doesn't need to see you" to which I tried to explain that it actually shows that I don't have the 3 genetic markers they tested for, but there are other gene mutations that can cause HH - AND I still have high iron and high tsat. Sheesh. I asked also if it was noted on the referral that I'm a nearly a vegetarian with a low iron diet, or that my iron tests were all normal 9 yrs ago - she said "well, no but ..." and she refused to pass this info on to the doc. I had to have a patient of his (friend of mine, who is also a nurse) call on my behalf and talk to him. He seemed quite interested in my results then and said that of course he'd be happy to see me. Can't wait to make eye contact with the woman who refused to convey pertinent info to the guy. Grrr. Sorry for the rant, but thanks for listening/reading.

My newest blood results will hopefully arrive before then - but if not I'll get a copy faxed to him. I'll post as soon as I know my results. Hopefully it will show all normal levels - though I doubt it.

 
Old 10-05-2007, 09:26 AM   #13
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Re: High iron, High tsat, High tibc, Low ferritin ... huh?

To Martha B,

I saw a hemotologist today. He doesn't worry about high iron or tsat - all he cares about is ferritin, and my ferritin is low. However, he didn't just blow me off - he agreed to test my hepcidin levels and do a genetic screen for tfr2. Actually, I think it's the genetic test for tfr2 - I forget - might be a serum tfr2 test. And of course he's rechecking the iron, ferritin, and tibc/tsat. AND - if I'm still not satisfied with those results, he will be happy to refer me to an iron specialist a few hours drive from our small town.

BUT - he didn't know what hepcidin was. He first said there's not much more they can do for me - to which I replied that they could test my hepcidin and tfr2 - and he said "what's hepcidin?" I was surprised - not only that he didn't know what it was, but that he didn't try to cover it up. I respect that, hugely. So I explained the role of hepcidin in iron absorption, and how most causes of hemochromatosis are problems with proteins that regulate hepcidin. I also talked about the tfr2 mutation being more common in Mediterranean people - of which I am half. And about the findings of iron-loaded HH people that have the mutation in the tfr2 gene but have low ferritin and high tsat - it seems more common in that population. Lastly, he agreed that HH has a disease progression, and I could be in the early stages which don't always include high ferritin. Bottom line - he really listened.

If my hepcidin comes back normal, I will probably put this on a back burner for a few years, and just monitor my iron parameters yearly. I doubt I have the tfr2 mutation, as it is more rare than the HFE mutations.

 
Old 10-06-2007, 07:03 AM   #14
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Re: High iron, High tsat, High tibc, Low ferritin ... huh?

To Juice
Just Be Carefull On The Genetic Test. Some Insurances Do Not Cover That Test. We Have G.m. Insurance And They Would Not Cover It. It Was 600.00 Just Thought I Would Let You Know Good Luck

 
Old 10-06-2007, 12:42 PM   #15
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Re: High iron, High tsat, High tibc, Low ferritin ... huh?

Thanks Mermaid989! I will double check before they do it.

 
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