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  • Can alcoholism cause iron deficiency anemia?

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    Old 07-18-2012, 12:57 PM   #1
    ajarlson's Avatar
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    Can alcoholism cause iron deficiency anemia?

    My husband was diagnosed with iron deficiency anemia. He drinks quite a bit, and his liver enzymes are slightly elevated (AST and ALT) but not horrendously, and his bilirubin is fine. The doctor just said to decrease his drinking but didn't tell him to stop so my husband thinks it isn't because of the alcohol. The doctor is more worried about his severe anemia but I am wondering if the root problem could be the drinking itself. This chart is his profile exactly which is Iron Deficiency, just wondering what causes this.

    Iron TIBC/Transferrin UIBC %Transferrin Saturation Ferritin
    Low High High Low Low

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    Old 07-18-2012, 04:13 PM   #2
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    Re: Can alcoholism cause iron deficiency anemia?

    yes it can.

    This is how it works the alcohol causes absorption issues, the absorption issues cause the anemia.

    They are are also prone to other absorption issues.

    It may be that the doctor doesn't realize the extent of the drinking. I would ask for a nutritional panel to look for any other deficiencies.

    Also, if he won't stop drinking they can do infusions or injections for the iron

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    Old 08-28-2012, 11:33 PM   #3
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    Re: Can alcoholism cause iron deficiency anemia?

    The information I've seen says that alcohol increases iron absorption, but I suppose the volume of alcohol consumed could be an issue. But does he also take any prescription or OTC antacids such as Prilosec, Famotidine or Ranitidine, etc.? Sometimes heavy drinkers need that as well for the heartburn that alcohol can cause and antacids like those can definitely interfere with iron absorption.

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