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Blood Donations Are Good For Your Liver, But…

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Old 01-19-2014, 03:18 PM   #1
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: New york, NY
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Blood Donations Are Good For Your Liver, But…

I have-had a fatty liver from drinking too much. 3 years ago my ultrasound shows mild to severe fatty liver with mild enlargement. stopped drinking and began donating blood every 4 months. Fast forward to today, I found out I have iron deficiency anemia now. No more blood donations for a while. My ferritin was 8 and my iron was 27.

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Old 01-19-2014, 06:49 PM   #2
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: California
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Re: Blood Donations Are Good For Your Liver, But…

Monitoring stored iron levels (ferritin) during iron reduction is a wise practice...

I checked my ferritin every four months while I de-ironed my liver and brought ferritin down from near 200 to around 50 in less than a year (donating every 8 weeks). I too have backed off on donations in order to keep a minimum amount of stored iron available.

Blood banks are supposed to check your hemoglobin before every donation to be certain they do not accept anemic donors and I tracked my hemoglobin from over 17, down to a low of 13.6 which was just above their minimum level for donation.

I did experience some fatigue for a week or two after donating when ferritin went below 50, but my iron tended to bounce back quickly and I still donate every 4-6 months to keep ferritin from climbing again.

The best part of my bloodletting experience was that my malaise seemed to respond/improve quite well . Symptoms are much improved and ultrasound and labs are lookin' good too.

Your unfortunate experience with anemia aside, how would you rate the effectiveness of your iron reduction regarding symptoms, imaging and labs?

Hope you're back in the pink soon!

Last edited by BillinSD; 01-19-2014 at 07:26 PM. Reason: addition

Old 01-21-2014, 04:28 PM   #3
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: New york, NY
Posts: 88
Hypochondriacyy HB User
Re: Blood Donations Are Good For Your Liver, But…

Hi Bill;

At the Red Cross they check the hematocrit before a donation, but not the actual iron levels or RBC. I don't recall what me ferritin was before donating but I believe it was in the 130 area. But I donate blood for another reason other then the liver benefits;
I am on testosterone replacement therapy for low T. People who take testosterone have to want their labs because the T tends to raise hematocrit and RBC levels. So 3 years ago shortly after beginning injecting testosterone my hematocrit was getting high. It was 55 and the RBC was 18. So I had "thick" blood. This is common for people on testosterone. So the doc suggested blood donations. Now I have "thin" blood lol.

As far as my labs, my liver enzymes were never really elevated drastically. When I was drinking heavily about 5 years ago my ALT was just a couple of points over the line of normal. My platelets and Albumin have always been good. The only slightly abnormal thing is I tend to have mildly elevated bilirubin. My mild I mean, its 1.0 to 1.3 with normal being under 1.0. The doctor never seemed concerned.
3 years ago I had an ultrasound and it showed "moderate to severe fatty liver with mild enlargement" - thats what scared me into stopping alcohol. My fear is that I may have cirrhosis. So no booze and regular donations ever since. My last ultrasound was one year ago. It said "mild heterogenous liver possibly due to mild patches of fat"- The doc thinks its left over fat from the severe fatty liver. Everything else has been good.

With that said, I have been getting the itch to have a beer or a glass of wine now and then. But I am afraid there may be mild Cirrhosis going on and I will only aggregate it.

Now that I have almost no iron, I will stop the blood donations and keep an eye on the levels.

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