Does anyone know much about hemochromatosis?
My husband has hemochromatosis, and does regular blood donation, which was what he was told to do when first diagnosed. He just had a physical, and I'm trying to figure out if we should be worried about the results.
Does anyone know what the difference is between a test for ferritin and an iron test? He got a ferritin result of 657, with the normal range being shown as 28-365 ng/mL. But as a separate line there's a test for iron which was 165 for a range of 49-180 ug/dL which would be normal, and then another test for TIBC (total iron binding capacity) of 252 out of a range of 250-450 ud/dL which is also normal.
All the doctor said on the results was that the high ferritin was consistent with hemochromatosis. I'm having a hard time figuring out if this is really ok or not.
Chris Kresser has some good information on hemochromatosis:
Iron Behaving Badly: The Role of Iron Overload in Metabolic Disease
I have a history of iron deficiency (basically opposite of hemochromatosis) and my doctor said ferritin is like money in the bank, serum iron is like money in your wallet, and hemoglobin is like money you are spending. Or something like that. Ferritin is the storage form of iron. From what I have heard, it's good to keep ferritin in the 35-75 ng/mL range. Anthony Colpo has some good info as well:
Ferritin « Search Results « AnthonyColpo
your doctor is right. I have it too, and high ferritin is the indicator for hemochromatosis. It is hereditary, you may want to check if any relatives of his have it or have symptoms indicating they might. I also have diabetes, diagnosed at the same time as the hemochromatosis, so I think Chris Kresser has a point there.
Treatment is always the same: donating blood or phlebotomy (bloodletting).
Your husband's ferritin is not alarmingly high, but needs to be treated. (For comparison, we have a patients' message board here, and I remember one member being diagnosed with a ferritin of 9000 - not a typo.) My own ferritin at diagnosis was over 900. Untreated, the iron is deposited into the inner organs (typically pancreas, liver, heart or even in the joints) and causes problems there. It's a very insidious desease in that - if left untreated - you die a relatively early, but perfectly ordinary death through heart attack, cancer of the liver or chirrohsis (sp).
How old is your husband? Men usually get problems in their 40s, women rather in their 50s (after not getting our personal monthly "bloodletting" any more). I was diagnosed at 54.
Good luck to you both!