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Hemochromatosis

High iron level

03/20/2007

Question:

Hi, I just had a blood test done on my own because of recent hair loss. I`m 48 yrs old, a full head of hair but just recently (in the past 3-6 months) it has been falling out, but just recently becoming really noticable. I also have had abdominal pain. I am a recovering alchoholic. My iron is 172 ug/dl. I am currently disabled due to a fracture in my spine in 2001. I have taken high doses of pain killers (oxy) but have been off them for a year. I take 800mg motrin 4x a day, and have for years. I`m really concerned as I have no medical insurance, no income and my hair is now falling out at a fast rate! Can you comment? Thanks

Answer:

The elevated serum iron of 172 ug/dl could be evaluated further with a repeat serum iron ferritin level and a total iron binding capacity.  These would be considered the standard screening tests for iron overload.  Subsequent tests could include genetic markers for hemochromatosis specifically.

Whether or not your hair loss is related to this is completely unclear at this time and would require other evaluations as well.

It is very important to follow up with a physician so they can begin the appropriate evaluations.  I would also suggest reducing Motrin intake to no more than 2400 mg per day, which would be no more than 600 mg, four times daily.

While your symptoms are not specific, hemochromatosis could be a possible explanation and certainly needs to be evaluated as outlined above.

For more information:

Go to the Hemochromatosis health topic, where you can:

Response by:

Mark   Wurster, MD Mark Wurster, MD
Former Clinical Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University