High iron levels in the blood are typically caused by hemochromatosis, a condition in which the body obtains excessive amounts of iron from the diet, states Healthgrades. High blood iron can result from juvenile hemochromatosis, primary hemochromatosis or secondary hemochromatosis.
High blood iron may occur due to a genetic defect or multiple blood transfusions, according to Healthgrades. Juvenile hemochromatosis and primary hemochromatosis are both genetic mutations. Secondary hemochromatosis is an acquired disease that results as a complication of another disease or occurs when several blood transfusions are done to treat a particular illness.
High blood iron often leads to liver swelling and damage, notes Healthgrades. Some of its symptoms include fatigue, lethargy, skin discoloration, weight loss and abdominal pain. Other symptoms may accompany high blood iron if there is an underlying condition. These symptoms include painful liver, irregular heartbeat, joint pain and decreased libido. It is essential to contact a health care provider if an individual experiences any of these symptoms, as they may indicate a severe condition.
To treat high blood iron, doctors regularly remove excess iron from the body by removing significant amounts of blood until iron levels drop to safe levels, explains Healthgrades. Early identification and treatment of high blood iron can reverse the condition and avoid serious complications. Potential complications of untreated high blood iron include liver failure, liver cancer and diabetes.
Hemolytic anemia results in the premature destruction of red blood cells, states the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. When the red blood cells disintegrate, they leak molecules containing iron into the bloodstream. This results in an elevated iron level. Symptoms of hemolytic anemia include abdominal pain, yellowing of the skin and leg ulcers.