What Effects Do Elevated Iron Levels in the Blood Have on the Body?


Quick Answer

Effects of elevated iron levels in the blood include sexual dysfunction, heart failure and joint pains. Excessive iron in the blood also causes liver cirrhosis, diabetes, fatigue and skin darkening, according to MedicineNet.

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Full Answer

The normal amount of iron in the body is 3 to 4 grams. The human body controls iron levels through sweating and shedding cells from the skin. Women lose iron during menstruation. Excess iron deposits in the heart, joints, liver and testicles can cause these organs to fail. Hemochromatosis is the excessive accumulation of iron in the blood. Hereditary hemochromatosis is a genetic disorder that results in iron overload in the body, says MedicineNet.

Iron aids in the production of hemoglobin. Causes of hemochromatosis include blood transfusions and blood issues such as liver ailment and alcohol abuse. Men are at higher risk of having excessive iron compared to women. Symptoms of elevated iron levels may not appear until middle age. These symptoms include increased tiredness, painful joints, loss of weight and frequent urination, states WebMD. Elevated iron levels are treated with phlebotomy and taking medications that assist the body in eliminating iron, according to MedicineNet.

These treatment options remove excess iron from the blood quickly and safely and limit the progression of complications such as liver and heart damage, states WebMD.

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