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What are signs and symptoms of iron toxicity?

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Quick Answer

Signs and symptoms of iron toxicity or iron poisoning include abdominal pain, vomiting and diarrhea, explains the Merck Manual. Some patients may experience liver failure a few days after symptoms begin.

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Stage one, which encompasses six hours after an overdose of iron, also includes irritability, drowsiness and the potential to vomit blood, explains the Merck Manual. Patients with serious iron toxicity may experience a rapid heart rate, seizures, low blood pressure, a state of unconsciousness and rapid breathing. The second stage of iron toxicity lasts six to 48 hours after poisoning, in which the patient's symptoms may begin to improve.

Stage three of iron poisoning, which occurs 12 to 48 hours after an overdose of iron, prompts bleeding, a fever, jaundice, very low blood pressure, liver failure or seizures. Two to five days after iron poisoning occurs, patients may experience liver failure or death that results from shock, blood-clotting abnormalities and bleeding. Sugar levels within the blood can also decrease, which produces sluggishness, confusion or even a coma. The final stage of iron toxicity, which occurs two to five weeks after poisoning, produces scarring that can cause blockages in the intestines, stomach or liver.

People with a iron toxicity need to be hospitalized right away, warns the Merck Manual.

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