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Iron Overload: Treatment, Procedure, Cost and Side Effects

What is the treatment?

Hemochromatosis is a disease whereby excess iron builds up in a person’s body. A person suffering from this condition absorbs more iron than is actually required. The body is not capable of getting rid of the extra iron and it gets stored in the body tissues and especially in the liver, heart and pancreas. This extra iron can be detrimental for your body and can cause organ failure. People with this disorder can absorb up to 30 % of the iron that they consume compared to the 10 % which is absorbed by normal people. The body is then not able to expel the extra iron and it gets stored.

Iron overload disorder can either be primary hemochromatosis or secondary hemochromatosis. Primary hemochromatosis accounts for the overwhelming majority of the cases and is passed on genetically. On the other hand, secondary hemochromatosis can be a result of some kind of anemia like thalassemia or can be the result of liver diseases like Hepatitis C and alcoholic liver disease.

The three major methods for treating hemochromatosis are therapeutic phlebotomy, iron chelation therapy and dietary changes in the person suffering from the disorder. It is essential to diagnose this disorder in the early stages or otherwise there can be serious repercussions.

How is the treatment done?

Blood is removed from the body via therapeutic phlebotomy. At first, a needle is inserted into a vein and then the blood flows through an airtight tube into a sterile container or bag. As the process is similar to blood donation, it can be done at blood donation centers or even at a doctor’s chamber. Patients should have weekly phlebotomy of about 500 ml of blood which is equivalent to 200-250 mg of iron. This therapy should done till iron-limited erythropoiesis develops and this can be identified by the failure of hemoglobin level and/or hematocrit. Patients can generally withstand bi-weekly phlebotomy but this process is tedious.

For people who cannot have routine blood removal, iron chelation therapy is used. This procedure uses medicines to remove excess iron from the body. The medicine used in this procedure can be injected or can also be consumed orally. This procedure is ordinarily recommended for people with hemachromatosis and heart disease, anemia or poor venous access.

Furthermore, there are some dietary changes that a patient needs to incorporate. He/she should avoid iron, including iron pills, iron injections and multivitamins containing iron. The person should also limit his/her intake of Vitamin C as it aids in the absorption of iron from food. Fish and shellfish should be avoided they contain bacteria that may cause infections in people suffering from iron overload disorder. Alcohol should also be avoided as it causes liver damage.

Who is eligible for the treatment? (When is the treatment done?)

A person suffering from iron overload disorder is eligible for this treatment. There are two types of tests that can detect whether a person has hemochromatosis or not. However, a person becomes eligible for treatment if he/she is suffering from one or more of the following symptoms: diabetes, elevated liver enzymes, extreme tiredness, joint problems, heart disease or erectile dysfunction (in men). The two tests that can help to detect iron overload are serum transferrin saturation and serum ferritin. Moreover, people who can withstand frequent blood transfer are eligible for iron chelation therapy.

Who is not eligible for the treatment?

Patients suffering from anemia cannot undergo phlebotomy and have to be treated with iron chelation agents. People who cannot withstand regular blood removal procedures are not eligible for phlebotomy. A doctor’s diagnosis is necessary to understand whether a person is suffering from iron overload disorder. Without a proper diagnosis, a person is not eligible for treatment.

Are there any side effects?

Iron chelation therapy requires the injection or consumption of drugs by a patient. However, there are certain side-effects associated with IV iron chelation therapy like visual disturbances, rashes or hives, diarrhea, vomiting, itchiness, cramps in the stomach and legs and rapid heart-beat. It may also cause fever, low blood pressure, anaphylactic shock, dizziness and pain and swelling at the site of the intravenous injection.

Some of the side-effects of therapeutic phlebotomy are fatigue, anemia, tiredness, dizziness and a feeling of exhaustion.

What are the post-treatment guidelines?

Therapeutic phlebotomy is done till a patient’s ferritin level reaches a certain prescribed level. However, even after ferritin levels are normal, a person will have to take extra care so as to ensure that iron levels in his/her blood do not get elevated again. The ferritin levels can be maintained by donating blood at regular intervals.

Patients generally develop a few symptoms after iron chelation therapy. It is of utmost importance that the patient reports such symptoms to a doctor so that he/she adjusts the dosage of the medicine. A patient’s visual status and hearing status are checked by slit-lamp fundoscopy and a hearing test respectively. A kidney functioning test may also be done.

How long does it take to recover?

Therapeutic phlebotomy is generally carried out once every 2-3 months. This therapy may remove some of the symptoms like fatigue, abdominal pain, elevated liver enzymes and other symptoms associated with iron overload disorder. But it is not able to treat other complications. Iron chelation therapy uses drugs to bring down the level of iron in a person’s blood. However, both these treatments are to be continued for life in a person suffering from hemochromatosis.

What is the price of the treatment in India?

A person suffering from sickle-cell disease can develop complications like liver dysfunction or cirrhosis, diabetes, arthropathy and cardiac enlargement. The iron chelator treatment which is done to treat iron overload is a bit costly. The price of drugs used for this treatment is more than Rs 900000 for a month.

Phlebotomy can cost between Rs 2000 to Rs 13000.

Are the results of the treatment permanent?

Therapeutic phlebotomy and iron chelation therapy are both used to bring down the level of iron in the blood of a person suffering from iron overload syndrome. However, this disorder can be genetic or as an effect of some other health disorder. Although both the procedures bring down the level of iron in blood, they do not provide a permanent solution. A person has to keep on taking medications or donating blood.

What are the alternatives to the treatment?

A person can include turmeric in his/her diet to fight iron overload disorder. The turmeric acts to reduce stored iron from the cells. It has been clinically proven that level of iron in the blood decreases with the increase in the level of turmeric. Topical turmeric creams and phytosomal turmeric capsules are beneficial in this respect.

Safety: High Effectiveness: High Timeliness: Medium Relative Risk: Low Side Effects: Low Time For Recovery: Medium Price Range: Rs 2000 - Rs 13000 for phlebotomy;

Popular Health Tips


Homeopath, Mumbai
Person taking iron supplements should check his/her complete hemogram by blood test. Get your blood test done for assessing the hemoglobin and blood indices to know about the efficacy of the supplements. Never take iron supplement haphazardly for a month or two and discontinue it; always confirm its action and verify whether it needs to be continued further.
There is no fixed course for iron. You need to continue till your body stores are adequate in iron. A regular follow-up blood test is most essential to prevent iron overload. There is no need to take extra supplemental iron unless indicated.
Continue using food sources of iron even after stopping the tablet/syrup as food sources will never cause iron overload. Common foods being beet, green veggies, dates, figs, raisins, sesame seeds, almonds.
If you are not responding to the iron or your hemoglobin keeps dropping frequently, you need to rule out hemoglobin related disorders.
But, but, but. Try doing this first -
Include vitamin a (carrots, peach, papaya, mango, green vegetables), copper (whole grains, almonds, pista, figs, dates, walnuts, raisins) and vitamin c to improve absorption of iron.
Our indian dish'aloo-palak' is a good example of food combination to maximize efficacy of nutrient absorption. Forget the technical jargon.
What I mean is that you get iron from palak and vitamin c, vitamin a and copper from the potato, so it enhances the iron absorption.
Point to note:
Do not take your anti-acidity syrups, tablets or capsules with iron. It will just not allow that iron to be absorbed.
Do not drink cow or buffalo or soya milk to gulp that iron tablet, it will just not allow.
Do not take tea or coffee with iron tablet; it will just not allow.
So, get the best out of that iron tablet, so that you can discontinue it sooner.

Iron Sources

General Physician, Chennai
Iron Sources
Iron rich diet

Meat, liver, fish
Green leafy vegetables,
Soybean (among pulses)
Dried fruits

Iron Rich Foods Applied Nutrition, West Bengal State University, sports authority of India
Dietitian/Nutritionist, Kolkata
Iron Rich Foods

Iron Rich Foods

1 person found this helpful

Benefits of Iron

M.Sc - Dietitics / Nutrition
Benefits of Iron

Benefits of Iron

Foods Rich in Iron

General Physician, Gurgaon
Foods Rich in Iron

Food items rich in iron are green leafy vegetables apricot beetroot, pomegranate, jaggery.

1 person found this helpful

Popular Questions & Answers

My son has Beta Thalassemia Major, So iron overloaded. How to overcome iron overload.

Hematologist, Ludhiana
Hi lybrate-user, beta thal major requires regular blood transfusion and with each transfusion we adding iron, it's like intravenous iron therapy and they child land with iron overload. To prevent it there should be proper counseling of parents regarding need of iron chelation and regular monitoring of the same is required.
1 person found this helpful

Respected sir, Muje Thallassemia Major Hai jiski Wajah see muje blood transfusion Lena padta Hai, iski wajh se body me iron overload hota Hai ,muje ye Janna Hai ki iron Kam Karne ke liye koi Homeopathic medicine aati Hai jisse iron Kam ho? Please javab de. Thank you.

Bsc Food & Nutrition, Msc Food & Nutrition
Dietitian/Nutritionist, Delhi
Dear lybrate-user Incorporate foods rich in calcium in your diet. Calcium is found in foods such as milk, yogurt, cheese, paneer, salmon, tofu, broccoli, almonds, figs, sesame seeds. Calcium is the only known substance to inhibit absorption of iron. Avoid Foods rich in iron include: Red meat, pork and poultry. Seafood. Beans. Dark green leafy vegetables, such as spinach. Dried fruit, such as raisins and apricots. Iron-fortified cereals, breads and pastas. Peas. Poha Jaggery Avoid vitamin C-rich foods -- like oranges, amla ,guava, strawberries, grapefruit, kiwi fruit and orange juice. Vitamin C significantly boosts iron absorption from meals. Other foods that enhance iron absorption include those that are high in beta carotene, such as sweet potatoes and carrots ,papaya, meats, especially red meats; and alcoholic beverages.
1 person found this helpful

Are Amway supplements good to have or are they overloaded with vitamins ?and can give one an excess?

General Physician, Delhi
Amway supplements have macronutrients, micronutrients, and phytonutrients. Includes: Multivitamins, omegas, protein, and phytonutrients from Nutrilite® Concentrated Fruits and Vegetables supplement. You can take it.
1 person found this helpful

Does anywhere in India "Aquapheresis with the Aquadex FlexFlow® System" available for treating fluid overloaded patients?

C.S.C, D.C.H, M.B.B.S
General Physician, Alappuzha
The Aquadex FlexFlow System is an FDA cleared system designed to simply, safely, and precisely remove excess fluid (primarily excess salt and water) from patients suffering from fluid overload who have failed diuretic therapy. This is available for only hospital use and not for self use.
1 person found this helpful

Table of Content

What is the treatment?
How is the treatment done?
Who is eligible for the treatment? (When is the treatment done?)
Who is not eligible for the treatment?
Are there any side effects?
What are the post-treatment guidelines?
How long does it take to recover?
What is the price of the treatment in India?
Are the results of the treatment permanent?
What are the alternatives to the treatment?
Play video
Urinary Incontinence - Common Causes & Treatment

I am Dr. Punnam Gupta.

Today I will explain about incontinence of urine. Basically Incontinence, what is incontinence of urine? You can t control your urine, that is called incontinence of urine. Basically urine, urinary muscles are whatever muscles is there that is actually work in vaulterily, than we need to control it. There is stress in incontinence, over loaded bladder and infectious diseases. Stress in incontinence is basically person with stress. Any kind of stress can be there. That is called incontinence stress, of urine. In person who is in stress, like any kind of stress, you can say, he has to go to toilet but he doesn t get the right place to go. That is also stress.

And person who is working, long hour working, they have, don t have time to go there if he cured the urinary bladder then that is also incontinence, stress in urinary. In fact this is the very common in the young generation, who is working in the multinational companies and all, but sometimes it s a disease but the disease is neuropathy disease hogya. And then diabetes, high blood pressure and any cardiac and third is overloaded bladder. Always bladder full, you, person keeps always full bladder because all the time he is on work or any kind of thinking, that is also called overloaded, overloaded bladder and it s also incontinence of urine. And second is infectious bladder, infectious bladder can t control the urine.

Second is age factor. Age factor is also very important because after 60s or 50s or menopause bladder, female organ become very loose and weak that can t control the urine. Then we have, we have, we can rehabilitate the person if, you know about the what is incontinence and it is treatable and manageable. You can rehabilitate your urinary bladder that is called kegel exercises you can improve your urinary bladder with the kegel exercises, but everybody says kegel exercises, kegal exercises, everybody do kegel exercises but you need to learn the right way of kegel exercises that for that you have to consult the physiotherapist to learn all this things and a part of this, some people have perhaps to uterus that is also, is incontinence, cause of incontinence of the urine.

So for these things you need to know how you improve these things, so have to do bit of exercises and reduce your stress. Improve your lifestyle, and exercise should important for the person who has these kind of problem. And then you, if you know, if you have in, if you have doubt about key I have these kind of symptoms then you need to consult physiotherapist or you can make a urinary diary, so that we can check out with the urinary diary you will get the book from Google, you will get download this diary and try to fill that, follow that procedure, how to fill that diary and if you feel k there is some symptoms which is match with me, you must consult the physiotherapist who work with the pelvic floor muscles, and it is treatable if you are a person is above 60, that time I can say it s a very difficult to improve the muscles power but, I can say that you can rehabilitate yourself, you can manage yourself.

So you must consult to physio who works with the pelvic floor exercises, pelvic floor anatomy and everything. If you need any consultation you can contact to the Lybrate.
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Causes of Male and Female Infertility

Hi friends, I m doctor Hema Parashar. I m ayurvedic gynecologist for Jay Hospital Najafgarh, New Delhi. I ll be discussing today Infertility which is very common. I won t be discussing all the topics of infertility, I ll discuss some of the topics only which are usually unseen by most if the doctors. Some causes like fear, disharmony of marriage causing tubal spasm, less knowledge about sex. Besides that anemia, tuberculosis, thyroid, that is hyperthyroid or hypothyroid, either of the two and PCOD.

PCOD, Polycystic Ovarian Disease is among one of the most common reasons for infertility these days and very, unfortunately, though it comes in unmarried females, it is usually unlooked upon by parents. Parents should always take care that their daughters are getting their menstrual regularly and not having any other sort of problem which could be PCOD and thus can be treated as marriage itself so that the females don t suffer infertility after marriage.

Besides that in secondary infertility in males are, there could be coverage, it could be diabetic militias, it could be a smoker or drug abuse or alcoholic. In female s most common cause are post child birth and post abortion pelvic infections. Besides that, it is viral infections and over here in my case I give Ayurvedic treatment to the patients, to the couples besides the social and physiological support which is, which is desperately and very much needed today in infertility patients. I have taken a lot of care to give social and physiological support along as much as possible.

In patients who come to me are usually those who have suffered infertility for years together and got treated from all various places and thus they are usually overloaded with aliphatic drugs, generic sorta hormones and ayurvedic treatment which is far from side effects usually gives excellent results. Besides that in males who suffer from Oligospermia, Oligozoospermia, even Azoospermia, premature ejaculation ayurvedic treatment gives excellent results.

If you suffer from any diseases of this sort or if anybody near you or known to you suffers from any diseases of this sort, you may contact me through lybrate or you may come directly to my hospital, Jay hospital in Najafgarh. Thank you.
Play video
Male Infertility
Hello and Good Afternoon,

My name is Dr. Pranay Ghosh and I am the director and infertility consultant and chief neurologist at Elixir Fertility Centre.

Today I will be talking about male factor infertility which is a relatively common but frequently neglected diagnosis. Usually when the couple comes in for the infertility assessment it is assumed that the problem lies with the female partner, but about 30% of cases the problem is solely due to the male factor and in about 50 to 20% cases the male partner is contributory. The problem of male infertility may be certain by a basic test as semen analysis and problem may be as severe as absence of sperm in the ejaculates, something that is known as azoospermia. And this is a potentially devastating diagnosis. However, in the majority of such cases it is now possible to have one s own biological children with the availability of the new or assisted reproduction techniques. Foremost along with the detailed semen analysis, it is important to get a complete history and do a physical examination. A detail semen analysis implies that even in the presence of very few sperms in the ejaculate the diagnosis of a azoospermia should not be made because this is something that happens when the semen analysis is carried out by routine laboratories. A semen analysis is done to look into three variables. The count for the concentration, mobility of the sperm that is appearance of the sperm. This last perimeter that is the morphology of an overload and over reported. If the semen analysis comes out to be abnormal, the first thing that has to be done is repeat the semen analysis with a proper gap or absence of 2 to 7 days because there is a lot of fluctuation and variation in the semen parameters. If the repeat semen analysis comes out to be abnormal again, then advance sperm function test like sperm DNA fragmentation need to be carried out. In severe, in very severe cases of male infertility, just the semen analysis and sperm DNA fragmentation will not sufficient and by chromosome micro delusions studies need to be carried out to conform genetic normalcy. Once we have diagnosed that the male factor does exist and the male partner does suffer from deficient parameter, the good news is that now there are athlete treatment options available to rectify this and ones we are, we are usually able to pin point the cause of the male infertility which may be as uncommon fugnative abnormalities of hormonal imbalances, previous chemo radiations, previous surgery in pelvic area, substance abuse, certain medications or environmental toxins or maybe cannot be pinpointed due to idiopathic reasons. My male factor in infertility may be benefited by anti-oxidant supplementation and Intrauterine insemination/ IUI. However sever cases require intracytoplasmic sperm injection where cycle of IDF is carried out and after a pickup the fertilization is carried out by directly injecting one sperm inside the egg in a labotory. In cases of azoospermia, that is the absence of sperm in the ejaculate, the optional surgically obtaining the sperm from either the tester or the epidictic exists and this is usually done under anesthesia and the sperm that is obtained by surgical sperm retrieval is used to carried out exceed. For supportive treatment and tales, lifestyle modifications, quitting alcohol, giving up smoking, avoiding tight fitting under garments, hot baths and saunas. A very few, small fraction of the patients that knows the male factor infertility may be diagnosed with a condition called vericoseed, essentially dilation or distinction of the veins that trigger the testes, and this is a condition which may be benefitted by surgically correction. The options are many for the patients diagnosed with the male factor infertility and in the right hands; with the right expertise the results are excellent and gratifying.

Thank you.
Play video
Diet for Healthy Hair
The right diet for healthy hair

Hey friends, this is Neha Chandna and you are watching NC Tv. And today I'm going to talk about a very important part of our body, that is our hair, which is such a close reflection to our personality.

Hair and self esteem have such a correlation that people actualy get into depression when they lose their hair quality or texture. Hair industry is a billion dollar one and the market is flooded with shampoos, conditioners, gels, creams and you name it. But yet, after investing into these products also we don't see a noticable change in our hair quality. That's because it's not about the external, it's totally about what is internal. And our body works on a very very basic logic. The nutrients that you get into your body first gets distributed to the vital organs, that's your heart, kidney, liver, lungs etc which are needed for survival. And then the reamaining nutrients get to your hair, nails and skin which are not so neccessary for survival.

Or really is it? I'm sure though they are not needed for survival but they are a very important part of our beauty aspect, and anything that goes wrong with that really makes us upset, doesn't it? So, a poor nutrient intake equals to bad hair. So today I'm going to tell you my top my foods which I eat in my day to day life to make sure my hair can sustain all the drama, pollution and stress the poor things have to go through.

The first on my list are my greens. Now you can use spinach, coriander, mint, kale, broccoli, whatever you like. Greens are so rich in vitamin A that they keep the cells of your scalp intact and healthy. They are also so rich in iron, and iron is so important for your blood which supplies nutriennts to your hair. So I make sure I add my greens to my juices, my salads or in my food. The next on my list are my mix seeds which I showed you in my Ramaya video and tese are sunflower, pumpkin, chia etc. They are a power house of omega 3 fatty acids which make your hair very supple and soft and unimaginably beautiful. They also have zinc which boosts your hair growth and vitamin E which acts as an antioxidant and safeguards your hair from all the damage.

The third on my list is a kiwi and I eat one kiwi everyday because it's so rich in vitamin C and vitamin C is very important for your collagen formation. Collagen is a protein which helps to bind your cells together just like cement binds the bridge together. So of course when your cells are strong, your hairs are strong. Vitamin C also helps to absorb your iron well. The fourth on the list are almonds and we all know how important almonds are for your body. I eat 10-15 almonds everyday because they are very rich in biotin which is a hair vitamin. And they are very richin protein, vitamin, omega 3 , iron and all of these adds super lustre to your hair. And last but not the least is my coconut water.

And I make sure to have this 4-5 times a week because it naturally hydrates and moisturises my hair. It adds a lot of lustre because it has potassium, magnesium, manganese and a host of minerals which also strengthens the hair and improves blood circulation. Did you know that coconut water also has cytokines which is a plant hormone which minimises ageing of the cells and amnages your blood PH level. So all in all it just makes your hair beautiful, smooth and shiny. So friends if you want strong, beautiful, lustrous hair make sure you eat natural food as much as possible and avoid applying all the heat and chemicals which ruin your hair.

And if you liked this video, as always give it a big thumbs up, share it with your friends, subscribe to my channel and let me know if you want more information about hair in the comments below. Till then stay healthy and positive and love your hair.
Play video
Weight Loss Diet
Grains based diet to lose weight

Greens are such an integral part of weight loss but most of us don t know how to use them. We kill the enzyme and nutrients and make them completely useless for our body. So if you wanna know how to use greens in a proper way for weight loss. Watch this video. Hey friends. This is neha. Today I am going to be making my very own version of a green smoothie for you. So greens like spinach, kael, parsley, mint are nature s true healing foods because they are abundant in vitamins and minerals such as vitamin a, vitamin c, iron, magnesium chlorophyll which completely heals the body. They are very low in fat and carbs and very rich in fiber. So they give you a feeling of fullness and satisfaction and they make you feel totally alive, thanks to the enzyme in them. But the best way to consume them is raw in the form of a smoothie. Very simple yet very effective. Which will help you to cut those extra pounds which you are carrying in yourselves. So, to begin with first, adding my mint leaves to the jar, a handful of basil leaves, a few spinach leaves like 5- 6. If they are baby spinach, you can add even more. Then I am going be adding betel leaves so now this one is really big so add half of it.

Betel leaves is extremely rich in vitamins and minerals and it has lot of good properties, for the body like it helps to relief constipation, it has properties to heal your body to help the leaves and bloods better. So this I am going to be adding this to my juice. And then I am going to adding some pineapples. Pineapple are very rich in vitamin C so they help in to absorb the iron very well so irons are also very rich in bromaline, which is an enzyme which helps to digest your food better so pineapple will go into this and this will blend really well with all the greens. And then I am going to adding half a cup of water to help it to blend well so, now my juice is or smoothie is ready, I am not going to straining this because I want to keep all the fibers intact to keep me full. This smells so fresh and live.

Start you day with this lively green juice or replace any of your heavy mid meals with this and you are good to go. You can also carry this to your work and anywhere that you are going out and put this in a mason jar like this. So there is no reason that you cannot have your greens smoothie and trust me this is so filling that it is really going to help you in weight loss. So, friends if you like this video you should try this recipe at home, don t forget to give it a big thumbs up. Share it with all your friends and let me know how you make your green smoothie in the comments below and subscribe to my channel. Till then, stay healthy. Stay fresh.
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