Haemochromatosis (Iron Overload) – iron physiology, causes and pathophysiology


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“Haemochromatosis is when there is too much iron in the body – iron overload. Excess iron leads to saturation of the plasma iron-binding protein transferrin . Iron begins binding to other things including albumin, citrate, acetate. This iron is referred to as non-transferrin-bound iron (NTBI), when this happens cells take up NTBI mainly liver, heart, joints and endocrine organs. Here the undergo biochemical reactions which create reactive O2 species which in turn can cause tissue damage, inflammation, and fibrosis.

Iron overload causes cardiomyopathy, cirrhosis and arthropathy.

Causes of iron overload include increased dietary intake, iatrogenic (from blood transfusion or iron transfusion, hereditary such as hereditary haemochromatosis”

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