Impact of Excess Iron in the Body - Blood Transfusion Effects

Impact of Excess Iron in the Body - Blood Transfusion Effects excess,chronic,iron,overload,blood,transer,thalassemia,infographic

Iron is an essential element in the human body mostly found in red blood cells. Iron helps cells breathe by carrying oxygen to cells and tissues, and is essential to giving the body energy and having a properly functioning immune system.


A health person absorbs and releases about 1-2 mg of iron eachday or about 10-15% of the iron iin a normal diet.


A person with Non Transfusion Dependent Thalassemia (NTDT) absorbs twice as much iron from their food as anormal person amounting to 3-4 mg of iron each day or about 20$ of the iron in a normal diet.


A person who receives blood transfusions absorbs an average of 200 mg of extra iron from each unit of blood transfused. As few as 20 transfusions in a lifetime (10 in children) can lead to chronic iron overload.


Symptoms of Chronic Iron Overload may include fatigue, joint pain, weight loss and stomach pain which may not appear until organ damage has occurred. This is why patients with thalassemia, sickle cell disease and mayelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) should be aware of the risk.


Complications may include blood closts, bone disease (including osteoporosis) pulmonary hypertension, hypothyroidism, hypogonadism, liver fibrosis and cirrhosis.

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