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Aubrey - In 1993 when it was first discovered that my serum iron was abnormally high, my ferritin was normal (as is Robine's). My serum iron remained abnormally high for the next 14 years until I received phlebotomy treatment for hemochromatosis in 2007. But my ferritin was rarely tested during those 14 years. Here are the lab results of my ferritin tests:

11/09/93: 94 (Normal)
10/31/96: 450 (High)
08/29/03: 287 (Borderline High/Normal)
11/16/04: 553 (High)
08/28/06: 1331 (High)

As you can see, my ferritin doubled from 2003 to 2004, and it more than doubled from 2004 to 2006. I believe that my ferritin dramatically increased in 2004 because from the time that I was diagnosed with premature menopause in 1983, I took hormones (hormone replacement therapy) and as a result, I had a period every month for 20 years until I stopped taking the hormones in 2003, at which time I stopped having periods. Periods are like phlebotomies -- they cause excess iron to leave the body. Once I stopped having periods, the iron rapidly accumulated in my body.

Perhaps Robine's ferritin is normal because she still has periods (I don't know if she does or not).

Since ferritin can be high due to reasons other than iron storage (such as inflammation), other tests should be done to confirm that iron storage exists. Those other tests include serum iron and transferrin saturation percent. From what I have read, transferrin saturation percent is the most reliable indicator of iron storage and hemochromatosis. My transferrin saturation percent was abnormally high from 1993 until I received phlebotomy treatment in 2007, and my transferrin saturation percent was high even when my ferritin was normal and even during the years that I was having periods.

Since most doctors rely on ferritin as an indicator of iron overload, women are not usually diagnosed with hemochromatosis until they are post-menopausal and their ferritin becomes so abnormal that it's impossible to ignore it (although my doctor ignored it).

Like me, Robine has high serum iron, high transferrin saturation percent, and one of the genes for hemochromatosis. I was not diagnosed with hemochromatosis until a second liver biopsy was done which confirmed that the iron in my liver had more than tripled since my first liver biopsy. Perhaps the deciding factor in Robine's diagnosis will be whether or not her MRI shows iron storage in her liver.

Hi Robine - thanks for clarifying the palmate and toxicity issue. Vit A is one of those vitamins i never thought anyone would be low in, but could quite easily be higher in. I've never given it a thought until i read that the thyroid gland can't produce thyroxin without sufficient Vit A and if the thyroid is having problems producing the thyroxin there's a pretty good chance you aren't absorbing sufficient iodine. Also the fact that Vit A helps with better abosorption of nutrients by strengthening the lining of the digestive tract as i have malabsorption issues as well as the thyroid and low iodine issues. For these reasons i'm now wondering whether i could be low in Vit A.

I think with all these health issues you can't ever look at just one thing, there is such a big overlap from various areas.

Best of luck with your MRI results. I get my new test results on monday. I always get so excited the night before that i can't fall asleep :)

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