The mathematics of iron overload | oneSCDvoice
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The mathematics of iron overload


The discussion of iron overload goes hand-in-hand with multiple blood transfusions and sickle cell disease so I thought I’d take a moment to discuss what it means to be iron overloaded and why it is so dangerous.

Our bodies absorb about 1mg of dietary iron through our intestines every day and the rest is excreted through urine, sweat and feces. Under normal circumstances, the body absorbs more iron when iron deficient and/or anemic and less when iron overloaded. Through a series of multiple steps the iron makes its way into circulation where a protein called transferrin picks it up and carries it to the bone marrow and liver where it can be used in the making of red blood cells. In most cases, the body easily maintains this delicate balance. For many individuals with sickle cell disease, however, this balance can rapidly become overwhelmed.