March 18, 2010 11:06 AM   Subscribe

What should I do about elevated iron level.

You aren't my doctor, and I'm sorry I don't even know the exact number, but after a recent physical my doctor told me to avoid eating read meat citing an elevated iron level.
The thing is, I don't eat that much red meat (maybe once a month), so I don't know what caused this. Could salt be to blame?
Is eating lamb inadvisable?
And my googling attempts seem to indicate there isn't much to do about elevated iron once you have it.
I can't donate blood having lived in the UK during the 90s, which leaves me on a restricted list.
Are there any other things I can do to tackle this issue? How long will I have to avoid red meat? And how seriously should I take this. For example, I was served red meat at a work dinner - should I have refused the plate?
I'm not that worried about it but would welcome advice on this issue from those who've been there.
posted by chickaboo to Health & Fitness (7 answers total)
Does he think that you have hereditary hemochromatosis?
posted by scblackman at 11:11 AM on March 18, 2010

I came in here to suggest donating blood, but since you can't do that, the only thing that springs to mind is this question: Are you suppressing your period?

If you are, you may want to allow your period to come back to see if that drops your iron down to normal levels.
posted by burntflowers at 11:45 AM on March 18, 2010

You might not be able to donate blood, but if it's for medical reasons, you might be able to have blood taken and disposed of rather than banked?
posted by Jon Mitchell at 11:52 AM on March 18, 2010

I was going to say hemochromatosis too - it runs in my family. There is a genetic test you can get to tell if you have it. My dad had it and had blood taken at regular intervals that was dumped due to being restricted from donating as well. My aunt also tested positive for the genetic marker but is currently asymptomatic.

Definitely follow up on this. If it is hemochromatosis you can experience pretty bad side effects if it isn't treated.
posted by a22lamia at 12:15 PM on March 18, 2010

For the record, blood from hemochromatosis patients is now usable by blood centers. This is a recent change. (I think they centrifuge it and use the platelets and plasma.)

Definitely see a doctor, though. If you have too little iron, you can add more. Having too much is simply something that you can not correct by yourself, without medical intervention. Hopefully, it's "only" hemochromatosis, because regular blood donations are a relatively easy fix.
posted by Citrus at 12:33 PM on March 18, 2010

I had very high blood levels and I started donating blood. Cured the problem right away. The doctor said about once a year: I give roughly three times a year. They seem to be more worried about people with low iron levels - they do a quick taste on intake.
posted by feelinggood at 7:47 AM on March 19, 2010

well feelinggood you didn't read my question I guess, but thanks.
posted by chickaboo at 10:53 AM on March 19, 2010

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