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Approach to the patient with suspected iron overload

Stanley L Schrier, MD
Bruce R Bacon, MD
Section Editors
William C Mentzer, MD
Donald H Mahoney, Jr, MD
Deputy Editor
Jennifer S Tirnauer, MD


The normal iron content of the body is 3 to 4 grams. It exists in the following forms:

Hemoglobin in circulating red cells – Approximately 2.5 grams

Iron-containing proteins other than hemoglobin (eg, myoglobin, cytochromes, catalase) – 400 mg

Iron bound to transferrin in plasma – 3 to 7 mg

The remainder is storage iron in the form of ferritin or hemosiderin. Adult men have approximately 1 g of storage iron (mostly in liver, spleen, and bone marrow). Adult women have less storage iron, depending upon the extent of menses, pregnancies, deliveries, lactation, and iron intake, and some may have no stores [1].


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Literature review current through: Nov 2016. | This topic last updated: Tue Feb 23 00:00:00 GMT+00:00 2016.
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