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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


Iron overload is a potentially serious problem that is often overlooked because the symptoms are nonspecific and often develop gradually. A number of diagnostic tests are available, but their interpretation can be challenging. Once iron overload is diagnosed, the options for treatment are relatively straightforward in the majority of individuals. However, untreated individuals can develop life-threatening organ toxicity. Thus, it is important to identify iron overload before organ damage occurs.

An approach to evaluating individuals with suspected iron deficiency is presented here.

Separate topic reviews discuss the regulation of iron balance, the diagnosis of and treatment of hereditary hemochromatosis (HH), and the management of iron overload.

Iron balance – (see "Regulation of iron balance")

HH population screening – (see "Screening for hereditary hemochromatosis")

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Literature review current through: Nov 2017. | This topic last updated: Nov 01, 2017.
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