Q. My iron saturation is 73% with joint pain, headache, digestive issue and depression. Please help.

Answered by
Dr. Parth R Goswami
and medically reviewed by Dr. Vinodhini. J
This is a premium question & answer published on Jul 17, 2020

Hello doctor,

I am 20 years old. Today I got lab results that show my iron saturation is 73% and my iron serum is 278 ug/dl. I am 6 feet tall and have lost weight down to 127 pounds. I have joint pain, headaches, digestive issues, low appetite, and depression. My mom got me an appointment with a hematologist but they cannot see me until July 31. My mom is freaking out because she is worried my organs are being damaged and thinks I might need to go to the ER or at least push to get a sooner appointment. Am I in immediate health damage concern at this point? Or can it wait until my appointment? Kindly advice.



Welcome to icliniq.com.

Your serum iron level is high. So we have to rule out iron over storage means hemochromatosis like picture. For that, serum ferritin and transferrin saturation have to be done. Your serum ferritin level is normal, So iron storage seems less likely. However, investigate with transferrin saturation as well to rule out iron storage overdose.

If your organs are damaged like liver and kidney then liver and kidney reports could be abnormal. But your SGPT, SGOT, creatinine, and urea are within the limit. So your liver and kidney are not damaged. You can investigate with transferrin saturation and wait until 31 st July.

Headache, pain, etc., can be due to depression as well.

I hope this helps.

Thank you doctor,

My blood test results say my iron saturation is 73%. Is that different than transferrin saturation? My ferritin serum is 100, TIBC is 379. UIBC is 101 and iron is 278. I read online that you calculate transferrin saturation by dividing serum iron by the TIBC. My blood test only says iron is 278. I assume that iron line is actually serum iron? Is that correct so then my transferrin saturation is 73%? Or are you saying I need to go and get another blood test specifically to get the transferrin saturation tested?



Welcome back to icliniq.com.

I appreciate your concern about your health. In your attached report (attachment removed to protect patient identity) TIBC (total iron-binding capacity) value is given. So you are right. We can calculate transferrin saturation by the formula. It is different from iron saturation. Your transferrin saturation is high 73 percent by calculation. So your transferrin saturation is high. Hence slight iron overload present. But serum ferritin is not raised much high.

You can plan phlebotomy means blood donation for your high iron and transferrin saturation. But this iron elevation usually does not cause organ damage, so no need to worry about organ damage. Your liver and kidney profile reports normal, so they are not damaged.

In short, you should concern about high iron but do not worry about that. You can wait for the next 25 days. Treat your depression as well by behavioral therapy and medication.

I hope this helps.

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