Iron poisoning or iron toxicity is a condition whereby a person ingests too much iron. This usually occurs when a person, often a child, swallows a large number of iron-containing pills (such as vitamins or iron supplements). Acute iron poisoning generally involves children under the age of 6 who swallow pediatric or adult vitamins, containing iron. In addition, iron toxicity may also develop after multiple blood transfusions for chronic disorders such as thalassemia, sickle cell, as well as hematological cancers.
Adequate amounts of iron are essential for the healthy functioning of the brain, muscles, and red blood cells. However, the body is unable to metabolize high doses of iron. Excess iron tends to irritate the lining of your gastrointestinal tract. Serious complications may also follow.
Therefore in case of iron poisoning, please consult the best general physician in Lahore or your city, right away.
Common symptoms of iron poisoning including the following:
- Abdominal pain
- Vomiting blood
- Low blood pressure and a fast/ weak pulse
- Shortness of breath and fluid in the lungs
- A grayish or bluish color in the skin
- Jaundice (yellowing of the skin due to liver damage)
Treating iron poisoning may be done in a number of ways including:
- Whole bowel irrigation: A special solution is swallowed or given through a tube that is passed through the nose and down into the stomach. The solution helps flush the body of the excess iron.
- Chelation: This procedure may be conducted in very serious cases. In this, a chemical that helps bind iron and other metals in the body is given to the patient through an intravenous (IV) line. The iron then can be passed out of the body through the urine.
- Rehydration: This is especially done in case there has been a significant loss of fluids through vomiting and diarrhea.
- In case of breathing difficulties, a breathing tube and a ventilation machine may be needed for getting respiration back to normal.
Complications and risks factor
Certain complications may also be associated with iron poisoning including:
- Liver failure
- Bleeding or blood clot problems
- Scarring of the stomach and intestines leading to digestive problems
- Permanent scarring of the liver, known as cirrhosis
- Shocks to the circulatory system
Iron poisoning is less likely to cause permanent damage if treated promptly. If treatment begins soon after the overdose, symptoms and other complications may subside within 48 hours.
However, because the risk of liver failure and other serious health problems is so high, evaluation is essential for any person who may have consumed too much iron. The easiest ways to assess the levels of iron in the blood may be done via blood and urine tests.
Therefore, if you or a loved one has had an overdose of iron, or if you wish to know more about iron poisoning, please visit the best general physician in Karachi or your area of residence as soon as possible.