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Dr. David
Dr. David, Board Certified MD
Category: Medical
Satisfied Customers: 44432
Experience:  Board Certified Physician
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Stats: Age: 38 Gender: Male

Resolved Question:

Stats: Age: 38
Gender: Male
BMI: 35
Ferritin level: 346
Transferrin Saturation: 13
HFE gene: Yes
Smoker: No (gave up 12 years ago)
Drinker: Rarely (typically a glass of wine, once a month, on average)
Exercise: Phone app that measures steps has me doing 10000 steps (target) to 20000 steps every day.
Hepititus: No
I’m looking for a second opinion, or reassurance, on my health.
I was looking up iron overload and was directed to a site that had your email address, it is a little out of date so I apologise if this email is an annoyance.
I’m not normally a hypercondriac but, I’m a bit unconvinced by what my doctor told me because there was not much detail in the explanation.
As a medical professional yourself, you might not understand how a civilian (for want of a better term) can question a doctor’s diagnosis, but I find that sometimes doctors don’t give the full explanation because the patient doesn’t understand it.
This may be true, and the chances are I wouldn’t understand his explanation, but it is hard for a patient who is worried about their general health to accept a medical decree as gospel and at the same time, one doesn’t want to cast aspersions on the doctor’s ability.
Let’s start at the beginning.
I’m worried about my weight.
My BMI is hovering around the 35 mark which is between obese 1 and obese 2.
I’ve tried to diet and cut things out or even starve but all my attempts have resulted, ultimately, in failure.
I went to my GP.
So, along with advise to see a dietition and to reduce my calorie intake I was booked in for a general blood test.
The blood test results were surprisingly better than expected.
I thought I might have diabetes because of my energy levels, urination regularity and my eyesight would sometimes fail.
My tyroid and pancreas were fine but my Ferritin level was 346 which is elevated.
A further blood test (results arrived 5 weeks later) revealed that it is unlikely that I have hemochromatosis as the transferrin saturation is well below 45, but I’m a carrier.
I specifically asked, after the first blood test, to check for hemochromatosis because there is family history* but they ruled out hepititus in the second blood test and said my antibody level was normal.
*It should be noted that I never heard the term hemochromatosis until I got the the high ferritin result and, naturally went to google.
It turns out my father’s twin brother has a child (fifty something year old child!) that has hemochromatosis.
Also my mother nearly died last year after an allergic reaction to shellfish and is allergic to avacados.
She has been miserable for the last 5 years, as she feel sick, but the medical profession can’t diagnose what is wrong with her.
The diagnosis of my doctor is that my high ferritin level is due to being overweight.
A straw pole, of people I know who are over weight, have never heard of Ferritin.
Also if my ferritin levels weren’t a concern in the first place, why did I do the extra blood test?
He might be covering all the bases but, is there a link between high ferritin levels and BMI?
Anecdotally, I gave up red meat when I looked up what iron overload was and I feel much better.
I was nearly fainting in work a few months ago and now I can go though the day with normal energy levels.
I’m right back where I started.
Maybe I’m deluding myself and I need to, somehow, lose the extra weight by conventional means.
Or maybe, I’ll have a much better chance of getting to a normal weight if I get my iron levels to normal first.
I used to sleep on my days off, excessively, because I was so tired and since I now start the day with porridge and avoid red meat, I don’t need the extra sleep.
It might be a placebo.
Thanking you in advance,
Michael
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Medical
Expert:  Dr. David replied 2 years ago.
Dr. David :

This is Dr. David

Dr. David :

you won't loose the weight by dropping your ferritin levels

Dr. David :

ferritin is a measure of stored iron in your body but it is also an acute phase reactant and can become elevated if you have any sort of inflammation in your body.

Dr. David :

here is a good study looking at ferritin levels in obese patients.

Dr. David :

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18779821

Dr. David :

the most common cause of elevated ferritin levels in obese patients is from type 2 diabetes, which you don't have

Dr. David :

but if you stay obese like you are, you are at an increased risks for developing type 2 diabetes.

Dr. David :

you should be exercising and speed walking 3-5 times a week and not sleeping on your days off.

Dr. David :

speed walking for 25-40 minutes a day is better than just tracking your steps per day.

Dr. David :

you need to get your heart rate up into the 110-140 beats per minute rate for 25-40 minutes 3-5 times a week to start building muscle and burning more calories.

Dr. David :

you should be seeing a physical therapist or exercise therapist to help you get on a regular exercise regimen.

Customer:

I won't lose weight by dropping my ferritin levels but have I elevated ferritin levels because of my weight?

Customer:

In a previous attempt to lose weight, I followed the food pyramid religiously, and I used a multi-vitamin at the start of the day. If something is causing me to have elevated iron levels, it would explain why my energy levels dropped. I'll give a more balanced food lifestyle (without red meat) and more exercise a go. There is nothing worse than putting in so much effort and collapsing because you've some sort of food intolerance. Every failure makes the next attempt more difficult.

Dr. David :

I see.

Dr. David :

weight loss can take a long time

Dr. David :

don't be frustrated.

Dr. David :

every effort is meaningful and builds muscle and helps to improve your health.

Dr. David :

you could have slightly elevated ferritin levels due to your weight possibly.

Dr. David :

being overweight can increase inflammation in your body which can cause ferritin to be elevated.

Dr. David :

let me know if you have other questions.

Dr. David :

if done, please leave positive feedback below the chat box.

Customer:

When you get older and no longer doing sports (used to play rugby) , it is hard to lose weight. I also piled on the weight when I gave up cigarettes 12 years ago. I worked night shifts every 2nd month for the last 15 years too. I know what you are saying makes sense but I want to make sure I don't damage myself.

Dr. David :

we only get credit for helping clients after positive feedback.

Dr. David :

I

Dr. David :

I'm glad you quit smoking.

Dr. David :

you won't damage yourself by cutting calories and exercising.

Dr. David :

I have to go to a meeting now.

Dr. David :

let me know if you have other questions.

Dr. David :

thanks for using JustAnswer.com

Dr. David, Board Certified MD
Category: Medical
Satisfied Customers: 44432
Experience: Board Certified Physician
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