Sunday, May 31, 2015

No Celtic Curse, but NASH still an Issue

I've had high ferritin readings for some time, but this time my GP referred to to a hematologist to check it out. He was worried that the high level could indicate hemachromatosis, which overloads the liver with too much iron. There is a cure for this (or a way to manage it), but it is a hard one to believe. The patient is systematically bled, as in the Middle Ages, though then for more pedestrian afflictions.

This is done to lower the amount of iron in the liver. A build-up of iron can damage the liver. Bleeding the patient from time to time prevents this from happening.

People of Irish and Scandinavian descent are genetically predisposed to the disease, when, "The Celtic Curse" is derived. A blood test can tell you if you have this predisposition.  I took it, waited three weeks, saw the doctor, and was told I didn't have the predisposition. Whew!

But what about the elevated ferritin? My Kaiser doctor diagnosed me with "fatty liver" syndrome, which is typically referred to as NASH. My hematologist speculated that the causal sequence is the other way around. Something triggers a release of ferritin in the liver. What that something is, is not clear.
"The hematologist did offer a suggestion: fast once a week. That might "detoxify" the liver. I've started doing this and will check back in month with him and see whether the levels have changed at all.

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