Hep C Discussion Forum

Members Login
Username 
 
Password 
    Remember Me  
Chatbox
Please log in to join the chat!
Post Info TOPIC: K8 - 6 weeks EOT - undetectable so far. - question about IRON


Guru

Status: Offline
Posts: 3249
Date:
RE: K8 - 6 weeks EOT - undetectable so far. - question about IRON
Permalink  
 


SF,

More on our discussions about iron. Regarding your iron overload (hemochromatosis), and mine, we cannot really compare to each other to completely figure this condition out. Nor have our doctors really provided us with a full explanation for it. I think, at the moment, we may never get a satisfactory explanation for why, except for the general reason that "it IS seen" in people with HCV. Both of us had "hereditary" reasons for our iron accumulation ruled out (HH - hereditary hemochromatosis). We learned non-hereditary caused iron overload, is much less commonly found in young women, occurs more so in adult males and also in post-menopausal women like myself. The silent elephant in the room seems to be people with HCV and high iron loads.

Your iron load was higher than mine, and was treated with phlebotomy to decrease it prior to HCV treatment. I have no idea how long I may have had a higher iron load over my 40+years of HCV. (HCV, let alone ferritin levels, were never looked for, in me). I was very lucky that my ferritin levels were ever tested for (I think they were only reluctantly looking to rule out an unlikely possible anemia reason to silence my health woe whining), and, because my ferritin was found to be elevated, only that led me to further blood work, enzyme testing and eventually to HCV testing. I could still be sitting here with undiagnosed HCV had it not been for that one high ferritin test and a good young newly trained student GP doing her due diligence to hear my complaints of unwellness, who wanted to know why my ferritin was elevated. I was lucky for that, for her and her stumbling over my high ferritin by near accident.

I did much reading while waiting for HCV treatment, that my treatment outcome "might" be hindered by high iron overload, so it concerned me, to suddenly discover only about 8 months prior to my HCV treatment that I had some iron overload. I was wishing I had more factors "on my side" before commencing treatment to ensure the best possible outcome. I already had some factors against me, long standing HCV, history of HBV, older age, having GT3, known fatty liver, most likely a high F score, and somewhat less importantly a high VL.

My highest HCV pre-treatment testings were: iron 42 (normal 9-32), ferritin 563 (normal 15-300), saturation .81 (normal .15-0.45). I asked about phlebotomy for myself too, but unless they found my ferritin over 1000, they were not so inclined.

Your delay to SOT for HCV due to phlebotomies was stress invoking. I was stressed too, in my trepidation in approaching treatment with a perceived belief that my somewhat higher iron load was another possible hindrance to best outcome. You and I exchanged pm's on the subjects of iron and HBV, but I thought maybe I would just share this now, for the odd hi-iron person out there. As it turned out, my somewhat high ferritin level, seemingly, was no impediment at all when it came to the effectiveness of the powerful new triple sof/vel/vox I got in my 8 week trial!

In preparation for treatment, on my own (I did tell my docs about it) I immediately set about reducing high quality sources of "heme" iron (meat based) and "non-heme" iron (plant based) in my diet (decreasing red meats, plant based foods high in iron or plant based foods that they "fortify" with iron). I stopped taking vit C supplements. I never did take multi-vits that contained iron with any great regularity anyway. But I had, as I aged, tried to make sure ate enough vit C for it"s antioxidant qualities and other benefits. Because C and iron together enhance iron absorption, I immediately made a concerted effort not to consume vit C foods with any meal that had high iron content.To get my C, I mostly had to take vit C fruits, etc., quite separately from meals containing iron. Little can be done to impede absorption of "heme" iron (meat based), but measures can be tried to impede of absorption "non-heme" iron (plant based). 

I continued to maintain a lower dietary iron intake (both heme and non-heme). I also made sure to take some calcium, magnesium with the highest iron content meal of the day, as these somewhat "compete" with iron for absorption. I also increased phytates in my diet via various plant foods which are said to help impede iron absorption. I stopped cooking in my cast iron pans. (Miss those!)

After my HCV cure, my iron, ferritin and iron saturation have, so far, returned to be within normal limits (22, 191, 0.39 respectively). Why? I may never know. Were my pre-treatment elevated iron labs really just innocuous, inconsequential "blip" oddities due to "impairments" while I carried HCV? I had read that the body has few means to rid itself of excessive accumulated iron stores, thus the reason for reductions via treatment by phlebotomy (life long repeated phlebotomies can be necessary for those with established hereditary type hemochromatosis). Was I simply causing iron accumulation by my vit C intake enhancing the absorption of my iron rich diet? Did any of my iron absorption impeding measures have any effect? At best, if any of my dietary interventions had a mitigating effect, I would have expected no more than to simply prevent my iron load from increasing, not for my iron to decrease from what I had already accumulated. Now cured of HCV, perhaps if I resumed consuming a high iron/vit C diet again, and I do not ever show high ferritin levels again in the future, I may have a better guess. In retrospect, were my high iron readings (while having HCV) really a potential problem for me even to consider? I am just glad, post-treatment, that I have now had one set of normal iron, ferritin and saturation readings again.

Below, focuses more on ruling out "hereditary" reasons for iron accumulation, but is still an interesting read, especially the bit in red (considering all).

 

Iron Tests

Excess iron may accumulate in the liver and other organs for a variety of reasons. Some individuals have a genetic disorder while others may accumulate too much iron for other reasons. Among the genetic iron-overload conditions, the most common in individuals of Northern European ancestry is related to an autosomal recessive disorder, hereditary hemochromatosis. Before ordering tests it is important to be clear about what question is being asked. Most of the time the question is: Does my patient have iron overload?

This question should be entertained in the following situations:

  • Any adult with liver disease, especially men and post-menopausal women
  • Patients with symptoms suggestive of or having a family history of HH

The initial evaluation for iron overload includes measurement of serum ferritin, iron, iron-binding capacity, and transferrin saturation levels. Transferrin saturation less than 45%, in addition to normal serum ferritin level usually rules out iron overload (negative predictive value of 97%), and no further testing is necessary. Transferrin saturation greater than 45% and/or a serum ferritin above normal level warrants further investigation9 However, these thresholds are low, and most patients who exceed these limits will not prove to have iron overload as explained below.

Limitations of Serum-Based Tests of Iron Overload

Because both iron and ferritin are stored in liver cells, any condition that results in hepatocyte injury and release of intracellular contents into the blood will falsely raise iron, transferrin saturation, and ferritin levels. Therefore, in acute hepatic injury these tests will falsely suggest iron overload. Acute inflammation outside the liver may also falsely elevate the results of serum-based iron tests. Tests of serum ferritin levels, iron, iron-binding capacity, and percentage saturation determined in the setting of markedly elevated aminotransferase levels (AST and ALT), such as those seen in acute viral hepatitis or massive hepatic necrosis, will be identical to those seen in hemochromatosis. Iron studies cannot be interpreted in the face of major elevations of transaminase levels.

 Another learning thing I read, interesting (to me anyway):  http://www.pathologystudent.com/?p=2124



__________________

HCV/HBV 1973. HBV resolved. HCV undiagnosed to 2015. 64 y.o. F. Canada.

GT3a, Fibroscan F3/12 kPa - F4/12.6 kPa, VL log 7.01 (10,182,417), steatosis, high iron load.

SOF/VEL with/without GS-9857 trial - NCT02639338.

SOT March 10 - EOT May 5, 2016 - SOF/VEL/VOX 8 week trial.

 

(SEE UPDATES IN BIO)



Guru

Status: Offline
Posts: 3249
Date:
Permalink  
 

Hi K8,

I too desperately wish I could magically make you feel better. That was a long hard haul, I hear you, how hard it was, (is). Many here know the feeling. Why does riba have to work so well!!  I hate the stuff and I have never done it. I wish no one did, now that we have so much new stuff.

I am sorely tempted to get you to re-confirm with your hep doc where you are at with anemia (as the guys said), how complete were your last set of bloods?, and convey to him the exact protocol your NP is suggesting for you (for anemia), hopefully it is only a modestly/ramped plan, and ask if your hep doc has objections.

I don't recall any of your bloods (except your nice und, of course!), but you did say they were a bit low once prior. And you did have that riba reduction. I wonder how your last set of bloods are now? C.

Darn it - Who keeps taking that magic wand!, and where'd that easy button go! - sheesh,  just when a person could really use one .... smile

 

 



__________________

HCV/HBV 1973. HBV resolved. HCV undiagnosed to 2015. 64 y.o. F. Canada.

GT3a, Fibroscan F3/12 kPa - F4/12.6 kPa, VL log 7.01 (10,182,417), steatosis, high iron load.

SOF/VEL with/without GS-9857 trial - NCT02639338.

SOT March 10 - EOT May 5, 2016 - SOF/VEL/VOX 8 week trial.

 

(SEE UPDATES IN BIO)

Tig


Admin

Status: Offline
Posts: 9206
Date:
Permalink  
 

I totally agree with SF. You need to have a CBC and Liver Profile drawn and see where that stands. Riba does cause hemolytic anemia, red cell destruction. Your hemoglobin drops, you're not oxygenating right and poof, fatigue hits you like a door. It's always good to keep an eye on those tests, they can be a healthy guide.

Often we experience these iron overloads, high ferritin levels, etc., because our livers aren't processing the iron correctly. I would want some confirmation on the anemia and a current iron/ferritin level. If you don't need it, there's no reason to put the added stress on your liver. 

You're very close to your EOT date as well. You're still in a recovery phase and will be for months. You'll feel better but you can expect 6 months before the Ribavirin is gone. That stuff hangs on forever, I swear. So it's not unusual to hear you're still fatigued. Your body will start healing and gaining strength, but it will take some time to get back to fighting strength.

 



__________________

Tig

64 yo GT1A - 5 Mil - A2/F3 - (1996) Intron A - Non Responder, (2013) Peg/Riba/Vic SOT:05/23/13 EOT:12/04/13 SVR 7+ years!

Hep C FAQ   Lab Ref. Ranges  HCV Resistance

Signature Line Set Up/Abbreviations   Payment Assistance

 



Guru

Status: Offline
Posts: 679
Date:
Permalink  
 

Hi K8,

Actually my experience as well as a few others here was totally different. We had very high Iron and personally I had to have therapeutic phlebotomies to dump it since the body cannot get rid of Iron. Now that I am SVR, my ferritin levels that were once as high as upper 800's are now normal. Why? Good question other than some Doctors say that once the HVC is gone the Iron will sort itself out. This is going somewhere ... if only to mention the reason for the Iron and Vitamin C is because the Vitamin C has the effect of making your body absorb more iron from anything you eat whether foods or supplements.

I stopped taking it and honestly, although I should be taking a mulit-vitamin it was the only one I took in higher dosages.

I would think it might be a great idea if your ND and specialist had some sort of communication or at least you let your specialist know about your added Iron into your diet.  Just my immediate thoughts.

I am glad you are still UND and pretty sure that is how it will remain. Keep us posted.

SF



__________________

65 yo, GT1A, , Cirrhosis, F-Scan F4 33.5, TX Naive Harvoni 12 wks

SOT 2/9/16 / ALT 187 AST 114 VL 2.3M.    POSTS

EOT 5/2/16  ALT 35/ AST/25  platlets 126 C/B VL UND

EOT +12 7/26/16  ALT 25 /AST 22/ ALP 83  platlets 129 C/B VL UND

EOT + 24 10/18/16 ALT 27/ AST 20/ ALP 71 platlets 153 C UND

 * SVR *

K8


Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 33
Date:
Permalink  
 

Hi Friends,

Wonderful news, I saw my doc last week, I am still undetectable and taking it one day & one blood test at a time.  Last pill was 7/17

Energy is returning although I find myself limiting a lot of excitement  (being with lots of friends).  Hit a wall at the end of the day.

My ND (Naturopathic Doc) run my blood work last week and is very concerned that I am anemic.   I expected this as the RIBA is like a vampire with blood.  She wants me to start taking Iron with vitamin C.  I have not taken supplements except a "light vitamin with no iron" during treatment. Spinach shakes, lots of ginger and a strong craving for meat, which has thankfully passed.  I still have a steak but don't seem to want one every day

Do any of you have experience with taking iron (now 6 weeks EOT)  after treatment.  I feel my liver is just so happy to be done with drugs but I also don't want to be anemic.

Thanks for everything.  I hope you know how much this site and your encouragement/experience & hope still gives me

K8



__________________

K8

65 yr female.Gt 2 B.  Contracted Hep C approx 71, 

tested 2007 - vl 10mil   RIBA/PEGI in 2007 6 months,  undetected EOT,  VL 600,00 in 2008

tested in Feb,2016 VL less than 2 mil, SOT 4/25/16  SOL/RIBA for 3 months , EOT July 17th, 2016

AUG 12th blood work - undetectable 

 

Page 1 of 1  sorted by
 
Quick Reply

Please log in to post quick replies.

Legal Disclaimer:

THIS FORUM, IT'S OWNERS, ADMINISTRATORS, MODERATORS AND MEMBERS DO NOT AT ANY TIME GIVE MEDICAL ADVICE AND IN ALL CASES REFER ANYONE HERE TO SEEK APPROPRIATE MEDICAL ADVICE FROM THEIR DOCTOR.