Thursday, December 17, 2009

Just When You Thought It Was Safe to Go Back Into the Water

It is wonderful to have people interested in your welfare. My immediate family has been quite supportive of my occasional tirades against the genes that force my duodenum to inhale vast amounts of iron. When I have hinted that my physician, “Doc Holliday”, has seemed somewhat cavalier about my progress or lack thereof, the whole outfit wants to break out the pitchforks and torches, and storm the castle where he regular hooks me up to the diodes running from the lightning rods on the roof. “Doctor Holinstein! Ve har komink fur SIE! Let ur liddle bunny go!” Well, it just warms the heart.

Once in a while I get a remark from some of my readers throughout the world. Most of the time they are supportive; others have desired to advertize their own products of whimsy; others, from time to time, actually make suggestions that have significance. Hence, the “Flying Finn” has often suggested that I need to eat European chocolate rather than the wax-overloaded American kind. For this suggestion I have been grateful, inasmuch as it has justified my penchant for buying 20-pound sacks of Riesens, a delightful product that only has 7% of my daily requirement for iron, and that is only an estimate because they are not quite certain how many animal parts actually got caught in the machinery. Remember, if it is tangy, it can’t be bad for you.

In response to my previous blog, “Rusted Nut” (not his real name….. I hope) made mention of something I had not thought of before. He suggested that maybe my ferritin spike might have come from an inflammation or an infection, if I had been under the weather at the time my ferritin was drawn. He spoke of ferritin being an “acute phase reactant”. BINGO! I have had some sort of sino-bronco-throato gunk weighing me down for the past month. I have been miserable, loading up on Clariton D-12, Robitussin DM, Halls cough drops, and Riesens on a daily basis as part of my treatment. I was feeling so bad the day that I went into have my ferritin sample drawn, that I laid my head down on one of the arms of the extraction chair and the Lab Tick filled her jar by tapping into a vein in my ear. “This is it! My ferritin went up, not because I am some sort of tooth and claw carnivore, but because I am a beef-eating mensch with a cold".

I, therefore, have thrust myself into the deep waters of cyber-space again to see what I could find out about “acute phase reactants”. The water is black, ice cold, and speaks German. As part of my research I came across the finest explanation yet as to how ferritin and transferrin work in the body and how they relate to hemochromatosis. The article is called “Ferritin and Transferrin In Iron Deficiency and Overload” by Rolf D. Hinzmann, M.D., Ph.D., European Scientific and Technical Support, Beckman Coulter, Germany. It originally appeared in “Immunodiagnostics Today” 12:1 Spring Fall 1999. I came away from the read as well informed as any other incident in my personal studies. I commend it to you

With regard to elevated ferritin counts produced by infections, even the CDC was helpful in their article on ferritin.

Ferritin is present in the blood in very low concentrations. Plasma ferritin is in equilibrium with body stores, and its concentration declines early in the development of iron deficiency. Low serum ferritin concentrations thus are sensitive indicators of iron deficiency. Ferritin is also an acute-phase protein; acute and chronic diseases can result in increased ferritin concentration, potentially masking an iron-deficiency diagnosis. The generally accepted cut-off level for serum ferritin below which iron stores are considered to be depleted is 15 ng/mL" did not disappoint either.

If ferritin is high there is iron in excess, which would be excreted in the stool.” Well, well, well; another mystery solved.

Ferritin is also used as a marker for iron overload disorders, such as hemochromatosis and porphyria in which the ferritin level may be abnormally raised.” Let’s hear it for Abby Normal and Igor quivering in the dungeon of the castle. "Help us, Doctor Holinstein! Oh, the torches! Oh, the pitchforks! Oh, the humanity!"

As ferritin is also an acute-phase reactant, it is often elevated in the course of disease. A normal C-reactive protein can be used to exclude elevated ferritin caused by acute phase reactions.” Well, the Lab Tick certainly didn’t think of that as she was massaging my left earlobe, did she?

Ferritin can be elevated during periods of acute malnourishment.” So, in an attempt to improve my ferritin count, we all went out to eat at Carrabas last night where I stuffed myself with Lentil and Italian Sausage soup, Pollo Rosa Maria, Broccoli Ambrosia, and loads of hot bread dipped in olive oil and special seasonings. I have felt absolutely transcendent ever since.

Finally, as a ray of hope, I discovered that aspirin might help reduce my ferritin by reducing the inflammation before trundling off to the Little Shop of Horrors in January. So, if I am still hacking up lung parts after New Years, I will add a little Bayer (more German) to my regimen and watch my ferritin tally plummet to new lows. Thanks RN (not his real name…. I hope), you have made the holidays far more enjoyable.


shydandelion said...

I still think it is the meatballs...

Katscratchme said...

"loading up on Clariton D-12, Robitussin DM, Halls cough drops, and Riesens on a daily basis "

HA! HA! It's funny because it's true... :D

Trillium said...

Hmmm... "...Whatever fries your bacon!"

word verification:
haubbiga = voodoo and mumbo-jumbo (see above article LOL)

Rebecca said...

I still think the pitch forks and the torches are a good idea!

word verification:

ninie - need I say more?

Rusted Nut said...

u r welcome Z.
Glad you ran with it.