(See also Overview of Iron Overload Overview of Iron Overload Iron is essential for life, so the body usually tightly controls iron absorption from food and recycles the iron from red blood cells. People lose small amounts of iron every day, and even a... read more .)
The lungs and kidneys are often sites of hemosiderosis. Hemosiderosis can result from
Direct bleeding into the tissues that is followed by breakdown of red blood cells and release of iron to the tissues
Destruction of red blood cells within the blood vessels, leading to release of iron into the blood followed by accumulation of iron inside the kidneys as the kidneys filter waste from the blood
Organs may be damaged by the iron deposits. The extent of the damage depends on how much iron is deposited in the organs. Some people have no damage at all, whereas others have some damage. Hemosiderosis caused by bleeding and red blood cell breakdown does not usually require treatment.
If there is bleeding within an organ, such as in the lungs of people who have certain types of lung disease, iron from the blood cells often remains in that organ. Depending on the amount of iron that remains in the lungs people may have no problems or varying degrees of lung damage.
Disorders that cause inflammation that lasts for an extended period, such as nonalcoholic fatty liver disease Fatty Liver Fatty liver is an abnormal accumulation of certain fats (triglycerides) inside liver cells. People with fatty liver may feel tired or have mild abdominal discomfort but otherwise have no symptoms... read more and the metabolic syndrome Metabolic Syndrome Metabolic syndrome is characterized by a large waist circumference (due to excess abdominal fat), high blood pressure, resistance to the effects of insulin (insulin resistance) or diabetes,... read more , can cause hemosiderosis.
If people have a disorder that causes excessive breakdown of red blood cells within the blood vessels (for example, hemolytic anemia Aplastic Anemia Aplastic anemia is a disorder in which the cells of the bone marrow that develop into mature blood cells are damaged, leading to low numbers of red blood cells, white blood cells, and/or platelets... read more ), iron released from the red blood cells can accumulate within the kidneys (renal hemosiderosis). Most cases of renal hemosiderosis do not cause kidney damage.
Hemosiderosis can also occur due to excessive iron absorption, but in that case, doctors call the condition hemochromatosis Hemochromatosis Hemochromatosis is a hereditary disorder that causes the body to absorb too much iron, causing iron to build up in the body and damage organs. In the United States, over 1 million people have... read more . Hemochromatosis more often requires treatment.