Bloodletting / Phlebotomy

Bloodletting was once a common practice and a foundational treatment of “civilized medicine”. It was widely practiced in many cultures around the world, and as early as the fifth century BC. Today it is only used for lab testing purposes and also in cases of polycythemia, hemochromatosis and hepatitis C. Localized bloodletting is becoming more popular as the usefulness of leeches are being rediscovered.

 


Bloodletting / Phlebotomy can help with the following

Circulation  


Metabolic  

Hemochromatosis (Iron overload)

Once a diagnosis of HHC is confirmed, the excess iron should be removed and family members should be screened for the disorder. Iron overload is treated with successive phlebotomies in patients with or without clinical manifestations. The total amount of blood that must be removed to produce iron deficiency provides an estimate of total body iron load.



Organ Health  

Hepatitis

In studies of hepatitis C patients, removal of 200-400ml of blood every 2-4 weeks to produce a ferritin level of <11ng/ml resulted in a reduction in liver enzyme elevation (ALT), a reduction in fibrosis, and a reduction in inflammation compared with control hepatitis C subjects. [Am J Gastroenterol January 2002, 97(l):1-4]



Key

Likely to help
Highly recommended

Glossary

Hemochromatosis

A rare disease in which iron deposits build up throughout the body. Enlarged liver, skin discoloration, diabetes mellitus, and heart failure may occur.

Hepatitis C

Caused by an RNA flavivirus. Transmission is predominantly through broken skin on contact with infected blood or blood products, especially through needle sharing. Sexual transmission is relatively rare. Symptoms are almost always present, and very similar to those for Hepatitis B: initially flu-like, with malaise, fatigue, muscle pain and chest pain on the right side. This is followed by jaundice (slight skin yellowing), anorexia, nausea, fatigue, pale stools, dark urine and tender liver enlargement, but usually no fever.

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