Elevated transferrin saturation, health-related quality of life and telomere length

Biometals. 2014 Feb;27(1):135-41. doi: 10.1007/s10534-013-9693-4. Epub 2013 Dec 15.


We sought to examine the relationship between elevated transferrin saturation (TS) and measures of health status (telomere length and patient-reported health-related quality of life) to assess whether elevated TS is associated with negative patient outcomes beyond increased risk for morbidity and mortality, using a cross-sectional analysis of the Hemochromatosis and Iron Overload Screening Study supplemented with assays for leukocyte telomere length in adults ≥25 years old (n = 669). Among individuals with elevated TS (≥45 % for women and ≥50 % for men), who also had a usual source of care, only 5.2 % reported ever being told by a doctor that they had an elevated iron condition. In a fully adjusted general linear regression model controlling for demographic characteristics as well as health conditions associated with iron overload, elevated TS versus non-elevated TS was associated with worse general health status (60.4 vs. 63.8, P < 0.05), mental health status (76.5 vs. 82.2, P < 0.0001) and shorter telomere length (241.4 vs. 261.3, P < 0.05). Increased surveillance of elevated TS may be in order as elevated TS is associated with decreased health status and very few patients with elevated TS are aware of their condition.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Quality of Life*
  • Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Telomere / genetics
  • Telomere / metabolism*
  • Transferrin / analysis*
  • Transferrin / metabolism


  • Transferrin