Doctor insights on:
Does Anyone Know Some Facts About Hemochromatosis
Common & easy: In the common form, the gut absorbs iron too well -- something of a plus, but too much iron will ruin the liver, pancreas, adrenals, heart, sex drive, and joints (base of thumb especially) and turn you gray. Easy to test for by labs, and easy to treat by draining a pint or two of blood every week. Maybe one person in 200 has the genes to get it, and some still get missed. ...Read more
Any: Any competent primary care physician can diagnose and arrange for treatment hemochromatosis. You may get sent to the gastroenterologist, cardiologist, endocrinologist and geneticist. The key is that if this is common hemochromatosis, you have the serious disease out of all of them that's easiest to manage effectively. ...Read more
It's in the genes: In hereditary (= inherited from parents) hemochromatosis, too much iron is absorbed by the gut & deposits in tissues. Liver, heart, other damage can result. It is autosomal recessive: both parents must carry the gene & not all offspring will be affected. Secondary (= due to other causes) hemochromatosis can occur with certain types of hemolytic anemia (red blood cells bursting, releasing iron). ...Read more
It's relatively rare: Hemochromatosis is a disorder where a person has too much iron in the blood. This can cause significant problems as iron will deposit in areas like the hear and liver. While it is typically rare, it can be seen if someone takes too much iron supplement. Generally, men should not take iron if they are otherwise healthy. Women, on the other hand, are usually ok provided they are still mentruati. ...Read moreSee 2 more doctor answers
Varies: Many times, it is only presented with high iron saturation and or iron storage without having any symptoms. However, the clinical manifestations of iron accumulation can include liver disease, elevation of liver enzymes, skin pigmentation, diabetes mellitus, arthropathy, impotence in males, and cardiac enlargement with or without heart failure or conduction defects etc. ...Read moreSee 2 more doctor answers
Easy Rx: The key is that you got diagnosed, hopefully early. 1 person in 200 will be symptomatic with this. I'm going to assume the diagnosis is correct & it's common hemochromatosis. You'll have a pint of blood drained maybe 2x/week until you feel better / labs turn good. The blahs, thumb pain, lackluster love life, and whatever else will improve. Untreated, it kills you, treated you do great. ...Read more
Death if untreated: Thankfully, if it's picked up early, you're spared decades of ill-health and ultimately death from involvement of the heart, liver, and/or endocrine pancreas. Of all the really nasty common diseases, hemochromatosis is the easiest to treat, by blood-bank-style donations. ...Read more
A few: Lack of energy, abdominal pain, memory fog, loss of sex drive, heart flutters, irregular heart beat. When symptoms are associated with hemochromatosis, these usually begin in men in their late 20’s to early 30’s. In women, symptoms usually start about 10-15 years after they stop having a period due to menopause, birth control pills or hysterectomy. ...Read more
Iron overload: This is a genetic tendency to absorb iron too readily through the gut, overloading and damaging the organs. Of all the common, deadly diseases that disable and kill young adults, this is by far the easiest to manage by removing blood and thus iron. Consider yourself fortunate. Secondary hemochromatosis is due to repeated transfusions and is more difficult to care for. Glad you're diagnosed. ...Read more
Get treated or die: It's as simple as that. Common hereditary hemochromatosis is by far the easiest to manage of all the common, deadly diseases of young people. It announces itself as elevated liver enzymes, impotence, an odd skin color, sore joints at the base of the thumbs, glucose intolerance, or whatever. Accept therapeutic phlebotomy and you'll feel much better. If it's missed or neglected, it's deadly. Period. ...Read moreSee 1 more doctor answer
No: In fact, i urge my medical students to screen everybody for hemochromatosis as young adults. Congratulations on being diagnosed -- you've been spared years of "the blahs", and ultimately a nasty death around age 40-60 from liver disease ("you must be a drunk!"), a heart rhythm problem, and/or diabetes. The phlebotomy treatment is a piece of cake compared to what's requirqed for other grave disease. ...Read more
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